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After your stillbirth

Impact of grief

The areas in your life that are affected by grief are physical, cognitive (thinking), emotional (feeling), social (relationships), and spiritual. Grief may affect you in these areas at different times or sometimes all at once.


  • lack of energy
  • changes in sleep and appetite
  • stomach aches, nausea, or muscle aches
  • chest pain and tightness
  • more colds or infections (weaker immune system)
  • fatigue or extreme tiredness​

Cognitive (thinking)

  • shock, denial, confusion
  • problems concentrating or remembering things
  • lack of motivation
  • less interest in things you usually enjoy
  • difficulty thinking about things and solving problems
  • not able to manage everyday life and work

Emotional (feeling)

  • intense sadness
  • fear and anxiety, panic attacks, agitation
  • helpless or overwhelmed
  • alone
  • guilt or shame
  • anger or resentment
  • less confidence or being unsure of yourself

Social (relationships)

  • isolated, alone
  • feeling out of touch with others
  • changes in relationships
  • loss of contact with friends and family
  • finding it upsetting to be near children, families with infants, or pregnant women


  • feel like your life has changed forever
  • questions about meaning and purpose
  • test of your beliefs or faith (“Why me?” or “Where is my God?”)
  • spend more or less time with your faith community than before
  • loss of your sense of purpose (“Why go on?”)

You may find yourself going back and forth between times of coping or recovery and feeling the loss like you did when it happened. It's important to find out what activities help you cope, such as meditation, exercise, talking to someone, or massage. Take care of yourself by making healthy choices for activity, eating, and rest. Look for support from your friends, family, or from a grief counsellor. Learn more about the support that is available to you.

The new skills you learn about how to cope can help you as time goes by while still remembering your loss.​​

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