The definition of neonatal death is:
The death of a live-born baby from viability of 24 weeks pregnancy upto 28 completed days after birth.
Giving birth is an emotional and unpredictable experience. Although you may have meticulously planned every detail, sometimes, for reasons known only to Allah (glorified and exalted be He), things may not go as expected: your baby may be born prematurely, he/she may develop an infection shortly after, or during, birth and sometimes, by the will and decree of Allah (glorified and exalted be He), your baby may pass away during or after birth. Whatever the circumstance, know that you are not alone. Nearly 17 babies are either stillborn or die shortly after birth in the United Kingdom.
After the death of your baby, certain things will follow:
- Time to come to terms with your loss
- Asked if you would like to see your baby
- Time to create memories of your baby through hand/foot prints, pictures etc
- Doctors will have to see the baby to certify the death
- A post mortem may or may not be required depending on the circumstances
- You will usually be asked if you would allow tissue testing which you may refuse
- Baby is transported to the mortuary unless you yourself will be taking the baby
- A ghusl and shrouding need to be arranged
- The Janaza prayer needs to be arranged with your local Imam and Masjid (mosque)
- The babies birth and death needs to be registered with a name date and time at a registry office to obtain a birth and death certificate.
In the immediate aftermath, you may be too busy to even stop and think about what has happened. Having gone through the heartache of saying goodbye and burying your child, you may come home and only then fully absorb the gravity of what has occurred.
Your home will now look empty, given all the preparation you had done for the imminent arrival of your new baby. Take things at your own pace: there is no need to rush around, packing everything away or giving it to charity. For some, being surrounded by the reminders of their child eases the pain, while for others, any tiny reminder can act as a trigger and make acceptance that much harder to reach.
Every person will grieve differently. The process may take some parents a week and others may never fully recover from their loss. There is no set time limits that dictate that you have to stop missing your child at any given time. Know that Allah (glorified and exalted be He) loves you and wants to guarantee you Jannah through your child. Take solace from this and exercise patient. But this in no way means do not grieve or you are not allowed to shed tears when the pain of missing your child and feeling your empty arms begins to get too much.
Allah (glorified and exalted be He) is Most Merciful and Loving and would not allow you to suffer a loss if He knew you would not cope. It is because of your unwavering faithin Allah (glorified and exalted be He) that He (glorified and exalted be He) is able to test you in such a way, knowing that you love Him (glorified and exalted be He) enough to bear the test with patience.
Know that your reward is with Allah (glorified and exalted be He), the All Forgiving and Wise, and your separation from your beautiful child is but temporary compared to the eternity you are promised in Jannah. Those precious moments you shared are going to be your memory till your last breath. Take time to remember them and whenever the pull of pain gets too much to bear, repeat Inna lillahi waina ilahi rajioon.