- » Overview
- » When a baby dies before labour begins
- » How you might feel
- » Talk to someone
- » Grief and children
- » Telling your family and friends
- » Memories and keepsakes
- » A ceremony for your baby
- » Deciding about a post mortem
- » Deciding about a funeral
- » Leaving hospital - going home
- » Taking your baby home
- » Postnatal check-up
- » Certificates and registration
- » Rights and benefits
- » Getting a copy of your medical notes
- » Mainly for fathers
- » Information for grandparents
- » For family and friends
- » Returning to work
- » Another pregnancy?
- » Support news
- » Personal experiences
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Leaving hospital - going home
"There are no words to describe the utter devastation of walking empty-armed out of the hospital. Of travelling home with the car seat you bought locked in the boot of the car because you can’t bear to look at it. Of shutting the door to your baby’s beautifully decorated bedroom and not opening it again for months.” Mother
Care from your primary health team
Although most parents want to be at home, they often miss the contact they had with the hospital staff who cared for them or their baby. The hospital should tell your GP, community midwife and health visitor what has happened so that they can offer you continuing care and support once you are home.
All mothers need normal postnatal care. They may also need advice and help to deal with breast milk or painful stitches. Both you and your partner need support and care as you come to terms with what has happened. If you don’t hear from your GP, or from a midwife or health visitor, within a few days of getting home, it is a good idea to phone the surgery. Tell them what has happened and ask to see someone. Most GPs will arrange to see you at home if
you don’t feel able to go to the surgery.
Getting back into the routines of daily life can be very hard. Many bereaved parents feel exhausted. It may be very difficult to find the energy and motivation to achieve the simplest household tasks or to deal with letters and phone calls. Some parents find it hard to go out; others cannot bear to be at home.
Try to take things gently and don’t expect too much of yourself. You can only cope with so much each day. If friends and family want to help, you could ask them to bring round a ready-cooked meal or to do some household chores or shopping for you. You might want to ask someone to help with answering letters, to go for a walk with you, or to help with other practical tasks you can’t face just now.
Unfortunately, some bereaved parents receive baby-related mail and this can continue for months. Most hospitals try to ensure that parents don’t continue to receive mailings from the Bounty Club. If, at the start of your pregnancy, you signed up to any other baby clubs or to Emma’s Diary, you may need to cancel these yourself. You can also reduce the amount of baby-related mailings by contacting the Baby Mailing Preference Service
If you have already bought baby clothes and equipment, you will need to decide what to do with them. Some parents decide very quickly, others wait several weeks or months before they feel ready. Well-meaning friends or relatives may offer to pack the baby things away. But many parents prefer to do this themselves and in their own time, even though it can be very painful and emotional. Some shops will take back unused baby clothes and equipment
when a baby has died.