Support: Parents

Support for Parents

When a baby or child dies suddenly and unexpectedly, your hopes and dreams for your family are shattered. When the loss is without warning or explanation, it is even more unbearable.

If you are visiting this website because your child has died, we extend our sympathy to you and your family and hope that you will find some answers to your questions and find some comfort in the support we can offer.

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You are not alone

No matter how deep your grief and how great your pain, remember that you are not alone. The Scottish Cot Death Trust is here to help you through the difficult times following the death of your baby or child.

If your baby or child was taken to hospital, leaving the hospital without them can be very difficult. Seeing your baby or child’s toys and possessions again can be very hard too. Sometimes well-meaning family or friends will want to remove these items before return home. Let them know your wishes. Many parents find it helpful to go through their child’s things together, at a time when they feel ready.

People from many different backgrounds come to the Scottish Cot Death Trust for support. Whether you are a teenage single parent, a couple with other children, a parent bereaved many years ago who is now struggling because you have become a grandparent for the first time, we will put in place the right kind of support for you and link you with other bereaved parents who understand your situation.

sad teenager



You may experience a wide range of emotions, from shock and numbness to anger and guilt. These are all normal feelings. It is nature’s way of protecting you until your mind and body is ready to cope.

Talk with family and friends. Be honest and let them know how you feel. If you are a couple, you may find that as parents of the baby/child, you will react and grieve differently. It is true to an extent that men and women grieve differently. Mothers often feel the need to keep talking about what happened and to analyse every detail over and over again. Fathers, on the other hand, can find talking about it very difficult and will prefer to “do” something. It isn’t uncommon for them to return to work after a short time or to become involved in fundraising almost immediately after the death.

It is important to understand that whichever way you deal with things – there is no right or wrong way, and if your spouse/partner doesn’t react the same way as you, it doesn’t mean that they are hurting any less. It’s just their way of dealing with things.

You will have many questions – ‘Why my baby?’, ‘What happened?’, ‘Why did this happen?’, ‘Why are so many people involved?’, ‘Why is it taking so long to give me answers?’ are only a few. We can help give you information to explain what is happening.

Support and Information

The Scottish Cot Death Trust is here to give you support and information. We cannot speed up the investigation but we can advocate on your behalf and arrange contact for you with key people involved.

It is also very common for newly bereaved parents to want to stay away from their home as it holds too many painful memories. Some parents make the decision to move house and sometimes live to regret the decision. Your home may be the place where you have many painful memories about the death of your child, but it is worth remembering that your home also holds all your happy memories of your child.

Take Your Time

It is often best to take your time and not rush into any decisions in the early days and weeks after the death of your child.

We offer a range of support services for parents. The support we offer is designed to fit round your needs and wishes. You might not know what could help, especially in the early days. That is ok, we will go at your pace and find what will best help you. What you need may be different from your partner or spouse – this is ok.

We are here for YOUR support needs. We can provide support for other family members  but what YOU need is important too. Sometimes parents want to make sure other children or their partner or spouse are being supported and put this ahead of their own needs.

What you might need from us will change over time too – that is fine, we understand. We are here to support you no matter when you need that support and no matter for how long. Grief has no limits. Sometimes people first seek support many years, even decades after their child died. You can access our support services at any time.


Woman comforting anxious husband

Please visit our Support Services page for more information, alternatively you can contact us and we will talk with you or send you information about what support is available for you.