Misscarriage… the end?

August 5, 2021 | Grief, Stages of Life, Motherhood | by Dr. Richey

Gestational grief is that which occurs after the loss of a pregnancy (at any time during it) or at the time of delivery.
It is painful and the only way for someone to understand you is that they have lived the same thing.

The duel denied.

Like all grief, it comprises a series of stages: shock, denial, negotiation, sadness, anger, and acceptance.

Not all people live it the same, some stages may even overlap with others or change their order, but the normal thing is that they go from one to another until they reach acceptance and learn to live with it. Some people may need more time than others, but when stagnation occurs at a certain stage, it is true that psychological help may be needed.

It is a natural process, which takes time and space to be made in a healthy way. If we force or alter this natural process, we will only add even more suffering. There is a general lack of knowledge on this subject. Socially, gestational bereavement is an unrecognized bereavement, which one tries to avoid, repress, downplay, silence… In short: it is a denied bereavement.

Although abortion has been a voluntary interruption of pregnancy, this is also a denied mourning, by mothers, fathers, society … I do not want to enter this post in the debate on abortion, since that is not the subject of the article Above all, my intention is to offer ideas to help people who live in this situation of grief.

I think it’s not about judging anyone, but about making you see (whatever your belief, respectable of course) that these people also need to be accompanied, listened to, understood and helped …

Because being a mother or father is not measured in centimeters or in the number of cells. Whoever loses a pregnancy does not feel that they have lost a group of cells, but that they have lost all the joy and enthusiasm projected towards who was to be their son or daughter. However, when a gestational loss occurs, there is silence, doing “as if nothing had happened” …

Denial of grief: source of suffering.

Affected people constantly have to put up with comments from people who (even if they initially have good intentions) do them even more harm. I refer, for example, to the “nothing happens, it is better now and not later”, “soon it will pass”, “you are young and will have more”, “if it was only a group of cells” …

Always trivializing. No one would think of making such comments to a mother whose son has died at age 20, for example. However, in these losses, these phrases are a constant.

Therefore, to the normal pain for the loss, more suffering is added by denying them their grief: they may feel misunderstood, they may also feel guilty because they notice that they are not able to be emotionally well (they come to believe that what has happened to them is something banal, everything the world expresses it that way, and therefore they do not understand why they are so bad) … Trying to adopt a behavior “as if nothing had happened” is what we tend to think is the ideal way to overcome it, but it turns out that this is not the case . It is quite the opposite.

What they need: how we can help.

Precisely what these people need is something as logical as being able to verbalize what they feel: to give voice, time and space to their loss, to that baby whom, although they have not gotten to know, they already wanted and loved him.

Who was his future son, daughter, has left without ever living outside the womb, with all the options of being in the pipeline, but at the same time, he was already a unique and unrepeatable being, therefore we can never comfort them with phrases such as ” you are young, you will already have another child “, precisely that” other child “is that:” another “(who, although he is just as loved and desired, cannot replace the one they have lost).

This is how we can help people suffering from pregnancy loss:

Validating their feelings: make them see that everything they feel is valid, their pain, their pain, are valid. We must not downplay them, or “encourage” them to avoid those emotions, because in this way we will be denying and not respecting their pain. In any type of duel this is a natural phase and you have to understand it and live it as such.

Never use expressions that, although they may seem loaded with good intentions, if we stop to think about it, contain a lot of cruelty: “better that has happened to you now than later”, “courage, this will pass and you will have another child” , “Better this way, luckily you haven’t met him, that would be worse”, “it was nothing, just some cells” …

Listen: be all ears when they tell you what they feel, what they suffer …, do not interrupt and much less do it with phrases of supposed “encouragement” that all they achieve is to minimize the importance of what has happened to them.

Be understanding and have empathy: think for a moment, put yourself in their place for a moment, you will understand everything much better.

Show your closeness and sincere support, if you feel so, always respecting their emotions, they need it.

Do not try to banalize, or deny, much less criticize their rituals. Giving a name to the unborn child, or keeping something that reminds them of what their baby was to be, are rituals that apparently increase the pain more, but it is actually a healthy act. These types of rituals have been shown to be positive for mourning, as they help make the loss real and not burden it with unreality or denial. In more advanced losses, there are even people who, with all their good intentions, before returning from the hospital, save everything that was going to be for the baby (crib, clothes, etc.), however, this is totally counterproductive .

“Some say that the work of mourning consists of converting an external absence into an internal presence. It is about learning to live again.

Thank you very much for reading the full article, you can certainly share it to help and raise awareness to help, learn and respect the rights of pregnant women.