Coping with Baby Loss

In this blog post we’ll be talking about coping with baby loss. I’m aware this content may be triggering for some readers, so if it’s not for you - feel free to skip onto another one.

It’s so hard for anyone to suffer the loss of a pregnancy and people around you may not appreciate quite how distressing it is, or how long the trauma can last. They may be supportive for a short time and then assume that you kind of just get over it. As a result it's common for the grieving parent to feel abandoned, or that others don’t care and that they have no one to talk to about it, all of which is very isolating.

If this has happened to you, then I’m so, so sorry. I’m here to share some reflections on navigating this time. But first, if you’re struggling, know that you aren’t alone. I’ve linked some useful support resources to this video for you to explore in your own time.

How does a miscarriage affect you?

I’m going to speak about miscarriage for a moment. Miscarriage is the most common form of pregnancy loss and the least emotionally understood. The word miscarriage doesn’t quite succeed in articulating what has happened. What feels like a rather passive word actually refers to the loss of the baby you were expecting and celebrating. To say it like that immediately explains why you may be feeling so devastated. It helps if you realise that you are experiencing real grief and you can't be expected to get over it that quickly. In other words, give yourself permission for all the feelings that are triggered rather than feeling under pressure to let go and move on.

By accepting your feelings you may find it easier to explain to others why it's so hard, and hopefully this will help them be more supportive.

What about later miscarriages?

The later in the pregnancy that this happens, the more emotionally and physically distressing it can be. For some women and couples it is very traumatic and can take a long time to deal with. No one else can really know what it is like unless it has happened to them and even then they cannot know what it is like for you, but it does help if friends and family can empathise.

You may need to explain to those closest to you how they can best support you so that they don’t get it wrong whilst trying to help.

Did you have problems getting pregnant?

If you have a miscarriage after months or sometimes years of infertility treatment, it is likely to be even more devastating and you can experience an even greater sense of bereavement, as well as the fear that you may not get pregnant again.

5 ways to help you cope

  1. Seeing a counsellor can be a really helpful way of working through the grief after miscarriage and preparing emotionally to try to get pregnant again, if that is what you want to do. Understandably, you are likely to feel extremely anxious, especially around the time that you lost the previous pregnancy and a counsellor can support you through this, as well as work out strategies with you to make it more manageable.
  2. Writing about your experience in a private journal or diary can help you to put your feelings into words and understand them better.
  3. Don’t expect yourself to be able to socialise with other pregnant women or couples for some time and when you do, plan it in small steps, checking in with yourself about how it has affected you.
  4. And of course, be very kind to yourself so that you can rebuild your resilience and physical wellbeing slowly but surely.
  5. Take your time to heal rather than trying to live up to other peoples’ expectations of when you should be feeling more yourself again.

You can't expect to forget that you lost the baby you might have had, but with support and time, many women and couples find that they can assimilate it into their life story, a sadness that comes and goes but doesn’t affect the full enjoyment of their lives.

Here are some useful links:

Miscarriage Association. A really helpful charity that offers lots of factual information, a range of leaflets and advice.

Petals Charity. A charity that specialises in providing counselling after pregnancy loss.

The Ectopic Pregnancy Trust. Provides information and support to those affected by ectopic pregnancy. This includes information resources, a helpline and a forum.

Molar Pregnancy Support. Provides information and support to women who are currently, or have previously suffered from, a molar pregnancy.

Child Bereavement UK. Supports families when a baby or child of any age dies or is dying, and when a child is facing bereavement. They have a helpline, face-to-face groups and information resources for families across the UK.

Cruse Bereavement Care. Helps people understand their grief and cope with their loss. They have a helpline a network of local branches where you can find support.

Saying Goodbye. Provides information, advice and support to anyone who has lost a baby at any stage of pregnancy, at birth or in infancy. They also organise the Saying Goodbye Services, which are held for people who have suffered the loss of a baby, as well as for their children, family and friends.

Sands. Supports anyone who has been affected by the death of a baby before, during or shortly after birth. This includes a free national helpline and a bereavement support app for parents, families and carers; a UK-wide network of support groups with trained befrienders; an online forum enabling bereaved families to connect with each other and a wide range of bereavement support resources available online and in print.

BICA - the professional body for counsellors who specialise in fertility issues and has a listing of accredited counsellors.

Relate. Offers counselling services for every type of relationship. You can have face-to-face, telephone and online counselling, either alone or as a couple.

The British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy. The website includes a directory of qualified therapists who work to professional standards in your local area.

 

woman_being_comforted_by_a_friend

Coping with Baby Loss

woman_being_comforted_by_a_friend

In this blog post we’ll be talking about coping with baby loss. I’m aware this content may be triggering for some readers, so if it’s not for you - feel free to skip onto another one.

It’s so hard for anyone to suffer the loss of a pregnancy and people around you may not appreciate quite how distressing it is, or how long the trauma can last. They may be supportive for a short time and then assume that you kind of just get over it. As a result it's common for the grieving parent to feel abandoned, or that others don’t care and that they have no one to talk to about it, all of which is very isolating.

If this has happened to you, then I’m so, so sorry. I’m here to share some reflections on navigating this time. But first, if you’re struggling, know that you aren’t alone. I’ve linked some useful support resources to this video for you to explore in your own time.

How does a miscarriage affect you?

I’m going to speak about miscarriage for a moment. Miscarriage is the most common form of pregnancy loss and the least emotionally understood. The word miscarriage doesn’t quite succeed in articulating what has happened. What feels like a rather passive word actually refers to the loss of the baby you were expecting and celebrating. To say it like that immediately explains why you may be feeling so devastated. It helps if you realise that you are experiencing real grief and you can't be expected to get over it that quickly. In other words, give yourself permission for all the feelings that are triggered rather than feeling under pressure to let go and move on.

By accepting your feelings you may find it easier to explain to others why it's so hard, and hopefully this will help them be more supportive.

What about later miscarriages?

The later in the pregnancy that this happens, the more emotionally and physically distressing it can be. For some women and couples it is very traumatic and can take a long time to deal with. No one else can really know what it is like unless it has happened to them and even then they cannot know what it is like for you, but it does help if friends and family can empathise.

You may need to explain to those closest to you how they can best support you so that they don’t get it wrong whilst trying to help.

Did you have problems getting pregnant?

If you have a miscarriage after months or sometimes years of infertility treatment, it is likely to be even more devastating and you can experience an even greater sense of bereavement, as well as the fear that you may not get pregnant again.

5 ways to help you cope

  1. Seeing a counsellor can be a really helpful way of working through the grief after miscarriage and preparing emotionally to try to get pregnant again, if that is what you want to do. Understandably, you are likely to feel extremely anxious, especially around the time that you lost the previous pregnancy and a counsellor can support you through this, as well as work out strategies with you to make it more manageable.
  2. Writing about your experience in a private journal or diary can help you to put your feelings into words and understand them better.
  3. Don’t expect yourself to be able to socialise with other pregnant women or couples for some time and when you do, plan it in small steps, checking in with yourself about how it has affected you.
  4. And of course, be very kind to yourself so that you can rebuild your resilience and physical wellbeing slowly but surely.
  5. Take your time to heal rather than trying to live up to other peoples’ expectations of when you should be feeling more yourself again.

You can't expect to forget that you lost the baby you might have had, but with support and time, many women and couples find that they can assimilate it into their life story, a sadness that comes and goes but doesn’t affect the full enjoyment of their lives.

Here are some useful links:

Miscarriage Association. A really helpful charity that offers lots of factual information, a range of leaflets and advice.

Petals Charity. A charity that specialises in providing counselling after pregnancy loss.

The Ectopic Pregnancy Trust. Provides information and support to those affected by ectopic pregnancy. This includes information resources, a helpline and a forum.

Molar Pregnancy Support. Provides information and support to women who are currently, or have previously suffered from, a molar pregnancy.

Child Bereavement UK. Supports families when a baby or child of any age dies or is dying, and when a child is facing bereavement. They have a helpline, face-to-face groups and information resources for families across the UK.

Cruse Bereavement Care. Helps people understand their grief and cope with their loss. They have a helpline a network of local branches where you can find support.

Saying Goodbye. Provides information, advice and support to anyone who has lost a baby at any stage of pregnancy, at birth or in infancy. They also organise the Saying Goodbye Services, which are held for people who have suffered the loss of a baby, as well as for their children, family and friends.

Sands. Supports anyone who has been affected by the death of a baby before, during or shortly after birth. This includes a free national helpline and a bereavement support app for parents, families and carers; a UK-wide network of support groups with trained befrienders; an online forum enabling bereaved families to connect with each other and a wide range of bereavement support resources available online and in print.

BICA - the professional body for counsellors who specialise in fertility issues and has a listing of accredited counsellors.

Relate. Offers counselling services for every type of relationship. You can have face-to-face, telephone and online counselling, either alone or as a couple.

The British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy. The website includes a directory of qualified therapists who work to professional standards in your local area.