You have had a pregnancy loss and your feelings may surprise you.
Pregnancy and Infant Loss Support
At Shawnee Mission Medical Center, we care about you and your pregnancy loss. We can offer you support and caring during your time of healing. Our Perinatal Bereavement Group for families experiencing pregnancy and infant loss meets the first and third Thursday of every month from 7-8:30 p.m. at the Center for Women’s Health, located within the Outpatient Entrance on the west side of Shawnee Mission Medical Center. For more information about individual counseling or the Perinatal Bereavement Group, call 913-632-4223.
This group is open to those who have suffered a loss regardless of their stage in the grieving process. Members are encouraged to attend at any stage in their grief process; for some that is immediately after a loss and for others it is several months later. This group is a place where you can speak of your loss or choose to listen. There is no pressure; instead it is a place where you can find comfort. Come together, come alone or come with a friend, you will find this group has something to offer you.
“The support group is the last place you will ever hope you will have to attend, but it is the first place you will want to run to when your baby dies. It is a comfortable and safe place to cry, share, remember and honor your precious child with others who understand. Sometimes you may want to talk and other times you may just want to listen. It is a place of support, in whatever form you choose.” - Support group member
It takes time to mend a broken heart.
Give yourself that time.
Reactions May Vary
There are many ways to react to a pregnancy loss, and no one way is the right way. You may grieve deeply for the loss of your child or you may feel sadness at the loss of the pregnancy. Just as it is normal to feel a sense of grief after a pregnancy loss, it is also normal to feel little or no sadness. Some women may be relieved because the pregnancy was not planned.
Your feelings about your pregnancy loss are not right or wrong. They just are.
You and your partner may feel relief after the stress of the pregnancy loss is over or you may have a feeling of numbness. Sadness over the loss may occur months or even years later. Some parents are devastated by their loss from the beginning. Others never grieve. And some parents will find that while one is struggling the other is responding in a totally different way. No one grieves exactly the same.
Everyone Responds Differently
One of the reasons individuals may respond differently to a pregnancy loss has to do with how this person felt about the pregnancy. Some parents do not develop closeness with the baby until the reality of birth approaches. Others think of a baby as soon as they suspect they’re pregnant. They fill their hearts with hopes and dreams of future family life, holidays and birthday parties. Mothers and fathers may feel differently about the loss because of their differing relationships with the baby.
A Woman’s Feelings
A woman may feel her attachment growing along with the baby, possibly since she has often thought of the being pregnant, planned for it or because she feels the growing child. After a loss, she may feel a sense of emptiness and possibly a lack of self-esteem. Emotions related to her grief may include fear, sadness, anger or guilt.
Physical symptoms are possible as well. Fatigue, sleeplessness, loss of appetite, inability to concentrate, nightmares, heart palpitations and withdrawal from social activities are common after a loss. You may experience an aching in your arms, a yearning to hold the baby that was lost or even a sense of the baby moving inside you. Special days like holidays or your expected due date may be especially difficult and bring an increase in painful feelings.
A Man’s Feelings
A man may not have yet developed an attachment to the baby if the loss occurs early in the pregnancy. Feelings of grief and loss may not be as intense for him because of this different relationship to the baby. Other men have deep feelings of grief after a pregnancy loss. It is common for men to express feelings of powerlessness, anger, frustration and guilt. They are further burdened with society’s expectation of them to be strong and may have difficulty expressing their grief. A man’s feelings tend to be passed over as friends and family inquire about how the woman is doing.
It is helpful when both partners express how they feel about the loss to one another. Realize that you are individuals who have different relationships to the baby. Your reactions to the loss will differ as well. No one is in exactly the same place at the same time in the grief process.
Pregnancy Loss Occurs Frequently
Pregnancy loss occurs more frequently than most people think. Approximately one out of five pregnancies results in miscarriage. Most often, the reason for the loss is not known. Please talk to your physician about your case, especially if you have a history of past pregnancy losses.