Helping parents cope with pregnancy, infant loss

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Coping with the death of a loved one is different for everyone. We find out how parents dealing with the death of a baby are finding help.

According to March of Dimes, 1 in every 100 births is stillborn. Even more babies are lost before and shortly after birth.

A clinical social worker with Sanford Health sat down with us to share how loved ones can help couples cope with the loss of a young child.

It’s a devastating loss everyone handles in their own way, but there is some common ground.

“There usually is a sense of shock. Even folks who are kind of told what the prognosis is going to be and that their child isn’t going to live long after it’s born, there’s still a sense of shock to go through that process,” said Salem.

Karla Salem is a Clinical Social Worker at the Sanford Women’s Plaza who works with parents during these tough times. She says some parents are so devastated they don’t know how to talk about what they’ve experienced. While others feel their child may not be remembered because their life was taken so early in the pregnancy.

“My concept is that as soon as anybody hears that they are pregnant, as soon as they know there is a human life, they start developing that person in their head. They become a person. It doesn’t really matter when it is or what it is, the loss. They have actually lost a child,” said Salem.

Salem says the best thing loved ones can do during this time is ask what the parents need. Some want to talk, while others need space. She suggests asking questions, and don’t ignore the loss these parents are going through.

“The nicest possible intended adage to make them feel better is not going to make them feel better. So to understand that someone cares about them. That they want the best for them. They understand that this is a really hard time, and that they can be there for them for anything that they might need,” said Salem. In Monday night’s Eye on KELOLAND, we meet a family who’s using their own loss to help other parents. See how their strength is being used to lift up others, tonight at ten.

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