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Bereavement Support

image of Resource Center's publications

First Candle has bilingual crisis counselors available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Call toll free at (800) 221-7437.

Overview

Pregnancy & Newborn Loss. From Hurt to Healing: Dealing with the Death of Your Baby. (2008). March of Dimes.
Overview of grief related to pregnancy and newborn loss, includes coping strategies, access to bereavement materials, fact sheets, and resource organizations.

When a Baby Has Died. (2007). First Candle.
Overview to help parents who have experienced the death of an infant.

Featured Resources

Bereavement Support Services: Resources. (2010). Resource Center. From Helping Babies, Healing Families: A Program Manual and Trainer's Guide for Sudden and Unexpected Infant/Child Death and Pregnancy Loss. Resources for parents, families, and professionals; bereaved children; child care providers; faith communities; and cultural and ethnic groups; plus multimedia resources and online support.

For Families, Friends, and Children

Books for Children on Dealing with Death. (2013) Resource Center.
This bibliography is intended to help parents or caregivers navigate children's questions that are likely to come up after the death of a younger sibling from sudden infant death.

After the Loss of Your Baby. (2008). Connie Nykiel, Centering Corporation.
Booklet for adolescent mothers offering information on grief, medical definitions, and issues surrounding family and the infant's father. Available for purchase online.

Miscarriage: It's More Common Than You Think. (2008). March of Dimes.
Podcast interview with a mother who experienced three miscarriages and Dr. Katie Capitulo, a nurse with expertise in bereavement counseling for perinatal loss. The 13- minute audio podcast includes a discussion of personal experiences of miscarriage, strategies to help partners understand and support each other, and strategies to cope with grief.

The Grief of Stepparents When a Child Dies. (2008). Compassionate Friends.
Information on grief following the death of a child, with an emphasis on factors that particularly affect stepparents.

After Sudden Infant Death: Facing Anniversaries, Holidays and Special Events. (2005). Resource Center.
Information and strategies for grieving parents as they approach special family gatherings and holidays.

The Death of a Child, the Grief of the Parents: A Lifetime Journey. (2011). Resource Center.
Resource on the process of grief, describing bereavement as a set of tasks for the bereaved. Topics covered include factors that may interfere with the grief process, sudden infant death syndrome, fathers, families needing additional support, non-traditional families, ways to comfort a grieving parent, ways that help parents cope and heal, and recommended resources.

Coping with Holidays and Family Celebrations. (2005). Helen Fitzgerald, American Hospice Foundation.
General resource on coping with the death of loved ones.

The Grieving Child: Helping Children Cope When an Infant Dies. (2011). Resource Center.
Common reactions that children of different ages exhibit when an infant dies and how to help these children. Also addresses seeking support services and funeral and family rituals.

Surviving the Death of a Baby. (2003). First Candle.
Advice for grieving parents, children, grandparents, child care providers, and friends and relatives.

A Father’s Grief. (2002). Duke University Health System Bereavement.
Information on fathers' feelings after the death of an infant, how to help the wife/partner, and tips for handling grief. Also available in Spanish.

Single Parent Grief. (2002). Duke University Health System Bereavement.
Information on grief following the death of an infant, designed for single parents, particularly single mothers, with specific strategies for coping with grief and identifying appropriate self-care and social supports. Also available in Spanish.

List of Do’s and Don’ts for Friends and Relatives Who Want to Help. (no date). First Candle.
List of things to do and say that may help, as well as things to avoid.

Using Books To Help Children and Adolescents Cope with Death: Guidelines and Bibliography. Hospice Foundation. Guidlines on how to select resources, a selected bibliographies of materials for adults, picture and coloring books for preschoolers and beginning readers, storybooks and other texts for primary school readers, literature for middle school readers, and literature for high school readers.

For Providers

Annotated Bibliography on Grief and Bereavement Following Pregnancy Loss, Perinatal and Infant Death. (2009). National Fetal and Infant Mortality Review Program and Association of SIDS and Infant Mortality Programs.
Information from the professional literature, including research articles, practice recommendation articles, and systematic and literature reviews.

Culture, Grief and Bereavement: Applications for Clinical Practice. (2008). Marilyn Hardy Bougere, in Minority Nurse.
Discussion of the importance of cultural and social context for grief, with information and examples to increase awareness of how to consider cultural factors in caring for diverse grieving families.

Podcast: Home Visiting and Grief Counseling. (2008). Resource Center.
Discussion with two Tomorrow’s Child/Michigan SIDS bereavement support nurses about providing home visits to families who are grieving after the loss of a pregnancy or the death of an infant.

When an Infant Dies: Cross Cultural Expressions of Grief and Loss III. (2007). National Fetal-Infant Mortality Review Program Bulletin.
Cultural traditions of Hmong, African-American, and Jewish families grieving the loss of an infant. Previous issues cover Latino, Native-American, African-American, and Muslim cultures (I) and African American, French and English Caribbean, Hispanic/Latino, Chinese, and Ojibwa cultures (II).

Why Shouldn’t Lesbian Women Who Miscarry Receive Special Consideration? A Viewpoint. (2006). Danuta Wojnar and Kristen M. Swanson, in the Journal of GLBT Family Studies.
Overview of the literature on miscarriage, advocating for the need to understand the experience of miscarriage from the perspective of women who self-identify as lesbian.

Bereavement Counseling for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and Infant Mortality: Core Competencies for the Health Care Professional. (2004).
Competencies that health professionals need to provide appropriate and effective bereavement support for families in the areas of understanding and using infant mortality statistics, educating about risk reduction, providing bereavement counseling, and realizing the impact of grief counseling on the health professional.

Childbearing Loss and Grief. (2002). Wisconsin Association for Perinatal Care.
Guidance for caregivers to help families who have experienced a perinatal loss, including outcome goals for parents, cultural issues, respecting individuals, and writing a condolence note. A chart lists many types of losses not usually discussed in bereavement materials, such as loss of one or more infants in a multiple pregnancy, infertility, adoption, birthing difficulties, birth of a child with special health care needs, and maternal death; describes unique features of each type of loss; and suggests interventions to use in each situation.

Organizations

Center for Loss in Multiple Birth
Information for parents, friends, and relatives about the loss of a twin, triplet, or higher order multiples; discussion of subsequent pregnancies; a bibliography and links to other resources. Some of the information is provided in Spanish, French, Chinese, and Russian.

Compassionate Friends
Brochures, local chapters, events, conferences, and an online video, After a Child Dies.

First Candle
Consumer and professional materials available to order online and a state-by-state list of grief resources. Also provides bilingual (English and Spanish) grief counselors 24 hours a day, 7 days a week toll free at (800) 221-7437.

M.I.S.S. Foundation
International organization that provides immediate and ongoing support to grieving families, empowerment through community volunteerism opportunities, public policy and legislative education, and programs to reduce infant and toddler death through research and education. The organization also provides prevention information and workshops and seminars on a variety of grief- and therapy-related topics. This Web site is also available in Spanish.

Pregnancy Loss and Infant Death Alliance
Nationwide collective community of parents and health professionals. Offers an annotated list of materials, organizations, and Web sites, updated annually; and practice guidelines with specific suggestions for providing the compassionate care put forth by PLIDA position statements on offering the infant to bereaved parents and when parents want to hold their infant.

Resolve Through Sharing
A program created by Gundersen Lutheran Bereavement Services in 1981 to serve families whose infant dies during pregnancy or shortly after birth. Offers training, including videos, for health professionals and materials for parents,

Share Pregnancy and Infant Loss Support, Inc.
Online brochures, publications available to order, and support groups for parents; materials for professionals; training and conferences.

Finding Other Resource Center Materials

For more resources, see the A to Z topic list on Bereavement.

Also, the Resource Center recently updated it's collection of children's books on grief and of materials for adults to use in helping children grieve. Find using keywords such as grief children. on our Search page.

July 2009; Updated March 2011