I can think of very few things that are more painful than losing a loved one, especially if that someone is a baby. Many couples plan for and have hopes for their little bundle of joy, only to be deeply disappointed when it is not realized. Feeling grief is normal at this time. It is nothing to be ashamed of and should not be repressed. What are some ways to cope?
First of all, it’s important to understand how grief works. The Mayo Clinic has excellent information in this regard. We’ve all heard about the stages of grief, but until it happens to you, you may not truly see the relevancy. There’s denial, anger, guilt, depression and acceptance. Now, everybody doesn’t experience these feeling in that exact order. You may feel anger predominantly – at yourself, your spouse or God. You may have made it all the way to acceptance, and something may happen to trigger painful feelings that you thought you had in check. That’s normal. You’ve been through something very traumatic. Why set a timeline on when the pain will end?
What can be done?
Remember to move forward at your own pace. If your baby’s room is still set up and you can’t bring yourself to take it down, then don’t. Remember, go at your own pace. In fact, why not create memories of your baby? Name your baby. Hold a memorial service. Or do something in your baby’s honor – plant a tree or get jewelry made. Do you have ultrasound pictures? Then keep them.
Take it slow and take care of you. Expect bad days when it seems the world is after you. Take it moment by moment, get your rest, eat healthy and try to get out as much as you are able.
Don’t make major decisions when you are still emotionally wrought. Postpone it if at all possible.
Don’t exclude your spouse. Yes, men grieve – maybe in different ways – but they do. Focusing on your partner can help you not think about your pain so much. Talk openly and honestly.
Keep a journal. This may help you to process your thoughts and act as a release.
Seek help/join a support group. If your family is apprehensive about saying anything to you, tell them what you would like and need from them. Then they will know which direction to go and tensions are lowered. If additional support is needed, join a support group or talk to a well-trusted minister.
Either way, know that it is going to be a process. Don’t force yourself to do anything you don’t want to do or are not ready for. Know your limitations. Lastly, don’t give up on the future. A loss of one baby doesn’t necessarily mean there won’t be any hope for any in your future. Will having a new pregnancy make you think about your previous? Maybe or maybe not. You have it within you to love both for very different reasons. One thing is for sure though, you’ll never know unless you try and move forward.
Resource: Mayo Clinic
Dita Faulkner is a freelance writer and an advocate for the underprivileged.