The scenarios are all too familiar for too many parents. Maybe you go in for what should be a routine exam only to find out your child has no heartbeat. Maybe you start experiencing cramping and bleeding. Maybe you make it through delivery only for your child to never take a breath.
Miscarriage, stillbirth, and other types of pregnancy loss affect more people than most realize. Conservatively, approximately 25 percent of pregnancies will end in a loss, but realistically, that number is even higher as some losses occur before the woman even knows she is pregnant.
If you are one of the women, couples, or families out there who have experienced such a loss, I am here to tell you this: you are not alone.
The right support
While society as a whole has begun to speak more openly about pregnancy loss in recent years, there is still a gaping hole when it comes to support. Many people walk out of their doctor’s office or hospital without any information or a place to start. Nonprofit organizations like Through the Heart provide resources, understanding, and community.
Whether you knew about the pregnancy for nine minutes or nine months, the loss of a child is devastating and something that most likely will stay with you forever. As someone who has lost three babies, I know that the experience can be isolating and crippling; I also know that finding an outlet for grief and to process the loss is an important step.
Coping with a pregnancy loss
- Take as much personal time as you need following your loss; if possible, take time off of work, school, or other commitments. While people may expect you to recover quickly, the reality is that it can be a long process.
- Do not feel that you are to blame or that you could have done something differently – the loss was not your fault.
- Do not worry about being judged by others – pregnancy loss is not something to be ashamed about.
- Mourn, remember, and memorialize in whatever way feels right to you.
- It may be helpful to put your thoughts and emotions into writing, either privately in a journal or publicly on a blog.
Everyone grieves and heals differently, which is why Through the Heart offers multiple resources for you not only immediately following a pregnancy loss, but days, weeks, months and years later. There is no time limit on grief.
Commemorating your child
You can request a Comfort Kit for yourself or a loved one, friend, coworker, or neighbor who has experienced a loss of any kind. The kit comes with items to pamper and distract plus information and a handwritten note. It also includes follow up cards 3 months post-loss and on the 1-year anniversary to let you know you and your child are remembered and loved!
No matter the type of pregnancy loss you have experienced, no matter the length of gestation, the loss of a child is a life-changing event, and you deserve to be surrounded by people who understand your pain and can provide a safe, comforting environment. Please reach out at any time in your journey – we are always here for you.