I am opening the door on a topic of loss experienced by many but spoken of by few; if you are triggered by this article I can offer supportive services and resources.
Many people are touched by pregnancy loss that can occur at any time during a pregnancy from weeks to months to years later. The loss can be due to medical or unknown reasons. From a grief perspective, pregnancy loss may go unspoken, but not forgotten.
There is also a form of loss with a molar pregnancy; where the body displays all of the signs of pregnancy detectable on a pregnancy test, but the cells do not form a fetus. Imagine, thinking you are pregnant and then finding out there is no viable life.
It is important to remember there may be others involved who may be experiencing this loss in addition to the mother. I know different individuals experience loss in their own way and often other would have no idea there is a grieving person in their midst.
A potential grandmother may be grieving the loss of a pregnancy for a few reasons. She may be feeling helpless and unable to help her daughter, plus she may be grieving the loss herself. There is a possibility the potential grandmother had a pregnancy loss that is being triggered with this present loss and others may have no idea.
If there are other children in the home and are aware of the pregnancy they may be upset if the unborn child dies. Sometimes children try to be supportive and not cause problems for the grieving mother or get overlooked at a time when they are grieving too.
The father is another person who is often overlooked. Being the strong one or in many cases perceived by society as such, he may be the one who sets his grief aside to take care of everyone else. He still grieves and has his mind go to the loss the same as everyone else does.
I know there are times when people do not grieve the loss of a pregnancy for whatever reason. I know there are those who are forced to suck it up and keep on going as if nothing has happened, but at the same time no one truly knows what is going on in another person’s mind and heart when there is a pregnancy loss.
An additional resource; Pregnancy and Infant Loss Network (PAIL) is a registered Canadian charity committed to making a positive difference to those affected by pregnancy and infant loss. You can look for this resource.
“Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep“ is an organization of trained, sensitive, caring volunteer photographers who are on call 24 hours a day 7 days a week to take pictures of children who have died prior to birth or within a year after birth. The quality of the end product is tasteful, beautiful and a way for the family to remember.
To some, this may seem to be morbid, but to a parent whose child has died these may be the only pictures they have and for some women this may be their only pregnancy.
A picture is better than words; watch this tender, loving video and you will better understand the photography http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KCnIAzcI7po .
If you have experienced the loss of a pregnancy for whatever reason, there is help and support for you.
Barbara J. Saunders is a grief counsellor/Thanatologist.
Next week’s article is about “Anger and Grief”