Grief & Loss

Grief & Loss

I remember walking along the road passed all the school kids, their parents, I just wanted to cry. I felt the tears welling up in my eyes, as I was fighting them back and praying, I would reach my home before the flood came. I noticed a couple of pregnant women walking on the other side of the road as I felt the tears beginning to trickle down. It was too late; the banks were bursting; I fell through my front door and just sank to the floor.

My heart was breaking, the flood of tears falling so hard, I was alone, my gut instinct told me that I was not pregnant anymore. I felt so differently whilst walking down the road. Usually, I would feel tightening in my uterus and feeling cramping, giving me a sign of my embryo growing in my womb. Today, there was nothing! I even tried searching by walking faster to see if I still had those stitches in my belly that I always felt when I knew I was pregnant.

I tested to see if I still had a line on the home pregnancy test, there was still a line, I held on for hope that it was just one of those days where my pregnancy symptoms were taking a rest. The test was positive, although the line was very faint, I knew she was gone.

Every day after that, the line was getting fainter, still hoping for something to change, but my unconscious mind was telling me it was over. I waited for the 7-week scan that to confirm my nightmare, a week after I miscarried naturally.

I have experienced a loss many times before the grief is still painful. The worse thing is, I knew what I was about to face. A range of emotions; anger, sadness, disappointment, failure and losing trust in myself.

What it all means

A miscarriage is the spontaneous loss of pregnancy during the first 24-weeks, quite often it can be traumatic. There are various causes to why miscarriages happen. Your medical professional can advise you accordingly on your next steps. Unfortunately, the NHS will only offer further investigation after three recurrent miscarriages.

The miscarriage can result in the natural delivery of your baby, or a scan will determine if medical intervention is required.

Miscarriage is very common and happens in 10 to 15 in 100 pregnancies. Most women do not discover the cause of miscarriage. A chromosome defect is the main reason for miscarriage, along with hormonal imbalances, womb abnormalities, infections and auto-immune diseases. These causes can be easily treated.Ectopic pregnancy is when the embryo implants outside of the uterus, typically in the fallopian tubes, this happens even with IVF treatment. It is a serious issue that must be focussed on immediately to preserve future fertility health.

Molar pregnancy/Missed Miscarriage (Blighted Ovum) is when there is a problem with the embryo, the baby and placenta do not develop the way it should after embryo transfer or implantation. Pregnancy symptoms are there and then usually cease, with no bleeding is present at that time. Recognised at a 6-14 week scan, a molar pregnancy can end in natural miscarriage or with medical intervention.

Stillbirth is the death or loss of a baby after 24 weeks of pregnancy and linked to complications with the placenta, a birth-defect and the condition of the mother’s health.

Regardless of how or why there is a loss, it is physically, mentally and emotionally disturbing.

Previous Termination can be a source of great conflict, especially when there are future conception problems. The woman may not have adequate support at the time, she could also suffer similar emotional disturbances.

Regardless of how or why there is a loss, it is physically, mentally and emotionally disturbing.

Your grief is personal

Despite medical advances; miscarriage, ectopic pregnancies and molar pregnancies are very common in early pregnancies.

For many couples experiencing miscarriage or baby loss for the first time can lead to confusion around how to feel. Regardless if you never knew your baby or that she was the size of a seed, it is still your loss which can be a very upsetting, frightening and lonely time.

Every story of miscarriage or baby loss is different and can be very traumatic for women and couples. You may feel isolated and disconnected, believing that others may not understand.

Many women experience a lack of empathy and perhaps subjected to unhelpful comments from those who do not understand how grief feels. It can lead to more confusion, frustration and resentment through the lack of support.

Will I ever get over this?

Grief should happen naturally and to permit yourself to feel the emotions occurring.

“Holding on to anything is like holding on to your breath. You will suffocate. The only way to get anything in the physical universe is by letting go of it. Let go and it will be yours forever.” – Deepak Chopra.

Support groups are a wonderful place to reach out, knowing that people will listen and allow you to feel and show your emotions. The support groups are where you can share your experiences without judgement. Some women find it hard to talk to family and friends because it may feel uncomfortable for people to discuss.

Remember, this affects your partner too, the grieving patterns will be different for them, sharing your feelings about the loss helps build connection. Showing vulnerability with your partner allows you to be open and honest about how you feel. Keeping strong will delay the natural process of grief. Perhaps the emotions are instead released in unhelpful ways.

Helping you rise through grief

    • Give yourself and your partner time to grieve.
    • Seek support from family and friends if possible.
    • Join a support group if you think this will help, other women are experiencing loss can bring mutual understanding.
    • There are charities set up to help you through grief specifically for miscarriage and baby loss.
    • Keep in communications with your partner as it creates a deeper connection and supports each other through these challenging times.
    • Recognise when you are struggling to recover and seek professional guidance.
    • Have self-awareness of behaviours you may use to cover up the hurt this loss is causing. Partaking in unhealthy habitual behaviour or excessively self-sabotaging, you should seek advice from your health professional.

IVF Failure

Fertility treatment does not work out for many reasons. Your fertility professional should have more answers and can explain further testing if needed.

However, you have invested time and emotions into IVF treatment, and you will feel disappointed and let down, perhaps begin to blame yourself or your partner. Blame is a natural reaction but does not solve your problems.

IVF treatment failure negatively impacts your belief-system therefore, casting doubts and mistrust. Although natural, not dealt with can affect any future treatment cycles. The importance of addressing emotions is paramount.

Helping you rise and overcome IVF failure:

    • Remind yourself it is alright to feel emotions linked to grief, take your time. You have every right to be upset for the treatment not being successful.
    • Be kind to yourself. You will find a thousand reasons to blame. Look back and take the negative experiences and flip them into positive learning points to take forward to your next cycle. It promotes growth and enhances your self-worth.
    • Notice other positive parts of the process that can be taken forward with you.
    • Having a long-term plan in case of an unsuccessful treatment can help you find a way to move forward quicker. You could be adding extra pressure on yourself if there is no contingency plan, you can leave the door open to other options.
    • Have some flexibility and keep an open mind to the fact it may not be successful. You are emotionally and physically invested and will be hard not to dive in. Go into the treatment with excitement, do the best you can and place no expectation on the outcome.
    • Take time to help you recover and take tome for self-care. Have fun it has been a slog!
    • Recognise when recovery is taking longer than it should. You will understand how long you need to heal.
    • Have self-awareness of behaviours you may use to cover up the hurt this loss is causing. Partaking in unhealthy habitual behaviour or excessively self-sabotaging, you should seek advice from your health professional.

The days after my miscarriage, I saw the same pregnant women passing me. I felt angry that it wasn’t me. As I allowed myself to let go of grief, I felt able to feel happy seeing the women. One of them had given birth and was pushing her baby in the pram. I wanted to say congratulations but, I didn’t know them as I had just moved to the area.

I felt relieved knowing that I had come through the toughest of emotions.

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