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Pregnancy loss - you're not alone

“A miscarriage is a natural and common event. All told, probably more women have lost a child from this world than haven't. Most don't mention it, and they go on from day to day as if it hadn't happened, so people imagine a woman in this situation never really knew or loved what she had. But ask her sometime: how old would your child be now? And she'll know.” ― Barbara Kingsolver, Animal Dreams

Pregnancy loss is a surprisingly common event – at least 10-20% of pregnancies end in miscarriage, and that number may be even higher, as many people don’t know they are pregnant before they miscarry. At the same time, pregnancy loss still carries a sense of shame or stigma with it. The result of this stigma is that many people feel they are navigating these difficult waters alone.

Because so many women feel they can’t share their experience of pregnancy loss with others, it’s easy to be surprised at the physical and emotional turmoil that can follow the loss of a pregnancy. Some women experience deep sadness, while others might experience relief. Others might feel anxious about whether this could happen in a future pregnancy. Many women feel a sense of guilt, or like their body has betrayed them. Many people experience a mix of emotions that can feel overwhelming or confusing.

When I experienced a miscarriage in 2017, I remember feeling overwhelmed by the waves of grief. At the same time, it wasn’t something I felt like I could share with many people. Since most people didn’t know I was pregnant at the time, they weren’t able to join me in my grief. During that difficult time, the one thing that helped me more than anything else was connecting with other women who had walked this path before me. I also found great comfort and support in connecting with a compassionate therapist. And, the more I started to talk about it, the more I realized that I wasn’t alone – not at all. When I started to share my experience, so many people reached out to me to say they had gone through the same thing. Much later, when I was through the storm, I was able to be that support to my loved ones who were going through a pregnancy loss of their own.

Whatever emotions you are experiencing following the loss of a pregnancy, know that there are many other people who can relate. And, it is so important to acknowledge the difficulty you are experiencing so you can reach out for support. If you are experiencing the loss of a pregnancy, consider these three tips to help you process your feelings about the loss:

1. Journal

When I experienced a miscarriage, I found it helpful to journal about my experience. I even used my journal to write a letter to my baby. This helped me to process my emotions and express the love that I felt for my baby.

2. Reach out to others

If you have a trusted friend or family who has experienced pregnancy loss, it can be very helpful to connect with them. This can help to reduce the sense of isolation, and it can offer a sense of hope that the waves of grief won’t feel this intense forever.

3. Therapy

Therapy can be a wonderful place to sort through those confusing emotions, process your grief, and find healing. A warm and compassionate therapist will provide a non-judgmental, safe space for you to explore your emotions and grieve your loss.

October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. If you are grieving a miscarriage, consider finding someone to talk to about your experience, whether that be a friend, family member, or therapist. You’re not alone, and you deserve to be cared for in this difficult season.

~ Tamara Dueckman, Intern Therapist


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