Reading to Cope with Child Loss

Reading to Cope with Child Loss

Reading can be a useful tool to cope with child loss. Approaches include (1) reading on a topic completely unrelated to child loss and grief in order to be immersed in a different narrative, and (2) reading materials that are focused on navigating grief. We collectively did a mix of both, though focused more on the latter. 


Reading at length felt hard to do in the earliest months following our son’s death, but we spent time reading brief portions of longer books in a given sitting, as well as short books, blog posts, and articles. We also listened to audiobooks.


One of the most helpful books in the earliest days of grieving was My Wynter Season: Seeing God’s Faithfulness in the Shadow of Grief, which we listened to as an audiobookIt wasn’t about child loss specifically; it was about the death of the author’s wife. But hearing about how the author relied on his faith in God while navigating a sudden, unexpected death was inspirational. 


Additionally, books like Empty Cradle, Broken Heart: Surviving the Death of Your Baby provided insight into the grieving process specifically after losing a child. This book validated why the death of a child is so different than the death of another loved one, clarified differences between grieving and mourning, and offered interesting scientific insights on grief. It also provided excerpts from interviews with bereaved parents. There was a lot more information in the book; however, we made it less than a quarter way through, as this book was simultaneously helpful and emotionally hard to read in the early weeks. We gave ourselves grace to glean what we needed to from the book, instead of forcing to read all of it just because it was highly recommended. 


We primarily read shorter texts like blog posts and articles to educate ourselves on the stillbirth literature and learn about other families’ experiences. Still Standing Magazine (stories from parents who have lost a child) and Tommy’s (child loss research/information and stories) were among the wide range of websites that we explored. 


Perhaps the most tangible benefit of reading these materials was that it provided information to help contextualize our son’s death. It helped answer questions like: What is stillbirth? Why does it happen? How common is it? How have others coped with it? 


We had to exercise discernment in choosing what to read, when, and how much in order to guard our hearts and minds during this emotion-filled grieving process. And we had to remind ourselves that, while reading was helpful in some ways, it wouldn’t answer all our many questions about death and life. 

Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.