Have you, or someone close to you, experienced miscarriage, or the loss of a child during pregnancy?
The impact of miscarriage and infant loss can be profound, and the depth of sadness can at times seem overwhelming. It is not always easy to share these experiences with friends and family.
Sometimes, we don’t even know how to allow ourselves to grieve.
Grief in miscarriage is often hidden, as we keep the early days of our pregnancy a secret, wary of prematurely announcing our joyful anticipation until after the first three months. The pain of our loss is then kept to our inner circle, perhaps hoping that “it was all for the best” or “we’ll forget about that and try again”.
Successive miscarriages can be even more difficult to accept, when the grief of the loss may seem just too hard to bear, and is often accompanied by feelings of despair, shame and worthlessness.
We may ask ourselves “Why Me”?
Maybe we ask ourselves the question “why me?” or “what did I do wrong?”
I have been in this situation and would like to help you.
I remember the total devastation I felt when my son was stillborn half way through the pregnancy, a feeling made so much worse because this followed six earlier miscarriages. What should I do, how should I be feeling, reacting? So many questions. Why did this happen?
The hospital staff were all caring and compassionate, but it was as though I didn’t know how to be the person is this situation of immense loss and sadness. I would have done anything to escape the feelings of vulnerability that were threatening to overwhelm me.
As I tried to suppress my grief, I became angry with every one around me. Finally, realising that perhaps it wasn’t them, but it was me, I made an appointment see a psychologist. I was barely through the door before starting to sob. I’m not sure if I even said “hello”, but the compassion on her face caused all my barriers to collapse, allowing my raw grief and pain to surface.
The Importance of Empathic Listening
All she had to do was to sit there with me, and listen. That was all. No words were spoken. None were necessary. Her empathic presence was simply enough.
Infant loss is painful. Our dreams are shattered as we are suddenly taken from immense joy and optimism to a place of deep sadness. There is a pain in our heart that is impossible to escape from. Trying to bury the pain doesn’t help, as it will only surface later, somehow, stronger than before.
Everyone connected to the pregnancy can experience a sense of loss. Talking to each other is essential. When loved ones try to help by wanting to make the pain go away, it can actually have the reverse effect, of invalidating the feelings of grief, and delay the healing process.
If you, or someone close to you, has experienced infant loss, and you feel you are struggling, it often helps to talk to someone who understands how you are feeling. The sense of loss is equally valid whether you were a prospective mum, dad, grandparent, close friend or a member of the extended family.
Working with a Counsellor or Psychotherapist can help you to give the grief and sense of loss the attention it deserves. Your therapist can help you to integrate the experience and move forward when you are ready. Sometimes just talking to a compassionate and empathic listener can help.
I am an accredited Provider with the Foundation for Infant Loss, and offer a gentle and accepting space where you can feel safe to process your grief.