According to the World Health Organization (WHO), more than one third of all child deaths occur within the first month of life. While the United States is rated 167th globally in infant deaths, of every 1,000 births, 5.87 children do not make it to their first birthday. The death of a child is one of the most traumatic events a parent could ever go through. While suffering through the loss and shock, newly bereaved parents are often asked to make hasty decisions regarding the handling of their child, sometimes hours following their passing.
If you have happened across this article following the loss of a child, I’m Sorry To Hear would like to offer its most sincere condolences. As a newly bereaved parent, you will be required to make a multitude of decisions regarding the eternal care of your child. It is because of this that we have compiled this resource to assist you. Research is sure to be the last thing on your mind, as simply getting to tomorrow may seem too daunting a task, so we have gone ahead and done the work for you. Below you will find a comprehensive list of perinatal resources, special services, financial aid, assistance, grief support and options available to you.
Whether your child passed in the hospital or at home due to a miscarriage, neonatal death, stillbirth or premature birth, you may be asked to make decisions regarding the autopsy, delivery of the child, and method of eternal care. I’m Sorry To Hear would like to suggest that you make a list of any questions, concerns, desires and plans you may have pertaining to you and your child’s care to give to your physician.
According to the Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic & Neonatal Nursing, a new awareness of parent’s needs following the loss of a child has led hospitals to develop perinatal bereavement programs, checklists, and bereavement teams to ensure that grieving families are able to receive quality care and assistance (When A Baby Dies: Rights of the Baby and Parents, M. Primeau, Sr. J. Lamb (1995) v. 24; n. 3, p. 206). If your physician hasn’t done so already, it may be a good idea to request more information and take advantage of what they offer.
Lavender Tree, a perinatal hospice based out of Puget Sound, offers trained bereavement care all through your pregnancy, life-threatening diagnoses, labor, birth and loss.
First Candle provides education to new parents and caregivers to promote healthy habits and offers a state-by-state list of grief resources and a 24/7 hotline.
The CJ Foundation offers education that supports the health and survival of all babies through their first year of life and provides a supportive environment for grieving families who have suffered a loss.
Financial Aid Services
The Tears Foundation is nonprofit organization which aims to lift any financial or emotional burdens following the death of a child. They offer free support groups and provides funding for current infant funeral and burial expenses for families in need.
Angel Names Association offers programs designed to ease the financial burden burden following a stillbirth and provides support. The Securing End-of-Life Expenses (SEOLE) program provides needy families assistance with autopsy, funeral, burial and cremation expenses and the Grief Recovery Assistance Program (GRASP) provides funding and assistance to uninsured families seeking counseling services following a stillbirth.
SIDS Foundation, or Sudden Infant Death Syndrome Foundation, provides short-term assistance to individuals and families suffering an emergency hardship due to the sudden loss of a child to SIDS.
Grief Support Services
Project Sweet Peas is a non-profit organization run by volunteers who provide comfort to families with children in the intensive care units and to those who have experienced pregnancy and infant loss.
Unite Grief Support, a non-profit organization, has been providing grief support following the loss of a baby, including miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, stillbirth and infant death to parents in the Philadelphia area since 1975.
The National Share Pregnancy & Infant Loss Support Org. is a community for anyone who experiences the tragic death of a baby. They serve parents, grandparents, siblings, and others in the family unit, as well as the professionals who care for grieving families.
The March of Dimes offers information for patients (parents/caretakers), medical resources, professional education, tool-kits, and an online support community to assist with loss of child.
Heaven’s Gain is a home based ministry that provides small caskets and urns for miscarried and early stillborn babies.
Milkin Mamas is an organization that donates breast milk to critically ill babies, for parents who stored breast milk before the death of their child.
Purposeful Gift highlights information regarding neonatal and pediatric organ donation, tissue donation, and whole body donation.
For more funeral planning tools and resources, visit the I’m Sorry to Hear article library, download a Funeral Planning Checklist, review the Casket Guide, see your State by State Guide on End of Life issues, get information on How to Pay for a Funeral, view Funeral Planning Tips, and access Funeral Consumer Advocacy links all from our Resources area.