New research indicates that grief during pregnancy may affect the mental health of the baby. This is important data, and it makes a lot of sense. We know that infants are very impacted by the environment in utero and by their experiences of early attachments. We also know that infants are aware and responsive to the moods and stress of their primary caregivers. If their parent is mourning, while they are in utero and after their birth, this will certainly have an impact on their experience and development. The article has found some links between babies born to grieving parents and the need, later in life, for medications for ADHD, anxiety, and depression.
For more detail about this research please read this article.
Being born into an environment of grief and loss is often a formative experience. (Please also feel free to read my info and posts about subsequent children, who are born after the death of a brother or sister, here on this site.) The data about subsequent children points to the importance of recognizing the impact of being born into a family with a loss.
One very important and hopeful message: While obviously none of us can control the timing of a loss or the intensity of our grief, this new knowledge can hopefully allow us to think about ways to reduce stress for expectant and grieving parents, and build in more supports. This will promote healthier outcomes, both for them and for their children.
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