You are not alone in pregnancy loss.
October is National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. This includes miscarriage, stillbirth, and infant loss. Despite the fact that 1 in 4 women experience this heartbreak, this is a little discussed topic out there in the general public. Maybe it’s because death makes people uncomfortable. Certainly, when pregnancies or infants are involved, it is uncomfortable and difficult to even imagine. In this discomfort, society isolates parents who are grieving.
Because of this, when there is a loss, it is often an experience between the mother, her partner, and her doctor. Maybe close friends are a source of support, but, like other types of grief, your coworkers, extended family, and folks you run into at the grocery store will be unaware of your pain.
Expectant mothers also delay sharing pregnancy news until the second trimester, knowing that up to 15 percent of all pregnancies are lost.
Because of this silence, isolation is added on top of grief.
Many questions that arise after loss, as well as many feelings. Often, there is is no answer for “Why?” and women may turn their anger and blame internally. Pregnancy loss happens for many reasons: Chromosomal issues, thyroid issues, immune disorders, diabetes, and others. Some women find out why. Others don’t. This may or may not offer solace to a grieving parent. For women with recurrent miscarriages; a sense of being broken and guilt. These feelings, while painful, are common and normal and should be talked about with friends and loved ones.
Even after passing that 20 week mark, the anxiety is difficult to overcome. Every cramp, every tiny dot of blood is scrutinized. This leads to high stress for the expectant mom.
If you or someone you know is going through pregnancy loss or has a history of loss, I encourage you to reach out.
How to cope:
- Remember, you are not alone. There’s a good chance there’s someone you know who has a similar experience. There are pregnancy loss support groups out there to surround you with love. There are counselors to help you with your grief.
- You don’t have to forget. Regardless of how early your loss was or if you went on to have a successful pregnancy, you don’t have to forget about that potential life. That pregnancy was part of you- that shouldn’t be minimized. Doing something to remember your child can be very powerful- a tattoo, getting a necklace, ritual. Whatever creates meaning for you.
- Above all, take care of yourself. Especially during the miscarriage process, follow your doctor’s advice. Drink fluids. Rest. Be gentle with yourself.
- Finally, if you are in a relationship, talk to your partner. Grief looks differently for everyone.
If you are struggling with depression or anxiety related to pregnancy loss, please give Ancora a call.
Local to Portland: http://briefencounters.org/bewp/about/
National Directory: http://www.pregnancylossdirectory.com/support-groups/