Coping with pregnancy loss and grief

Coping with pregnancy loss and grief

The following was written by a former Options client and is based on her personal experience of pregnancy loss with the intention to reach out to those who might wish to support women and men who are grieving after losing a baby.


For anyone who has lost a baby, either by miscarriage, stillbirth, infant loss, or abortion, many of us can relate to feeling a loss; an emptiness and pain like you never thought you could feel.


We all grieve in different ways.  Some like to be on their own, while others may need friends around them constantly.  Some like to talk about it, some don't; some may take a while to accept and understand what happened, some may take years to do it.  Grief is grief, pain is pain, and it's something we all have to go through.  For many of us, we have a date to remember, whether it's a due date/a birthday or the date when our baby died, the date is emblazoned on our minds and in our hearts.


In my experience, I have found it helpful  to celebrate the date my baby was due.  I've had it said to me before "why are you celebrating the due date? You need to move on with the next stage in your life"; this was very hurtful and didn't help in my journey of healing at all. Even though I don't have my baby in my arms, my baby is still my baby, he is a person and has an identity.  The loss of this special little person in my life is very real to me, and I hope that people can understand this if they are seeking to support people who have lost a child.


Many of us have that fear of letting go, of forgetting our baby, disrespecting them by not thinking about them every minute of every day like we may have done at the beginning, I sure did; but let me encourage you that celebrating the special date is such a beautiful thing that I would suggest doing, continue to do or start doing if you think it would be helpful.


For me, every September 20th (due date), I make a special cake, go to a local church, say a prayer and light a candle for my baby.


Other ideas I've heard include:


  • planting a tree
  • release balloons
  • write a poem
  • light a candle at a special place
  • buy a keepsake
  • make their clothes into something special (e.g. a cushion for your bedroom)


Do ask a friend/member of your family to be with you if that's what you want. Many people don't know how to help someone who's grieving and in your situation, but asking them to be with you allows them to help and that is something that they want to do. Don't feel like a nuisance for asking them. Trust me, they'll want to be with you. The same goes for those of you that are trying to help someone who is grieving at the moment, offer your shoulder/ear and your presence to them. Even if they don't accept it, just knowing someone is around is helpful; particularly when it comes up to the anniversary dates.


September 20th is my day where I truly reflect and remember my loss, but also a day where I thank God for helping me get to a place of healing, and to a place where I can talk about the situation openly and help others.


As time goes on, yes things get easier, life does continue and you're not constantly preoccupied with terrible memories or regrets, but having that one day in the year to set aside time to honour and pay your respects to your child is a real comfort and although it may be sad, you can reflect on how far you've come in your healing. You're moving and have moved on, and that's okay and nothing to feel guilty about, your child is in the best place they can be, without pain, sadness or hurt, have peace and comfort knowing that, and lastly, you carry your child in your heart, that's the most important thing - together in spirit everyday, until that one day when you will be reunited.


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