Dealing with others
Bereaved parents find themselves suddenly dealing with counselors, members of the clergy, medical and public health professionals, law enforcement personnel, and emergency responders as well as neighbors and others in the community. The support of many people is important during the bereavement period. But, at times, a parent may feel overwhelmed and resentful that these people are involved in his or her private life, and the life of the family.
It is important that SIDS parents understand that some members of the community may have little or no information about SIDS. Some members of the community may blame parents for the death and may view police or medical involvement in a SIDS case as a clear sign that the death occurred under suspicious circumstances. Unfortunately, in some communities, even today, SIDS parents are wrongly suspected of causing the death of their baby. It is also true that people in the community may be extremely sympathetic and want to express their support and concern for the parents and family. They may, however, be unsure or uncomfortable about how to go about expressing their support. The bereaved parent needs to deal with each person and situation on an individual basis, depending on that person's relationship to the family.
Right now, the best vehicle we have is to educate and inform ourselves, families and friends concerning the facts about SIDS. If you know anyone who has lost a baby to SIDS or who wants more information about SIDS, please suggest that they contact us and/or attend an upcoming parent support group meeting.
New bereaved parents may find it helpful to talk about the baby and express feelings of grief within a group of people with similar experiences. The suddenness and unexpectedness of a SIDS death makes it especially difficult, leaving parents with a great sense of loss, a need for understanding, and a need to know what has happened. Family members and professionals directly involved with bereaved parents, and even others in the community, are often left with a deep sadness and feeling that something should have been able to prevent the death. But, at this time, SIDS cannot be prevented and researchers are still unclear about its causes.
We are happy to get you in touch with support group for bereaved parents. For a list of support groups in the Boston area, click here.
What if the death occurred with another caregiver?
Sometimes a relative or baby-sitter or childcare provider may have been caring for the infant when the death occurred. It is not uncommon for parents to blame the relative or baby-sitter. Parents may blame themselves for having left the baby with someone else. It is natural that they may not be able to understand that the caregiver is also experiencing sorrow and guilt. This is a particularly painful situation, and counseling is usually helpful for all involved.