Saturday, 14 May 2011

Getting Pregnant After A Miscarriage - Understanding Grief (& Men!!)

Every parent will experience the loss of their child differently - some may take a very understanding and philosophical position others will be profoundly devastated. It's not uncommon to feel numb or experience some denial.

If you had mixed feelings about the pregnancy may become overwhelmed with grief and feel at fault. Some women may even feel a measure of relief - sometimes followed by guilt for feeling this way.

Emptiness. Sadness. Blame. Guilt. Jealousy. Disbelief. Anger. Confusion
The list could go on and on but the point is, you need to give yourself time to work through them and understand that there is no right or wrong way to feel.

When it gets too much...

There is a line between grief and depression and I would like to take a moment to help you define it.

You will have "good" days and bad days after experiencing a miscarriage. You may suffer feelings of lethargy perhaps accompanied by insomnia. You may have trouble concentrating. You may lose your appetite.
  • This is not your fault - forgive yourself
You probably don't want to socialise very much especially with other parents or pregnant women.

Some mother's even feel physically ill and are overwhelmed with the ability to cope  with life. These are normal reactions to a terrible loss.

However they are also symptoms of depression. If you one day find yourself overwhelmed with these feelings or you experience them for a prolonged period then you will need to seek help.

This may be in the form of a support group, an online forum, your partner (after all,who would know better), your family and friends. Your Doctor will also be able to direct you though this dark chapter to resources who can provide you with some comfort.

In severe cases then, yes, anti-depressants and counselling will be required. The earlier depression is detected, the easier it is to treat.

Coping with insensitivity
It's the very last thing you want to hear at a time like this and yet one of the very first things that spew from mouths:

"Don't worry...there will be other chances,"

Feel free to grab these people by the shoulders and shake them violently as you shout...

"I don't want other chances...I want that one."

It's good for the soul =)
As difficult as it is to hear, much less understand, we know deep down that these comment are made with good intentions. You may not like to be so forceful, but by all means express your distaste for these's one of the few times you can say what you really mean and get away with it =)

Other people may not have good intentions. I can think of at least one example where a couple were out rightly blamed for the stillbirth of their child by a particularly heartless young women.

Let me remind you that these comments are not only untrue, they are usually always made in anger by morons. Even if there is something that you would do differently if you had your time over, there is no reason to heed these comments or blame yourself.

You did the best you could with the knowledge you
 had at the time...that's all any of us can do.
(Say that again out loud)

On behalf of Dad's everywhere...
It's not unusual for Dad's to suffer the wrath of a grieving mother. They are often accused of uncaring, of not understanding, perhaps even of getting what they wished for. True, a mother bonds with her unborn baby very early in pregnancy and Dad's often take a little bit longer to catch up. But this doesn't mean that he isn't heartbroken too.

You may be feeling like you have just lost not just your baby, but a limb - a part of you that was growing inside of you. Let's take a moment to see things from your partner's point of view.

You told him you were pregnant and whatever his reaction, the thought has grown on him...grown in him. He has dreams of having a son or a daughter and all that fatherhood entails. He's been to work or out with his friends and proudly told everyone the news.

Men are practical - while you have been planning a birth, he has been planning a child. He's been thinking about the sleepless nights and playing catch on the weekend. He's been thinking about where he can find the money to raise a child. He's been daydreaming about teaching his child how to ride a bike and playing at the park.

Then you tell him something is wrong. He's confused and wants answers - perhaps even demanding you or the Doctors tell him what is happening/what has happened. He looks to you and see's the grief pouring from every cell in your body and it hits him. All those dreams have been stolen.

In many cultures, "real" men aren't allowed to be emotional. So he grieves, but he grieves inwardly. As the weeks go by, you begin to show some improvement. You are finally showing signs of dealing with this loss.

He is not only grieving for his child, but he's watching the only person who understands, the person he loves most (yes you) grieving too. He reaches an unspoken understanding not to mention this loss at the risk of reminding you (as if you could forget), at the risk upsetting you and watching you cut yourself up inside all over again.

Men are practical. They are not heartless.

Go and talk to him.

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