Parents Who Lose A Young Baby At Higher Risk For Early Death
According to new research, parents who lose a baby are at risk of dying prematurely. Researchers looked at random samples...
According to new research, parents who lose a baby are at risk of dying prematurely. Researchers looked at random samples of national death registrations for the years 1971 to 2006, comparing deaths of parents with a baby who died during the first year or at birth with deaths of parents who lost an older baby (1 year+). The results show that if a parent loses a baby who is less than a year old, the parent is more likely to die or become widowed than a parent who has lost an older child. Grieving mothers in England and Wales were four times more likely to die prematurely, while grieving mothers in Scotland were six times likelier to die, than mothers with children who survived past a year of age. The authors of the study are unsure why exactly these specific parents are at a higher risk of death, but speculate that an earlier parent death may be due to alcohol abuse or suicide, both of which are linked to having a young baby die. Another theory is that if a parent has a young baby that dies, maybe the parent is simply more unhealthy than the average person - BUT these are just theories. WHAT THIS STUDY MEANS TO YOU: If you're the parent of a baby who dies, it's normal to grieve, but some behaviors may be harmful, such as drinking or taking drugs to numb the pain. Ongoing thoughts about hurting yourself, and not moving on through the grieving process, while perhaps common when a baby dies, are also harmful, as you may end up hurting yourself. While what you're feeling is normal, hard and frustrating, you also need to remember to take care of yourself in a way that's positive. Try telling friends and family what you need - maybe you want to talk about your loss, but then again, maybe not. Your friends and family can't read minds, and likely aren't sure how to deal with the death of your baby - talk to them about what you need most. A support group or even private counseling may help too, especially if you feel like you're not getting the support you need from friends and family. Men in particular, tend to deal with the grief of losing a baby in private. Studies show that men will often try to hold it together in the wake of a child's death, which may make them appear cold, but try to remember that everyone deals with grief in their own way. Asking your husband or partner to go to a support group with you may help both of you. Most of all remember that hurting yourself is not the answer. If your depression is severe - to the point where you can't function on a daily basis, you should talk to your doctor. If you feel like you need to hurt yourself call the National Suicide Hot-line - it's free and confidential. You can reach the hot-line 24 hours a day at 1-800-SUICIDE (1-800-784-2433). LEARN MORE:
- Stillbirth or infant death: Finding the courage to try again
- Life after loss: How the death of a baby changes you forever