To get in touch with our volunteers and our operators you can:
- write an email to [email protected]
- call the toll-free number 800601660 (Mon-Fri 13-15)
Below you will find the answers to the most frequently asked questions that come to us from those who are facing perinatal bereavement.
1. I have just lost my baby and I don’t know what to do
First of all we would like to express our condolences to you. We know how difficult this moment is but we also know how important it is to have clear ideas about what is possible to do. Losing a baby during pregnancy or after birth is always a traumatic event. Like all traumatic events, it requires a lot of effort, a lot of patience and a bit of strategy to deal with. Many people experience disturbing emotions, thoughts and feelings “at full volume” after the bad news: many are so overwhelmed that they just want to turn down the volume of pain, fear, anger or confusion. Sometimes our reactions to the loss are so intense that we hope that there is an “emergency intervention”, whatever, to stop being sick. On the other hand, the physiological reaction to the trauma and the process of grief processing have their times, quite fixed, which cannot be shortened but can always be dealt with in the best possible way.
The first few weeks after the loss are the most helpful ones to seek out the right types of support for you.
You can find here some information about CiaoLapo’s model for perinatal loss support:
2. I am still hospitalized: how can CiaoLapo help me?
The time of hospitalization is a precious time to make the right choices for you and for the couple and to organize the time of return home. Even during hospitalization you can consult the blog, the forum and the self-help documents available on our website. This article collects some useful information to better address and manage the loss from the diagnosis of perinatal death until discharge from the hospital:
CiaoLapo can help you with three support programs, starting from the first month after discharge : facilitated self-help, three free support meetings and the psychotherapy course at a discounted rate with our affiliated operators.
Why do these activities start one month after discharge?
Because our activities must not overlap with the paths envisaged by your hospital or territorial structure, which should accompany you from the moment of diagnosis until at least the month following discharge with a series of interviews and appointments.
3. I would like information on the possibilities of burial.
Our law always provides for the possibility of burial of the body of the embryo, the fetus and the newborn: the procedures vary according to the gestational period.
In case of miscarriage, whether spontaneous or voluntary , below the 180th day of gestation the woman or the couple can request private burial, at their own expense, at any gestational period; a request must be completed on a specific form provided by the ASL within 24 hours of scraping / delivery.
In the absence of a specific request, the rather smoky law provides for two distinct possibilities starting from the twentieth week of gestation . These two possibilities vary from municipality to municipality: one possibility is the burial in the common grave of all the remains borne by the hospital, the other is the disposal of the remains together with the hospital waste.
The procedure follows a pre-established procedure, traceable in the medical record.
From the 180th day of gestation, in the event of stillbirth or always, if the child is born alive, the burial is automatically foreseen together with the recognition and is the responsibility of the family.
You can find information relating to the law in force in Italy at this link: https://www.ciaolapo.it/2017/morte-prenatale-e-sepolture-cosa-prevede-la-legge/
The hospital where the birth takes place must provide all the information on the matter , also relating to any specific regulations in force in each municipality and the procedures adopted (burial in mass grave / disposal etc).
It is also possible to contact the cemetery office of the same municipality in which the hospital is located and that of the municipality in which the remains may be buried, to provide clarifications.
The burial below the twentieth week of gestation is still a little known issue even by insiders and often it is necessary to make more than one phone call in common / hospital company and ask for more than a quote to the various funeral agencies in the area. Don’t be discouraged.
4. I don’t know how to break the news to the little brother / sister who are waiting for me at home.
Bereavement in children is a topic that touches many couples with perinatal bereavement: parents worry a lot about the reactions of the boy / girl and many parents are afraid of making a mistake in the way of communicating what happened.
In reality, there are no fixed and equal rules for everyone, because every family has its own story and every parent knows their child better than anyone. However, in the first few days after the loss, some parents suddenly feel extremely uncertain and insecure and need support to find the key.
Talking about bereavement in the family requires tact, kindness, honesty, the ability to offer support to the person to whom the bereavement is communicated, especially when the person is a boy / girl. The age of the boy / girl is a variable to be carefully considered: each age has in fact its particular ways of interfacing with death and mourning.
It is very important to find clear and coherent words that allow you to build a narrative of this event, useful for its understanding and elaboration, respecting the needs of both adults and children.
When perinatal bereavement occurs, each family member must be supported and encouraged to care for their suffering and to share a part of the bereavement journey with other family members. In particular, the adults of the family should agree on how to talk about death to children, in order to avoid unpleasant inconsistencies and blatant lies.
On our site there is information material on how to deal with the issue of bereavement with children.
5. I have just had an early miscarriage, an ectopic pregnancy or an anembryonic pregnancy (blind egg). I was in the first trimester of pregnancy and I think I need help. Can you help me too?
Perinatal bereavement is described as a subjective experience of bereavement that is experienced after a loss during pregnancy up to the first year after delivery. CiaoLapo deals with perinatal bereavement and therefore offers support for all situations of loss during pregnancy and after birth, for whatever reason they occur .
6. I have had an embryo reduction or termination of pregnancy due to illness and I think I need support. Can I reach out to you for support?
CiaoLapo offers support for all situations of loss during pregnancy and after birth, for whatever reason they occur . Pathological termination of pregnancy or embryo reduction may also be associated with the subjective experience of perinatal bereavement.
7. I lost my baby and I don’t know who to talk to. I am ashamed of being sick, I would like to know if other parents who have lived through an experience similar to mine are as bad as I am.
Reading the grieving experiences of other people is undoubtedly a very useful tool to aid in grieving and reduce malaise. Since 2006, the CiaoLapo website has had an active forum moderated by trained facilitators where it is possible to both read the stories of other parents and tell one’s own story, with an exchange useful for recognizing one’s emotions related to the situation one is experiencing. .
There is also a documents section where you can download books and articles on mourning for free.
Finally, in the blog, there are many articles dedicated to everyday life after a perinatal bereavement.
8. I am a mother who has recently lost her baby boy / girl and I am followed by a psychologist from the hospital where I gave birth. Can I also meet with your psychologists?
Perinatal bereavement is a very strenuous experience. Psychological support can be a valid help, respecting the times and the typical ways of mourning.
It is not advisable to undertake two parallel paths of psychological support : taking a support path is already challenging enough and requires a lot of energy.
It is advisable to start a new one only after completing the current one.
9. My husband / partner / partner is also suffering: can CiaoLapo help him?
Our association also offers support to partners. Our site provides information and psychoeducational material also aimed at fathers, as well as a section of the forum dedicated to perinatal bereavement from the point of view of fathers where it is possible to share experiences and emotions related to the different stages of bereavement.
10. I read that your association organizes self-help groups: what is it about? How can I tell if they are suitable for me?
The Self-Help Group (GAMA) is a protected space of dialogue where single parents or couples meet after the loss of their child in pregnancy or after birth.
It is a process of grief processing through sharing with other people united by perinatal bereavement. Our groups, which take place mostly online on the platform, are taught by a facilitator trained specifically on this topic.
Participation in the group involves sharing one’s own experience of loss with the other participants and sharing the process of mourning in everyday life; by sharing we mean both telling one’s own story, which is never obligatory, and listening to the stories of others. Access to the group occurs from the third month after the loss, when the psychic energies are highest, as it requires commitment and perseverance to function at its best. To access the group there is a preliminary interview with the operators of CiaoLapo and an entrance interview with the facilitators of the reference AMA group.
The groups meet once a month and it is possible to attend them for two years .
The forum that you find on this site is a real virtual self-help group through writing: the forum is also moderated by a facilitator and each parent can tell his or her story, read those of others, reflect on everyday life after the loss and trace the paths of resilience.
To find out if the CiaoLapo AMA groups are right for you, you can call our toll-free number 800601660 or write to [email protected]
11. How do I know if there is a self-help group for bereaved parents in my city or region?
With the pandemic, the CiaoLapo groups have moved to an online platform, and can be reached and frequented from all over Italy and beyond. It will be the responsibility of our operators to identify the group closest to you and put you in contact with the facilitators.
12. If I am already enrolled in another bereavement self-help group, can I still join yours?
We also know, because we have been through it, the spasmodic need to get better immediately on the one hand and the urgent need to immerse yourself completely in stories similar to ours on the other.
This dynamic is part of the first months of mourning and therefore it may happen that you want to subscribe to EVERYTHING that speaks, even vaguely, of abortion and perinatal death. However, as it is easy to guess, bereavement is a delicate topic, the experience of bereavement is subjective and not all portals that say they deal with bereavement deal with it in a trauma-oriented and psychological support key.
Facilitated self-help is fully part of peer psychological support activities, which are characterized by working on resilience processes starting from difficult or complex experiences.
The experience of participating in a self-help group is therefore quite demanding, precisely because it activates processes of re-elaboration of one’s own and others’ mournful experience.
It is therefore not advisable, because it is counterproductive, to attend more than one group at the same time .
13. My daughter just gave birth to her lifeless baby. How can I help you?
The loss of a child during pregnancy is a great suffering for the whole family. Grandparents often feel compelled to temporarily put aside their pain to take care of that of their children, the parents of the lost child, and any other grandchildren, his siblings.
As long as the baby’s mother is hospitalized, the health facility should accompany her from the moment of diagnosis until the month following discharge with a series of interviews and appointments.
This article collects some useful information to better address and manage the loss from the diagnosis of perinatal death until discharge from the hospital
In this important time for all family members to organize the return home, grandparents can consult the CiaoLapo site full of information in its blog, stories in its forum and indications in its self-help documents.
To help you look after your daughter and her family when they are all back home, you can read the “Little Principles” self-help book here .
14. How long does it take to mourn the loss of a baby during pregnancy or soon after birth?
The process of elaborating a bereavement takes quite a long time ranging from a minimum of six months up to two years . There is no telling at first how long it will take. What is important to know is that the mourning process usually takes this time physiologically. On average, the parents we have helped over the years have reported a duration of about 18 months of the most disturbing bereavement symptoms .
Each process of elaboration therefore has its own duration, which depends on many individual and contextual variables: having a welcoming, sympathetic and empathic family and social network, being able to count on individual resources, and being able to access forms of sharing or support make the leaner processing (but never short, alas).
However, after a year of bereavement, most people feel at a good point in the elaboration process.
15. How do I know if I need specialist help for my bereavement?
Mourning is a physiological process of responding to the loss of a “love object”; often, however, the intensity of the emotions and emotional ups and downs of the first few months frighten us, or frighten our loved ones, who mistake normal grief for problematic suffering. Sometimes bereavement in our society can be confused for its complication, but the opposite also happens: over the years it has happened that extremely suffering parents came to us who had not received any support for their post bereavement disorders and parents pushed into counseling even if their mourning was perfectly physiological.
It is important to understand if the course of your bereavement is physiological or if there are any complications in sight. Knowing how you are in fact allows you to structure the path in a personalized way and suited to your needs.
In the case of physiological bereavement it is in fact desirable to use different tools according to needs, personal inclinations and the moment of bereavement: alone, with other parents, with counselors, educators, pedagogues, art therapists or with health personnel, psychologists or psychotherapists.
On the other hand, there are some signs that may indicate the need for specialist help (for example, a path of psychotherapy on trauma or complicated bereavement sometimes associated with pharmacotherapy):
- whenever the typical signs of bereavement are extremely intense, disturbing, disabling (for example at work or in free time), when there are no monthly improvements / ups and downs.
- when after a year from the loss everything seems the same as the first day, the discomfort is significant and continuous and many aspects of our life remain compromised.
To understand which type of support is best suited to your case, you can call our toll-free number 800601660 or write to [email protected]
16. I lost a child during pregnancy. How long do I have to wait to look for a new pregnancy?
Before embarking on a new pregnancy it is very important to give the body and mind the right time to process the previous loss, an unprocessed bereavement can in fact become a risk factor for anxiety disorders, depression and greater effort in creating a good relationship with the baby. that he expects.
Furthermore, the international literature highlights that the elaboration of a bereavement takes a very long time and that superimposing this process too early on a pregnancy risks greatly increasing the emotional management of both bereavement and gestation.
In the face of all this, respecting individual and couple differences, we recommend that you wait at least 6 months after the loss to ensure that the grieving process has begun.
17. I would very much like to ask the hospital where I lost my child medical documents and tests that were done during the hospitalization. They would be among the few memories I have of him.
In all hospitals it is possible to request the medical records and all the health documentation of the hospitalizations, which in addition to being a reminder can be very useful for any other examinations or diagnostic investigations.
Each facility has its own procedures for requesting medical records and the specific procedure must be requested from your hospital.
18. What is CiaoLapo?
CiaoLapo was born of Claudia Ravaldi and Alfredo Vannacci, doctors, researchers and above all parents of Lapo, who was stillborn at term of pregnancy. Over time, the association has been enriched by the presence of other parents with experience of perinatal bereavement, of health professionals sensitive to the issue, of our facilitators trained in self-help techniques in perinatal bereavement and of volunteers involved in raising awareness on the subject of perinatal bereavement.
CiaoLapo is currently a social promotion association (APS), born as an ONLUS in 2006 in Prato and soon became national.
Our association has always had two hearts:
- the scientific heart that promotes research and training courses for health personnel ed
- the welfare center , which offers initial telematic support to families and operators, bereavement support, and facilitated support among peers.
We have organized 14 national and international conferences and thousands of hours of free training in birth centers and neonatal intensive care.
We have trained more than five thousand operators in Italy, reach around 1000 readers a day and respond to over 1000 emails a year.
19. What does CiaoLapo do?
CiaoLapo offers first support to people affected by perinatal bereavement free of charge and, when necessary, structured psychological support, thanks to a network of psychologists and psychotherapists affiliated with the association.
The help we offer is on multiple levels, each of which responds to the most frequent needs of bereaved parents:
information, bibliographic resources, documents, written testimonies, books
self-help among peers, which is achieved through direct exchange between bereaved parents
self-help facilitated by trained staff, in ama groups and in the forum
specialist advice in the forum
first support with one of our operators
three free psychological support meetings
psychotherapy courses with affiliated operators chosen for their preparation on the subject of perinatal bereavement and perinatal psychology.
Not all parents use all levels of help: most of them find the first two points very useful and comprehensive.
Visit the documents section of the site to download useful books and articles.
20. When can CiaoLapo help me?
There is no better time than another to visit the CiaoLapo site, read articles and testimonials and start mourning.
Many parents find it very comforting to read and write from the first days after the death of their child, while many others need a few weeks or months.
It is often important to even know that there is a safe place where, if we so wish, we can obtain information about what we have faced and what we, as mourners, will face.
Taking your time to orient yourself and to choose how to participate is very important.
21. How can CiaoLapo help me?
CiaoLapo is a place / non-place where the parents, relatives and “friends” of meteor children meet, virtually and if they wish, also in person, to share their experiences of prenatal and perinatal bereavement. By reading the stories of others, sharing the pain and all the nuances of perinatal bereavement, the process of elaboration is lighter and the strengths to regain a decent level of serenity and confidence in the future are greater. Attending CiaoLapo, respecting your times, and your ways of reacting, can help you “see” beyond “grief in perspective, and, even if at first it may seem impossible, it can provide you with some small tools to deal with the pain heavy loss and rebuild your life again.
Thanks to insights : parents often need to deepen many details about what happened to them and what will happen in the future. You will find many articles written by our healthcare professionals on the topics of perinatal health, perinatal bereavement care, the psychology of bereavement and post-loss pregnancies.
Through the forum : it is freely accessible for reading, but for a matter of protection of the writer, to avoid spamming and trolls, only subscribers and / or members can send messages. On the forum you can tell your experiences and read the experiences of others, by sharing your story, thoughts and emotions with people who have gone through similar experiences, you can take the first step towards mourning.
There are specialist sections where qualified personnel answer parents’ questions.
It is very important to take the time to read the posts in the various sections, because in many cases many topics have already been covered and new parents can find a great benefit simply by reading the paths of other parents.
Through online self-help groups . Self-Mutual-Aid Groups (AMAs) are the resource that, according to international scientific research, has proved most effective in the management of perinatal bereavement. CiaoLapo organizes online AMA groups on a monthly basis.
22. What kind of rules does CiaoLapo have?
CiaoLapo in a short time has become a “community” frequented by hundreds of parents and operators, who meet virtually and in reality to share their experiences. In our community, which is non-partisan and non-denominational, it is necessary to observe these 4 rules:
- respect for one’s own history and the history of others
- listening without judgment, respecting the times and the differences of each story
- sharing of personal experiences, with a view to self-help.