Grieving the Loss of Your Unborn Child: How To Cope
No matter how far along you are in your pregnancy, the loss of a child is devastating. Losing an unborn child is traumatic for both parents and you might feel like you’re at a complete loss when it comes to what you should do next.
Everyone deals with loss and grief differently. There are no hard and fast rules for what to expect or the emotions you might have to deal with.
With that in mind, however, it’s important to find healthy ways to cope after the loss of an unborn child. You can do so on your timeline, but eventually finding some peace and being able to move forward should be your ultimate goal.
Let’s look at a few ways you can navigate the waters of grief after experiencing a miscarriage.
Give Yourself Time
Again, there are no “right” feelings to have after losing a baby. What’s important is that you give yourself time and space to actually feel your feelings and process your emotions. Don’t worry about anyone’s timeline but your own. It’s normal to go through the STAGES OF GRIEF as you process what happened.
Maybe you’ve already been through a few of them but you’re stuck somewhere, feeling angry about your loss or struggling with a deep depression that no one seems to understand.
Continuing to move forward through these stages is the best way to heal, but you don’t need to rush yourself. Emotions will always demand to be felt, so don’t try to push them down or ignore them. Accept them for what they are so you can work through them.
Connect With a Reproductive Psychiatrist
It’s important to understand that you’re not alone after you’ve experienced a pregnancy loss. Leaning on the help of support groups, your partner, family members, and even health professionals can make a big difference in how you feel.
One type of professional that can help you deal with your grief is a reproductive psychiatrist. They are specialized mental health providers that assist people going through hormonal changes – including people who have just experienced a miscarriage. They can help you prioritize your mental health and may suggest things like medication or therapy to help you cope with your loss.
Of course, you can also reach out to another mental health professional or even a loved one. No matter who you decide to reach out to, make a point to connect with people who want to lift you up and support you.
If you’re worried about what your family or friends might think or say, consider talking to other people who have experienced miscarriages or stillbirths. Connecting with someone who is going through (or has gone through) a similar experience can help you realize there’s hope on the other side of it. If you can’t find support in your social circle or your community, a quick search online will help you find groups with other parents who are grieving and want to connect with others.
Find Fulfilling Hobbies
While you shouldn’t completely ignore your feelings, giving yourself temporary distractions to find temporary relief isn’t necessarily a bad thing. As long as you find healthy, positive ways to “take a break” from your emotions, you can find time to breathe and perhaps even clear your mind to work through your grief more effectively.
One of the healthiest ways to give yourself a temporary distraction is by finding hobbies that fulfill you, give you something to look forward to, and help you set goals.
Studies have shown that having hobbies can benefit your mental health in many ways, including:
- Reduced stress
- Better mood
- Reduced risk of depression
- Increased happiness
It’s important to find a hobby that you consider purposeful. You’ll be more likely to stick with it and find a sense of meaning, even when your world feels upside down. Try something like gardening to use as a hobby and a healthy coping mechanism. Not only will this result in a beautiful yard, but it will give you something to nurture and care for. As your flowers bloom you’ll be reminded that you can grow beautiful things.
You could also try cooking or baking, both of which are enjoyable activities that will end with something delicious to eat. Other hobbies like exercising, music, and journaling can also help to boost your mental well-being and help you cope with grief.
In the end, you have to choose to work through your grief without letting it consume you. No two grief processes are the same, and no one may know exactly what you’re feeling or going through. However, isolating yourself and assuming no one (and nothing) can help is one of the worst ways to cope. You can still find a light at the end of the tunnel, and your journey isn’t over.
Editor’s Note: The Birth Injury Center is an excellent resource for information on this topic. Here is a link to their website:
Free, Non-Profit and Non-denominational
Every Wednesday we will be publishing Pandemic Weekly for, we hope, not too long. We invite you to submit your thoughts, essays, poems or songs. Please send to firstname.lastname@example.org. To see past Pandemic Weeklies, CLICK HERE