Perinatal Bereavement: Navigating the Loss


The birth of a baby is usually a joyous occasion. However, when the outcome of a pregnancy is not the one hoped for, people can feel devastated. In spite of advances in medical science, not all children are born alive. Perinatal loss refers to miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, termination, intrauterine death, stillbirth, or newborn death.

The grief from perinatal loss is unique, because parents do not have the same opportunity to make memories with their children who die in this way. Adding to the challenge has been a historical shortage of bereavement resources to assist parents who are grieving the death of a baby.

With this in mind, Eastern Health’s Pastoral Care service has developed a series of videos with Newfoundland and Labrador parents who have experienced the loss of a baby. Navigating Perinatal Bereavement is a new online resource designed to provide quality bereavement and support services to women, couples and their families – regardless of geographic location, availability of suitable counsellors, or time of day.

These web-based videos (see below) are designed to help people at their own time and convenience, and to provide information, support and encouragement to parents and their families who find themselves in this situation. As they adjust to life without their baby, these videos will enable parents and families to connect with others who have gone through perinatal loss – and to learn what they found useful as they journeyed through grief.

One Step at a Time: In this video, a couple discusses the various coping mechanisms they found helpful when their daughter was stillborn. They share helpful things family and friends can say or do, discuss how they felt when they decided to try for another child, and affirm that there is indeed light at what can seem like a dark tunnel.

Impact of Loss: In this video, a mom and her young daughter talk about how they honour the memory of their baby. The mom also talks about how strange it felt to deal with the shock of what happened, what worked for her, and how she dealt with any regrets.

Couple’s Journey: In this video, Lisa and Darcy highlight how everyone, including mothers and fathers, grieves differently; the importance of listening and supporting one another, making memories in the midst of loss – and how to find the courage to move forward.

For more information on Navigating Perinatal Loss, please contact:

Jacintha Penney
Director, Pastoral Care and Ethics
Eastern Health
Phone: 709-777-6959

This featured article was submitted by Jacintha Penney, director of Pastoral Care and Ethics, in collaboration with Deborah Collins, communications manager with Eastern Health.

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