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[black small square] I was pleased to see Joy Ufema's suggestions for supporting parents after a stillbirth ("Neonatal Death: A Need for Extra Gentleness", Insights on Death and Dying, March 2004). I gave birth to a 42-week-old stillborn while working as a postpartum nurse 12 years ago. I still have the plaster-of-Paris footprint made for me by a caring nursery nurse.


Besides a dozen roses for the mother to carry out at discharge, I suggest a large stuffed animal to ease the feeling of empty arms. If possible, don't discharge the mother through the maternity exit; the sight of pink and blue bows and happy parents may be too much to bear. And don't encourage the family to take down the nursery at home right away. The grieving parents need to do this when they're ready.

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