Working Through Your Grief- 3 Ways to Cope with a Pregnancy or Infant Loss
Grief is challenging and something we never wish to face. Whether it’s watching someone you love grow old, or caring for a loved one through sickness, it’s an emotion that challenges us and leaves us wondering why? And perhaps the most difficult part of it all, is that everyone grieves differently. You may find you’re not even sure how to handle this powerful emotion. It’s possible you also feel as if it washes over your mind and body, leaving you feeling suffocated or lost.
Grief has a way of taking over, and making us feel alone. Emotions run wild and then it’s hard to take on the day. When you know you’ll never see someone again, especially a child you’ve longed for or carried through a pregnancy everything seems out of place.
But even though you feel alone- you’re not.
There are others out there just like you who are grieving and experiencing the same situations. Others who have been where you are, and know how you feel. Which is why you should never take on grief yourself. It’s important to seek support and guidance from loved ones and experts like therapists to guide you through these difficult times. It may seem impossible to move on, but you can. You’re strong and brave. Your memory will never fade but perhaps with the right guidance, the hurt will slowly start to melt down and you’ll begin to see the promise of a new day and a new beginning.
Support Groups and Counseling for Pregnancy and Infant Loss
Support groups are beneficial in a variety of ways. When connecting with others going through the same experience, you don’t feel as alone or lost. Any opportunity you get to talk with others is essential for healing. Pregnancy and infant support groups can help you navigate your emotions and give you the chance to open up about your feelings and emotional loss.
Bringing your emotions, thoughts and struggles to a support group or a therapist is a way to start healing. You’ll never be judged, blamed or told how to feel.
Grief presents itself in a variety of ways physically, emotionally and socially. Those experiencing grief symptoms such as-
Loss of appetite
Detachment from others
benefit from counseling. Counseling is an outlet. It’s a way to express yourself without the fear of judgment and helps you process your emotions. There’s no shame, no blame- just someone to talk to, someone who will listen. With a support group or counseling session, the primary goal is to gain support towards feeling more like yourself again. It takes time, effort and the willingness to heal. But you’ll never be asked to forget, only honor your memory so you can regain your strength.
Stop the Stigma
Grief is such a difficult emotion. Some find solace in keeping busy, while others need time to reflect and just “be.” That could be with a memorial, a service or a group. Sometimes we have no idea how to handle the feelings inside which is why reaching out is a brave and important step. But the problem is, along with grief when experiencing a loss is shame.
You feel ashamed that your pregnancy wasn’t successful or that your baby or infant didn’t survive. Whatever your situation or experience it’s time to stop that stigma. And in all honesty, that is the first step towards healing. But easier said than done right, and did you know that one in four women will have a pregnancy ending in miscarriage. It’s a hard statistic to swallow and one that never seems fair. But it’s there, and it’s important to talk about those losses and never feel to blame. You deserve to feel supported, loved and have the empathy of others.
Not talking about your loss can lead to self-isolation and feelings of abandonment. None that you deserve or ever have to face, especially when dealing with a loss. But how can you break the stigma and move on? Counseling can help you get there. By talking about your loss, listening to another perspective- one that can relate your feelings of shame will slowly lessen and become more manageable. You never have to cope alone.
Dealing with Your Loss
Dealing with a loss looks is never easy. It feels like climbing the side of a slippery mountain, moving one step forward and two steps back. Some find comfort in their doctor. Throughout your pregnancy journey, your doctor should have been one you confide in, ask questions without fear and someone you can trust. So it’s no surprise that some turn to their doctor for support. Another reason some reach out to their doctor is because of the questions running through your head.
“Will I ever get pregnant again?”“What did I do wrong?” (Remember you’re not to blame.)
“How can I move on?”
These questions are common and a doctor you value and trust, may help you find the answers to these questions. You can start by reevaluating your situation and walking through your options. A good doctor will never lie to you or give you false information. Instead they’ll give you the knowledge and tools to move forward in the right direction. Of course you don’t want your doctor to say “Oh it will be ok,” because what “ok” is looks different to everyone. That part is up to you.
You may also find comfort in your partner. However be prepared because they may not feel the same type of emotions you are. Remember grief is different for everyone. What’s important to do though is talk, lean on each other and find comfort in their love and embrace. This is also where couples counseling can help. Counseling sessions give you and your partner a chance to share how you’re both feeling. This way you can communicate your needs and wants for the next step together. Remember no matter how you or your partner feels during this time, your emotions are valid. It’s important to be heard.
Moving Forward after a LossYour life will go on. Even with heartache and pain you’ll slowly begin to heal. You may find that even the smallest things remind you of your loss. Perhaps the name of a child on the street, or your body feeling tender from your pregnancy or delivery. Regardless, time heals all wounds and you’ll be ok.
Being ok is different for everyone, and so is grief. But one thing is for sure, grief shouldn’t be ignored or shamed. It should be discussed, coped with in time and supported. There are others out there that have experienced the same, so reach out. Gain support and comfort so your path forward won’t feel so rocky.