Loss of a child. How to deal with it?

Nurses General Nursing


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BadBird, BSN, RN

1,126 Posts

Specializes in Critical Care.

I am so sorry for your loss. I think that you have many career paths to choose in nursing, if you aren't comfortable working with children you don't have to. I just could not work with infants and children, I love the elderly patients.


28 Posts

In looking through this thread and links, I am touched by the love, strength, and compassion that all of you show for your precious angels. As the mother of a young son, I cannot fathom how each of you have dealt with the loss of your children. My heart and prayers are with you all.


652 Posts

((((( hugzzzzzzzzzzz))))) to all who have lost children.

I haven't been in your shoes and hope and pray not to be.I can't immagine how that loss would devistate a parent. Prayers and much love to you all.

renerian, BSN, RN

5,693 Posts

Specializes in MS Home Health.

First let me say I am so sorry your child passed away. I know I have two healthy kids, and three stepkids so I am blessed. I lost two babies in the second trimester. I have lost both my parents, in my early 40s then, all my grandparents are gone as well as many aunts and uncles.

I can say for me I have gone to the grave several times a year to put flowers on them, ( all six), to clean off the sites, to sit and I talk. It may sound silly but I do that. I also cry. When I leave I feel better. This is what I need to do but everyone is different.

I do not think you should quit nursing. I do think that somehow, some way purging your soul of the anguish you may or may not be feeling is healthy. do you not go to the site because your afraid everything will come out? I think once you lose someone you love you have great empathy for the client facing death and the ones left behind who are struggling with finding meaning in their lives once the person they love is gone. The world stopped for me when my parents died. I could not figure out how things kept moving when I was so so devastated. I go to the grave with my husband but he always walks away and gives me private time. I need it every time and suspect I always will.

How do you feel about the comments from your nurse friends so far?



175 Posts

What a touching thread this has been !! burntout, and all the others who have posted pictures of their dear loved ones, what beautiful babies you had !! I know you still think of them everyday. As for the original poster, learn from all the examples given you here on this wonderful BB ~ many of these ppl have been through very similar situations. But still each person deals with their grief differently so it will utimately be up to you as to your career choices. But I truely think that for many of us it takes an life-changing experience such as death of a loved one to really and truely realize just what nurses do and how compassionate they are. And many times that makes you want to be able to similarly help people. That was the case with my grandmother (sorry I know this is supposed to be about the loss of a child). She was hospitalized suddenly when I was 13 years old and was on a vent and in very critical condition for 5 days before she died and it was after that experience for me that I decided nursing was for me. So it will utimately be up to you, but rest assured that if you decide to go on with nursing, as others have said, you will have a certain compassion and understanding unreachable by many others.

P.S. Sorry this is so long. :)


316 Posts

Specializes in Emergency.

I too, lost a dear baby in 1992. He was born 11 years ago tomorrow, so I am thinking of him tonight with a tear in my eye, and pain in my heart!

My son was born severely brain damaged and lived only 7 weeks. He never made it home. He was buried on his sister's 3rd birthday. I can relate to not visiting the grave. This summer I visited for the first time in 9 years. It is too hard. I remember him with memories only.

I started working at the hospital six months after he died. I needed to get out of the house. It was an extremely difficult and trying time. I found I loved working in the ER. I started as a secretary and worked my way up.

After graduating from nursing school, I chose to work in OB. I thought I would be good at it and could relate to many different and difficult situations after dealing with them myself. Unfortunately, I hated it! It was way more difficult and emotional than I thought possible. Mind you this was the hospital I gave birth in myself. Another hospital might have been different.

Anyway I quit. I had to. I just couldn't do it. It was way too hard on me! I have many issues left over that I didn't resolve properly after his death. Working in OB brought them way too close to the surface for me.

I found another job 3 days later. I am now a nurse at a school for special needs children. It is the same school my son would have attended had he lived.

I feel I have come full circle - that there was a reason for his short life. I love my job and my special kids. It is so fulfilling. I can fully relate with all aspects of the job.

I say follow your heart. If it is too hard, find something different. I would have never in a million years approached school nursing, but it turned out to be the best thing that has ever happened to me.

Good luck - you can do it. PM if you would like to talk more!


Specializes in MICU, neuro, orthotrauma.
Originally posted by Rustyhammer

Having lost a boy myself I sympathize with you.

You must grieve and realize your loss.

Keep up with your plan to become a nurse. It will do you well to not only continue with your life plans but it will also keep your mind off of the loss of your child.

It's been 17 years for me and sometimes I still cry for him.

I miss him still.


have you ever read swimmer in the secret sea? i am quoting you, rustyhammer, because i have read your posts, and i get the feeling you would like the book even if it is not your story completely, but i think any of you might like it.

it is by william kotzwinkle, who wrote, the fan man and of all things, E.T. - the extra terrestrial. (dont hold it against him!) currently it is out of print, but it is well worth the little hunt for it.

i have found some links where they are selling copies. i ADORE online for this reason alone. any book is right where you want it.




Swimmer in the Secret Sea, William Kotzwinkle, Avon Books, 1975 From the book cover, "In this short novel, the author reveals a depth and daring too painful for most writers to share. It is the story of a young father and a son-to-be who briefly swim in life1s secret sea." Moving story of stillbirth.

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