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Coping with pregnancy loss

Pregnancy loss is devastating and can change the family dynamics regardless of when it occurs. Reaction to pregnancy loss can include

  • Shock Ė often the first response to the loss
  • Grief
  • Denial
  • Anger Ė the anger may be at yourself, your partner, the physician or at God
  • Guilt Ė the response of wondering if you could have done something to prevent the loss
  • Depression Ė the pain and sorrow may lead to feelings of inadequacy and self-pity. This can lead to loss of interest in thing that once gave you joy, changes in eating habits, difficulty sleeping, decision making may become hard and concentration on event and activities can be harder.

The healthiest approach is to mourn the loss, accept what you can not change and begin to look for the future. The grieving process and acceptance will not only affect you and you partner but also your families.

How can you begin the grieving process and work through the loss?

  • You must understand that the loss is beyond you control and is not your fault. Pregnancy loss can occur in any woman and in any given pregnancy. Keep an open discussion with your partner about what happened and how it affects each other. There is never an easy answer to what has happened or how to manage the grieving process. Donít judge yourself as a failure because of the loss.
  • You must give yourself time to grieve and heal. Donít set a time limit on the grieving. No two people grieve the same or heal the same, so try to deal with the grief as it occurs. When the babyís due arrives, grief may resurface and may need to be dealt with again.
  • Take some time for yourself. You need a chance to process what has happened. Make your own decisions and donít allow someone else to take over everything. They may think that it will help but it may hinder your healing.
  • Donít expect your partner to grieve in the same way that you are grieving. Men and women grieve differently. Women tend to express their emotions and feeling more openly than men do. Men often feel that they have to take care of their wives by being strong and not showing emotions, but this does not mean he is not feeling the loss. Give each other the freedom to grieve the best way each feels they can.
  • Donít close your world off from others who can give comfort and support. Although it may be difficult and painful to share your feelings with others, it is better to share your grief and so you can feel less alone. You will be surprised how many people you know have had pregnancy loss and can help you to grieve. Sometimes stories of how someone else worked through their loss can help with your healing. Support from an unexpected person may help more than you could ever expect.
  • Create memories of the pregnancy Ė some people heal easier if a name is set aside and a memorial service is performed. You might consider personalizing a piece of jewelry in the infantís honor, planting a tree or creating some type of memorial.
  • Get support- pregnancy-loss support groups are available in most areas. Professional help is available through pastoral counseling, psychological counselors and psychiatrists.

There is no simple way to survive the loss, but by sharing with others and getting support you can work through the loss. The Resolve Through Sharing program has services that can help. Call (256) 265-7440 for more information.

More about Dr. Aulds

Donald G. Aulds, MD is an Obstetrician and Gynecologist and currently serves as the Medical Director for both the Women's Center and the Best Start Program of North Alabama. He is a Diplomat of the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Fellow of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

Dr. Aulds completed his medical education at Louisiana State University School of Medicine, New Orleans, LA and his Internship and Residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology at Ochsner Medical Foundation, New Orleans, LA.

Dr. Aulds has been an active member of the Huntsville Hospital Medical Staff since 1980.