The Mother Without a Baby

The Mother Without a Baby

Sometimes nursing is required for a mother who is without a baby. The baby may have been stillborn, may have died after birth, may have been given for adoption or may be very sick or premature. In these cases the woman should be given special attention. At this time the woman is in a great need of psychological care.

It is often easy to do less for the mother without a baby because the usual reasons for spending time with a postnatal woman are centered around the baby management and feeding. The mother without a baby may not be given sufficient care and attention. But she also needs the same physical care and observation as the mother with the baby has. She may also need the opportunity to talk about her feelings when she is ready.

In some hospitals the mother without a baby is transferred to a general ward because it is felt that being with mothers who do have babies might be distressing for her. This is a debatable point; some mothers seem to cope better if they are able to face the situation by seeing and hearing babies from the start.

The emotional support that a woman needs at such a time, is tremendous. No amount of nursing can ease the hurt and disappointment of the death of a longed-for baby. Not only the woman needs support but the baby's father is also in need of care. This is a time when the couple needs time on their own. They need the privacy to cope with the situation and start accepting the death of their baby. Also it is important that they are at each other's side so that they can start the process of working through their grief. There are a number of things that should be taken care of for the mother without baby.

Some of the points are:

  • The parents may not like the term 'lost' being used for their baby; as the baby was very real for them. So immense care should be taken when referring to the dead baby.
  • Care should be taken to avoid reminding the mother about the baby. Small things like baby articles, congratulation mails, etc. should be hidden from the mother.
  • Lactation will also need to be suppressed without fuss, and as quickly as possible. The nursing staff can offer to wash out any clothes on which milk has leaked on to; such laundry could be a hard task for the husband or the woman's mother to cope with emotionally.
  • The mother should be encouraged to stay in hospital long enough to recover and allow wounds to heal and lactation to be suppressed. But sometimes she may want to go early to be with her husband. In these cases the parents and the doctor should discuss the situation and decide what would be best for the new mother. The other staff should not be allowed to make any suggestions to the mother regarding early discharge from the hospital.
  • Facing the world after such a trauma is always difficult. Not only the mother is suffering from her own disappointment, but she has to face other people's disappointments too. Life for her can be very difficult if people come and visit her when she is not in a position to manage, or if they start avoiding her through embarrassment. The mother should be made to understand that people react to different situation in different ways. She should have a warning that these things may happen.

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