Skip to main content

Loss of a Child

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Oct 3, 2022.

What should I expect after losing a child?

The loss of a child will affect all of your family. Each person will grieve differently. Grief is a normal process of loss. Grief has several stages. The following stages can be experienced in any order:

  • Denial and isolation is a temporary response to the initial shock of an illness or loss.
  • Anger may be directed at strangers, friends, and loved ones. You may be angry with the child for leaving you. You may even be angry at yourself.
  • Bargaining happens when you make a deal with a higher power to postpone or reverse the loss.
  • Depression is the stage when you let yourself mourn. In this stage allow yourself to feel pain, loss, and sadness. This stage may last longer than the other stages.
  • Acceptance is reached when you are able to move on with life. You realize that the loss will always be with you, but you are ready to try to go on.

What other things do I need to know about the loss of a child?

Find or ask for support. Support may come from other family members or spiritual leaders. You may need to find support through counseling or group meetings. Support can help you get ready to move on with your life. Ask your healthcare provider for information on support groups in your area. Contact the following, or other, recommended organizations for support:

  • Caring Connections
    National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization
    1731 King Street, Suite 100
    Alexandria , VA 22314
    Phone: 1- 800 - 658-8898
    Web Address:

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

© Copyright IBM Corporation 2022 Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or IBM Watson Health

Learn more about Loss of a Child

Care guides

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.