During the month of October, we honor the women and families who have experienced miscarriages, stillbirths, and infant loss. Something we wish no one knew the pain of.
More women experience pregnancy and infant loss than most people realize, 1 in 4 statistically. But these aren’t just numbers, they are babies who have taken a piece of their mother’s heart with them. And though it is common, most women feel alone in their grief as there is still a social stigma surrounding pregnancy and infant loss that varies depending on culture, age, and lifestyle.
Where to Find Support
If you have experienced pregnancy or infant loss, it’s important to get support as you grieve and process your emotions. The first place most people look for support is through their friends and family. You are not burdening them with your grief, you are honoring them by sharing your and your baby’s story.
More than likely, your friends and family are grieving with you, especially your spouse. Talk through your emotions with them and allow yourself to be vulnerable. It’s hard, it’s incredibly hard, but it’s vital that you feel everything that you are feeling. Remember that grief is not linear and comes in waves. Some days will be harder than others and that’s okay.
Consider joining a support group, online or in person. Support groups will have women who have experienced a similar pain and it may be helpful to relate with someone who understands your grief on a personal level.
Speaking with a therapist who specializes in pregnancy and infant loss can help you navigate those difficult emotions that you might be holding back from your friends and family. Many women do not seek support from friends and family because they may feel shame or blame themselves, like they could have done something more. In most cases, this is simply untrue and only stands to cause more pain, shame, and guilt in the mother.
Ask for time off from work to allow yourself to grieve.
Allow your world to fall apart. You can pick up the pieces later along with the help of your support team.
How to Provide Support
Providing support to someone who has just experienced pregnancy or infant loss can be simple. Allow the mother to be vulnerable and cry with you. Let them tell you about their baby and their hopes and dreams for them. Remember that every loss is devastating and only offer advice if the mother is asking for it. Try to refrain from saying phrases like:
“At least you weren’t too far along.”
“Now you get to try again.”
“Everything happens for a reason.”
While you may be trying to provide comforting words, it may come off as minimizing her pain. When in doubt, just say “I’m sorry and I’m here for you.” Let the parents lead the conversation, but don’t be afraid to ask questions like “What would you like to tell me about your baby?”, “What would you like me to call your baby?”, and “How did you come up with that name?”
If providing emotional support is not one of your strengths, you can still show your love by bringing the family meals and cleaning up for them. This gives the family more time to grieve without having to worry about keeping their house running.
Continue checking in on the family as they process their grief and offer your support.
For more information on pregnancy and infant loss, contact us today.
Dakota Collins is a freelance writer and stay-at-home mother of two precious little girls who is passionate about freedom in pregnancy and childbirth.
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