Baby loss. Still a subject that people often avoid talking about, often because they don’t know what to say, don’t want to upset you or it’s seen as just too sensitive a topic to talk about. But NOT talking about it and having your loss ignored can be even more hurtful.
An early miscarriage, late miscarriage, termination of pregnancy for whatever reason, a stillbirth, a neonatal death – they are all losses, are all devastating, and will all be grieved for and remembered.
Whether the loss of your pregnancy happened in the first trimester or the last, whether it was your decision (and an incredibly difficult and painful one) or something that you had no control over; it still means the loss of the future you had already planned for and imagined. And that should never be underestimated or swept under the carpet. You were a parent, even for a heartbreakingly short period of time to a little one who maybe had yet to see the world.
The minute you see that line on a positive pregnancy test your mind begins to imagine your baby, your child and your future as a family. Yes, there may be anxieties too, especially during the first trimester or if you have already suffered a loss, but your heart still hopes. Your imagination may have already leapt to when you’ll start maternity leave; your baby’s birth; when you’ll bring them home; how you’ll settle in as a new family; their first Christmas; their first day at school, you can’t help that happening. Because you already love them and are totally emotionally invested in their future. Visualising that image, that future. And you might try and squash that seed of anxiety and focus on the fact that you are pregnant and there is a baby. And then you are told that there isn’t. Or there isn’t a growing bump or a baby that you will ever get to bring home.
What Do You Do Now?
Always know that there isn’t a right or wrong thing to do. This was YOUR pregnancy, YOUR baby and YOUR loss. Just know that you don’t have to handle it alone. It’s okay to let your friends and family know that you want to talk about it and you don’t want your loss to go unacknowledged. It may be physically or emotionally distressing and that’s something you may need to seek support with. It’s okay to remember your baby in whatever way feels right for you, publicly or privately. It’s okay to reach out for help. It’s also okay to not do anything but carry on, or not to grieve immediately. There is no set timeline. But be kind to yourself.
And as for those around you not talking about for fear of causing upset? The truth is that you are already more upset and are hurting more than than many know, so for those around you to acknowledge your loss and ask you rather than just ignore it so they won’t be able to upset you any more than you already are, can be almost healing. You are seen and heard, you can be supported without judgement and in ways that you want to be supported. It’s okay to tell people what you want and how they can help.
And what you don’t want to hear; “it obviously wasn’t meant to be”, “at least it happened early on”, “you can get pregnant again”, being some of the worst ‘what you should never say’ culprits.
I’ve worked with many couples in different ways and for different reasons following a pregnancy loss and what’s always true is this: you will handle it in the best way for you. And find people who will support you. Pregnancy loss is not a taboo subject, we just need to let people know that.
These are some of the support groups and further resources that may be of help:
If you need help and support along your journey and aren’t sure where to start, you can always call me on 01242 227752 or drop me an email.