Approaching your due date after experiencing a loss is difficult. For most families, it’s a time of excitement and anticipation; of folding tiny clothes and making preparations. Approaching your due date without a baby is often a reminder of the tragedy that occured earlier.
Some families may find that they don’t need to do anything special on their due date; and that’s okay. Some women find that to be more helpful in the healing process. Some women may want to do something special for their lost children or for themselves; and that’s okay too. On a difficult day such as a due date, do whatever is most healing to your soul. Here are some ideas.
Take is easy on your due date and don’t schedule to much. If you work and are able to take a day off, take it. It’s hard to anticipate exactly how you will feel on this date – sad, angry, indifferent. It’s a lot easier to work through your feelings when you aren’t surrounded by tasks you need to complete and people who aren’t aware of what this day means to you. Stay in your jammies all day if you wish, let the housework take a break. If you have other children and wish to mourn alone, drop them off a their normal daycare or school, or see about arranging childcare for a few hours. Sometimes the best way to sort through a difficult day is by having no plans at all.
Take a Trip
Although the exact opposite of the above suggestion, some people may take more comfort in getting away for the day – particularly if the pregnancy loss occured at home. Getting away for a little while can be very therapuetic. It doesn’t have to be a long trip (although it absolutely can be! My little one lost was concieved on our honeymoon – and I would love to revisit on their due date). Even getting away for a few hours can be helpful. Get out in nature, take a hike, do some yoga, visit the beach.
Visit your shrine/burial
If you created a shrine to your lost child, or were able to bury him/her, this is a great day to visit. Pick up some flowers or a stuffed toy and bring it with you. Bake or buy a cupcake and eat it there. Clear any debris or weeds from the site. Spend as much or as little time as you need there.
Talk About Them
One of the hardest things about my due date was the invisibility I felt – even from my husband. I was originally due 4/20/15, but had an early miscarriage. Even though my husband had mourned during the miscarriage, he was still confused on why I was taking the day off. And most of the people around me either had no idea what the day meant to me, or had forgotten.
You don’t have to be alone. Your baby existed – whether it was weeks or months. It’s okay to talk about them. Whether it be with family or friends, on facebook, or on an internet forum.
Dedicate Artwork to Them
If you enjoy painting or crafting, you might try releasing your feelings through artwork. Create a piece showing your deepest feelings – whether it be through painting, pottery, writing or something else. Create something that speaks from your soul.
Spend Time With Your Other Children
If your child was old enough to understand what happened, it may be a good idea to share part of your grief with them. They may have similiar feelings and need to release them as well.
If they’re too young or don’t need to express grief, try taking them somewhere fun such as a park or play area. Sometimes just spending time with your children can be very healing. (Of course, if you need time away from your children on this date, that’s perfectly okay too!)
Donate to Charity
If your finances are good, consider donating to a charity that you love on this date. If you know why you lost your baby, see if any research is being done and donate to the study. Struggling to find a charity you like? Try searching for one that delivers life saving medicine or vaccinations to children in need, volunteer midwife or doula training, or SIDs prevention. Some women who begin to lactate after the loss of their pregnancy find it healing to donate breastmilk to babies in need.
Pregnancy loss is devastating no matter what the cause, and coming up on your original due date can be a painful reminder of the events that transpired earlier. On this date it’s okay to do things to help yourself heal, whether it be relaxing and mourning at home, with friends or family, taking a trip or any other way that feels right to you. Even though you’ll eventually heal, you’ll never forget what this day means to you and that’s okay.
Did you do anything to honor or mourn on your baby’s due date? What did you find to be the most healing?