Create A Memorial For Your Baby
Another healthy coping mechanism for a grieving parent is to create a memorial for the baby. This can be in any ritual, whether in the form of a photo slide, a journal, or a decorated nursery. If the parent belongs to a religious community, prayer gatherings and masses offered for the babys soul would also be a great idea.
So, dont be afraid to create memorials. Doing so can be a healthy, and healing practice to be able to manage your grief. It could also help you and your partner process the impact of the tragic loss, and maintain a connection with your unborn baby in a positive way.
Miscarriage Loss And Grief
The death of a baby is a painful experience for a family.
If your baby died during pregnancy or in the first days of life, you and your family may need help to understand what happened. You may need support to find ways to deal with your grief and ease your pain.
Miscarriage, stillbirth and other conditions can cause a pregnancy to end before or during birth. Infant death can be caused by preterm birth, birth defects and other health conditions. If youve had any of these experiences, you may be overwhelmed by your feelings of grief.
Learn some of the ways you can honor your loss and begin the healing process.
Understand Anxiety And Ptsd Can Occur After A Loss
We know that most women experience some degree of psychological distress after a miscarriage, or a stillbirth and we have discussed the emotions that can arise during the grieving stages, but for some people the symptoms of anxiety and/or depression are more long lasting and can severely interfere with a persons ability to function.
My blog post Types of Anxiety Disorders goes into more detail about all the different types of anxiety disorders, but the ones more commonly seen after pregnancy loss are generalized anxiety disorder , acute stress disorder , and post-traumatic stress disorder .
Typical anxiety and depression symptoms following a pregnancy loss can include:
- Depressed or irritable mood for most of the day
- Anger outbursts or irritability
- Withdrawal from family and friends and other social interactions
- Difficulty falling and staying asleep
- Feelings of shame, guilt and inadequacy
- Difficulty concentrating and making decisions
- Coping with stress through unhealthy behaviors such as excessive drinking or eating
- Ruminating over what has happened
- Spending an excessive time online researching miscarriage and other health concerns
Generalized Anxiety Disorder after a pregnancy loss is typically linked to fears that there is an underlying medical or genetic condition that may have caused the loss and worry that a future pregnancy will also end in loss.
The symptoms of PTSD are similar to ASD, but they last longer than four weeks.
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Tips For Coping After A Miscarriage
I expect you are reading this article because you, or a person close to you, has experienced a miscarriage or still birth. When you lose a baby, at whatever stage of development it was at, it can be totally devastating and it is normal to feel a mix of overwhelming emotions such as shock, numbness, grief, sadness, guilt, anger, as well as a sense of failure and vulnerability.
You began your journey as a mother as soon as you got a positive result on the pregnancy test. Perhaps you imagined what the baby was going to be like and of course, what is was going to be like to be their mother. These dreams are crushed with the loss, but just as every woman navigates their pregnancy in a unique way, processing grief and loss is a unique journey as well.
Find A Way To Release The Anxiety
When you are in the midst of a pregnancy after a loss, it can be hard to settle the anxiety that always creeps in. The anxiety continues to build up and increases your stress levels even more. I often found I was on edge. Finding a way to help release the anxiety was crucial to me during my pregnancy.
There are many ways you can do this, so find something that works for you. Examples include writing, painting, exercising, or anything else that helps you relieve stress.
For me personally, I found that writing out my feelings in a pregnancy journal helped. There are lots of pregnancy planners and journals out there that can help you manage your anxiety by being on top of everything that needs to be done while expecting, and that will help you record all of your feeling and emotions.
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How To Cope With Pregnancy Loss
For many, there’s so much hope, expectation, and planning that goes into a pregnancy. When you have a miscarriage or a stillbirth, it can feel devastating and isolating. But know that you are far from alone: In the United States, between 10 and 15 out of every 100 pregnancies ends in miscarriage, while 1 in 160 pregnancies end in stillbirth.
It’s normal to feel shock, grief, depression, guilt, anger, and a sense of failure and vulnerability after losing a baby. The days, weeks, months, and even years following a pregnancy loss can be incredibly difficult and painful even more so if this wasn’t your first miscarriage, or if you carefully planned this pregnancy and thought you’d done everything “right.”
If you told people you were pregnant, you might worry about announcing the news of your loss. You may find even the sincerest expressions of sympathy difficult to take.
Here are a few things to remember as you’re coping with pregnancy loss:
Going Back To Work After A Pregnancy Loss
Roughly a quarter of women experiences pregnancy loss. But despite the frequency of these losses and their impact on those who experience them, they are rarely talked about and that burden of silence is especially heavy as the parents return to work. There, in addition to the upheaval that grief creates within them, they must confront colleagues who know nothing of their suffering, or who know just enough to make interactions painful. Certain self-care strategies can help make the transition back to work less traumatic, and managers and colleagues can help.
Nothing is more full of life, potential, and possibility than the experience of expecting a child, of carrying new life and waiting to bring it into the world. Birth is all beginning, the furthest we will ever be, in life, from death.
Except when it isnt.
In this article we attempt to give voice to the experience of those returning to work after a pregnancy loss, highlight ways to make it if not less difficult, then at least no harder than it needs to be, and offer some suggestions of how managers and coworkers can help.
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It’s Ok To Feel The Way You Are Feeling
Everyone experiences different anxieties and has their own way of coping. You might feel guilty about not enjoying being pregnant, or the opposite – guilty for enjoying it. Dont feel like you have to justify your feelings to anyone.
‘Dont put too much pressure on yourself to feel good. If you feel rubbish then just accept that you feel rubbish. Sometimes I found that just accepting the feeling was enough to make it go away. In this pregnancy Ive had a scan every fortnight to check up on the little one. Im starting to feel movement, which is exciting, but Im wary. I feel a bit detached. When you know what can happen, thats always in the back of your mind, but things do feel different this time.’
Understand The Grieving Process
According to Mayo Clinic, after experiencing loss during pregnancy or postpartum, parents can go through these different stages of grieving:
- Denial feeling like the loss is impossible
- Guilt feeling like the loss is your fault
- Anger being angry at yourself or at your spouse, and feeling like the situation is so unfair
- Depression developing symptoms of depression
- Envy feeling jealous of expectant parents
- Yearning desiring to be with your unborn baby
Family and friends of the grieving family can also experience similar negative emotions such as anxiety and bitterness. In order to process grief, it’s important to be familiar with how it occurs in our psyche.
Don’t forget that grieving will take time. It is not an overnight task, and we must accept that it is impossible to get over it quickly. You may also experience setbacks and feel angry and guilty even if youve thought you have already learned how to manage your emotions in a particular area.
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How Risky Is It To Transfer More Than One Embryo With Pgt
Youve poked out a very sensitive topic for me. Before going ahead with reproductive medicine, I was working in Fetal medicine for a very long time. I was taking care of women with high-risk pregnancies or issues in the pregnancy, and when you transfer a PGT-A tested embryo, more than one in a cycle, youre having 3 issues.
The first of them is youre probably producing a twin pregnancy whats also a risk and a problem. Twin pregnancies are more likely to miscarry, those pregnancies are more likely to produce other diseases like preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, early delivery and other problems. Therefore, we shouldnt transfer more than one genetically tested embryo.
The second factor is that if its complicated for your endometrium lining to accept and tolerate one genetic embryo thats not proper, try to do it twice. Therefore, applying two can produce the rejection of those two embryos.
The third factor is wasting embryos. Why? The increase of the success rate with transferring two PGT-A tested embryos instead of one its just 5%. In my clinic, if youre transferring one PGT-A embryo after the other, then increase the chance of getting pregnant above 20%. Therefore, youre missing a 15% chance of getting pregnant when youre transferring two embryos at once. So I always say, dont ever transfer a PGT-A tested embryo with more than one embryo.
Allow Yourself To Experience The Pain Of Your Loss
People experience grief both physically and emotionally. Each persons grief experience is different. There is no right or wrong way to feel. Even within cultural groups, the experience of grief is different from person to person. Crying might help. Your feelings are real and they will not go away if you try to shut them out. You may feel some relief if you pay attention to your feelings and allow yourself time and space to express them. Healing can begin when you acknowledge your broken heart.
If you have any specific religious, cultural or spiritual rituals, let your health care providers know.
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Dont Be Afraid To Ask For What You Need
If you are not getting the monitoring you need, do not be afraid to ask the doctors for more. You may have to be a bit persistent sometimes. They may not always be able to give us exactly what we need, like an ultrasound at every appointment, but they may be able to do more than they are currently doing. Even one extra ultrasound or one extra appointment can really help.
Due to my history of having a stillborn daughter, I spoke with my OB about my stress regarding the pregnancy. She was wonderful and referred me to an MFM for extra monitoring.
I had appointments each month with both doctors. The extra monitoring was extremely helpful for my anxiety. There was an ultrasound at each MFM appointment. All the chromosome issues our first daughter had were ruled out.
Despite this, I still worried something would go wrong. The MFM agreed to keep seeing me until I was a month away from delivery.
How I Coped With Anxiety In Pregnancy After Loss
Jennifer, who suffered a stillbirth, gives us tips on coping with anxiety in a pregnancy after a stillbirth
‘As the months progressed I got more and more nervous. Am I going to get a baby in my arms this time thats going to be alive?‘
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Think About Seeing A Therapist
When I was pregnant with our second daughter, I found a therapist who specialized in grief. We went weekly and he helped me immensely. He provided a listening ear as an unrelated party. My therapist also taught me some tools to use to help control my anxiety. I found him to be an invaluable resource.
Finding a therapist who specializes in grief really made the difference for us. It is not something every therapist wants to deal with, since it is such a heavy subject.
If you are not comfortable seeing a therapist, you can seek out a support group for loss parents. There are many groups available based on your location. Many are also available online. This allows you to connect with other parents who have gone through the same thing.
Pregnancy After Loss Support has various online support groups that you can reach out to.
More Information And Support
Anxiety UK is an organisation run by with anxiety disorders, offering information, support and therapies for people experiencing anxiety.
British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy provides information for those who are considering some form of counselling. Call them on 01455 883316.
MIND is a mental health charity providing information, support, local groups and an online chatroom. They have specific information about postnatal depression and perinatal mental health, including postnatal PTSD and birth trauma.
No Panic provides online and telephone support for people suffering from panic attacks, phobias, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, and anxiety disorders.
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Make Space For All Your Emotions They Will Pass
No emotion lasts forever. However intense the feeling is at the time, it will go away again.
Try to make space for all of your emotions. It is entirely valid to feel like you are doing great one day, whilst the next you may feel consumed with worry or sadness.
It’s okay to have good days and bad days. When you allow space for your emotions without suppressing them, they have room to pass and move on.
How To Cope After A Miscarriage
There is no right or wrong way to grieve a miscarriage, and there is no set timeline to follow. Some women may feel better after a few days or weeks, while others may experience miscarriage grief for several months or longer.
The following are ways you can begin your coping journey after youve experienced a miscarriage.
- Understand and recognize your feelings are normal A miscarriage can be a very heavy and difficult experience. Its important to remember your feelings are completely normal, even if you were pregnant only for a short time.
- Allow yourself to grieve your loss Suppressing your feelings instead of working through them will only prolong the grieving process. Giving yourself the time you need to grieve your loss can help you cope.
- Memorialize your loss Some people find comfort in memorializing their loss. Depending on how far along you were in your pregnancy, a burial may be possible. Lighting a candle, creating a scrapbook, planting a tree, or hosting a small gathering with loved ones are all ways to memorialize your loss.
- Simply talking about your experience with a supportive person can significantly help relieve some of the emotional pain you may be experiencing.
- If you are in a relationship, find ways of coping together Break the silence. Share your feelings and verbally express how your partner can support you during this difficult time. In return, ask your partner how you can support them.
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Feelings You Might Have
When you lose a baby, you will experience a wide range of different emotions. You might feel numb at first, or find it hard to believe its true. You might go through anger, sadness, confusion and depression. You might also have physical symptoms like trouble sleeping or wanting to sleep all the time, difficulty concentrating, loss of appetite, and crying a lot.
Many women say they feel guilty when they lose a baby, or they feel jealous and bitter. All of these emotions are completely normal. It can help to acknowledge all of your emotions but also to remember that these feelings wont last for ever.
Whats important is to give yourself time to grieve so you can heal both physically and emotionally.
Experiences Of Grief After Miscarriage: Partners
You and your partner might experience or express grief differently.
For example, some people might find it hard to say how they feel but might exercise or work more as a way of letting out their grief. Some people might not like talking about the miscarriage with others. And sometimes the partners of women whove had miscarriages might feel that their feelings arent important.
Its normal to have different feelings, and the feelings of both partners are important.
If you and your partner can after the miscarriage, it can help you both through this difficult time.
Both you and your partner need time and support after a miscarriage. Try to make time to do things you both enjoy or find relaxing or rewarding. This is good for your relationship and good for you as individuals.
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