A.P. asks from Cleveland, OH on May 28, 2010
6 Year Old Scared After a Miscarriage
So as you can tell from my last couple posts I have recently had 2 miscarriages after infertilty problems. Anyway both of these pregnancies my son knew we were pregnant (the first time we told him and the second he was asking questions about it). Anyway lately I have had a doctors appt every 2 weeks as follow-ups. Well for the last 2-3 weeks(since the last miscarriage) my 6 year old has been crying all the time when I am around. He is not acting this way around my husband or babysitter or friends unless I am around. So after a huge crying fest tonight i asked him why he has been acting like this and if it had to do with us losing the baby. He responded yes and I asked him why or if he was scared about something and he told me yes he was scared...scared something was wrong with me and that I am going to go away too like the babies. I was shocked by this in and didnt really know what to say except that mommy was fine and that I am not sick (which I am guessing he is figuring because I have all the doctors appts) and don't see me going anywhere. My question is how do I explain to him what is going on so that he can understand it. All the things I keep thinking he is not going to understand and it is not going to help him feel better about the situation. MOMS PLEASE HELP!!!
H.B. answers from Chicago on May 29, 2010
My grandma had a miscarriage when my uncle was around this age. He knew about it and she used the seed and garden explanation also. She just told him that she wasn't sick, it was just a bad seed that didn't grow right. Just recently I've been slowly preparing my 5 year old that I might have a C-section. I've been watching the baby shows on tv and he was wondering why some mommies are being cut. I went with the straight answer, giving little information at a time until he's satisfied. I explained that it was normal and we trust the doctors, they go to school and live their lives doing this. I trust them to cut me open before I trust daddy to cut me open. (Plus the doctors tools are much cleaner than daddy's) It helped him to know that doctors are real people to...they don't fix roofs like daddy, but they help mommy have a baby!
Anyways, let him ask the question and answer it the best you can. Don't go any farther than what he's asking. Hope some of these suggestions help. Hopefully just talking about why he's scared will help him start to feel better.
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K.H. answers from Canton on May 29, 2010
A., I am very sorry for your losses. I just went through this in March, and I also have a six year old. She was very sad and upset with the situation, and especially because I was as well. I explained it to her by using something she understands. We talked about how when you plant seeds in a garden, some of the seeds grow and some don't. We explained that even if you give all the seeds water and sun, still some don't grow. Then we compared that to babies in my tummy. She seemed to really understand it better when we described it that way.
As far as the follow up doctor appointments, I told her that they were just checking to see if there was a reason why the baby didn't grow. I explained that I was ok but the doctors wanted to make sure another baby could grow later on.
I hope this helps, and I hope you and your son are able to heal very soon!
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K.R. answers from Phoenix on May 29, 2010
I'm sorry to hear of your losses. We've recently been dealing with the same thing, had 4 in less than 2 years. My oldest is 5.5yo and very perceptive. He was 3.5 when I had my first one and we had told him I was pregnant, it was really hard to explain and he talked about that baby for awhile. Even though I didn't tell him about the others, he knew. I recently explained to him that God doesn't like to send sick babies and that the babies I lost were sick so when he had a baby to send us that was not sick he would. It may not have been the best answer ever but it worked for him, it wasn't to heavy for him but made him understand there was nothing wrong with mommy. After all the appointments and being sad no matter how hard I tried not to show too much in front of him (I believe it's ok to show that you are sad so they can see that you are sad too but not excessively), he started acting differently. My husband asked him about it and he said he was worried about me. I sat down with him and reminded him that he goes to the doctor to make sure he is still healthy and that's what mommy is doing too, we don't only go to the doctor when we are sick. He felt relieved after that.
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M.P. answers from Portland on May 28, 2010
Tell him in simple words that when a mommy loses a baby she has to take it easy for awhile and see the doctor to be sure that all the baby making stuff inside her is OK. Tell him that mommy's don't die because of a miscarriage. It's like being sick with a cold or the flu. Tell him often that you will be there to take care of him. Tell him you're not going to die any time soon.
Now might be the time to talk about dying. There are many good books written for children about it. Check a couple out from the library and read them together.
I wondered about how to talk with my grandchildren when they were worried that I would die soon because I'm so old. lol My counselor said to say just what I suggested. And if they were interested talk about life and death. We did. They processed the ideas in a couple of months and only occasionally bring it up now. During that time I answered the questions briefly and simply.
Have you talked with him about how you do feel sad when a baby just beginning dies? It might help to tell him about a baby's growth in the womb and how when this one died he's not big like you. He may be worried that he some how caused this to happen. I suggest that just because kids tend to blame themselves for nearly everything. What is important is to give him space and time to ask you questions, for you to answer them honestly but simply in a manner he can understand as best as he can and to reassure him often that you are not going to die and you'll always take care of him.
He may be frightened because of the strong emotions you and your husband feel because he doesn't understand what is happening. So it's important to give him as much information that is appropriate at his age. Brief, simple, and honest. I think you'll be surprised at how much he does understand. Not the details but the general picture.
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K.W. answers from Indianapolis on May 29, 2010
Amanda C gave you some great advice. Having experienced a similar situation I think children pick up on the sadness and get frightened. It is important to be factual with children--knowledge is power. Kids understand more than we give them credit for and sometimes too many mysterious stories makes things more complicated for them. Perhaps discuss how it is an incredible journey to be born. Science helps our family. We talk about how when a baby grows in Mommy's tummy so many things have to happen for a baby to grow and be born and sometimes things do not all come together quite right (we've discussed cells etc generally) and the beginnings of a baby do not develop into a baby and it is natures way of cleaning things out for a future baby to be born. Explain that you are healthy and this is part of nature and the doctors know about how to make sure everything is as ready as possible for another baby to try to grow. Perhaps explain that another baby might come and maybe might not and that is part of life's journey. Explain it is OK to be sad but it might be important to try to focus on the happy outcomes you do have. Kids take their cues from us. Try to protect him from the real heartache and reassure him that Mommy is healthy and strong (and smart because she knows to go to the doctor to get as ready as possible). I am sorry for your loss. I wish you luck and a happy heart.
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A.C. answers from Columbus on May 29, 2010
I can't offer much, as I have not been through your side of the equation, but my heart goes out to your whole family.
However, from the child's view of things, I can offer this: when I was 7, my mom went into the hospital for 2 weeks, and I had no idea why. I came home from school and my dad was there (usually he wasn't; he worked till 6 or 7 every day), and he said she was in the hospital.
Without any explanation of what was going on, my very fertile imagination came to the conclusion that she was dying. I was a pretty emotional kid, and started crying all the time. Once my dad explained to me what was going on (that Mom would be okay and would be coming home soon), and I was able to ask questions, I felt so much better.
I still remember that fear--I was utterly convinced that she was dying....
So my only suggestion is to talk to him, listen to him, don't belittle his fears. Reassure him... .If it would help, maybe even take him with you for an appointment (it might have to be a special appointment, maybe with your pediatrician, or something, after you brief the ped. about the situation, so the ped. could help put it in terms he might understand better), if seeing & talking to a doctor might him convince him that you're going to be okay.
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D.K. answers from Sioux City on May 29, 2010
When we went through the deaths of our little ones my living children each took it very differently. My littlest basically said that she didn't want to have to put any more babies in the ground. She was very matter of fact. When I spoke with her I was very matter of fact.
My son had a hard time because he really wanted a brother. The first little one was a girl and he felt bad for wanting her to be a boy. The second was a boy and he was upset because that was his only brother. We ended up making a framed keepsake in honor of his brother. He has it hanging in his room. He wanted to just talk about having a brother in heaven.
My oldest was hard because she just didn't want to deal with any of it. I had to really search for opportunities to talk with her.
In the end my family is very Catholic. We studied what the Church teaches about death. I was very comforting. We include those babies in all our prayers and ask them to pray for us continually.
We went on to have another baby. We didn't tell them right away that I was pregnant. In fact I was really showing before we finally announced to them we were having a baby. I think we were in the sixth month before we told my in-laws.
I would suggest that you just be honest and supportive.
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A.C. answers from Bloomington on May 29, 2010
I agree with one of the other responders that this might be a good time to start talking about death and dying. You could explain to him that when babies are made in mommies tummies, they're tiny and have to grow big enough inside the tummies to live outside in the world. Sometimes, something happens, and the baby can't grow well or healthy enough to live outside, so the baby dies. Reassure him that, although this is a very sad thing, it's also a very natural part of life and happens to many people. Also, reassuring him that your doctor's visits are to help you get healthy enough to make healthy babies later on might help, too. I think reading books or finding videos about death that are appropriate for his age are a great way to talk about it. And, I don't think it's a bad thing for you to share your own sadness with him. If it's something that interferes with daily life, then I would seek professional help. However, letting him know that you are just as sad as he is about the situation might help him feel better. Also, as someone else responded, what happened is no one's fault. It's just something that happens. I am sorry for your losses, and good luck with everything!
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F.C. answers from Tampa on May 29, 2010
I went through something similar with my eldest when I had 2 losses. What I told her is that the Dr's are trying to figure out mommy's insides and they are making mommy take lots of tests so we can all findout if we can have another baby in mommy's tummy. I also promised her that just because the babies went back to heaven, mommy was staying here to take care of her.
I also realized that she was able to pickup on my sorrow more so than others so I quickly realized that I had to get back to a "happy place" atleast when she was around the house :)
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