Perinatal loss can refer to miscarriage, stillbirth, or the death of a child shortly after the birthing process. It is understandably devastating, heart-breaking, and soul-crushing.
It can be difficult to talk about and accept. You might feel all alone and completely distraught. However your grief shows itself, it is a personal journey. Your grief might not look the same as a spouse’s or family members. It might not look the same as another person who has also suffered perinatal loss.
Waves of Grief
Grief comes and goes in waves. There are days that feel normal, like they used to feel, and there are others where it is hard to get out of bed and function in daily life. And, that is ok. Grief is hard. Grief is complicated. You have a right to whatever feelings and thoughts are racing through your head. Never feel guilty for feeling, for being sad, or for having a good day.
Perinatal loss grief is a different kind of complicated than other grief. It can be hard for some to understand. It can be hard to accept and hard to explain. Others around you might struggle with how to support you. It is different from the loss of a person who was able to experience the world, this life. But, it can be just as devastating.
A Special Place
You will likely experience several stages of grief — disbelief, yearning, anger, and depression. You may place blame on yourself or others. You might be overcome with guilt and sadness. It will come and it will go with time. You can find acceptance. You can find hope and move forward.
This child, although you didn’t get the life you wanted with them, will always have a special place in your heart. You don’t have to explain that to anyone. Your grief is your own. Whatever shape or journey your grief takes is yours. Free yourself from thinking you need to stick within a mold of sorts. Let yourself grieve the way you need to. In very deep, scarring, excruciating ways your life has been impacted. Let yourself feel.
Surround yourself with a support group. Confide in those you trust. You don’t need to do this on your own. Seeking the support of a licensed mental health professional can help to guide you through your emotions and eventually on a journey forward.
Author: Alison Pidgeon, LPC
Alison is the Founder and CEO of Move Forward Counseling, a boutique private practice for women with three locations in Lancaster County, PA. She is passionate about reducing the stigma related to accessing mental health services. She can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.