The anticipation and excitement of a pregnancy with hopes and dreams for the future, can change in an instant with the news that your baby has died. Although one in four women experience a miscarriage or stillbirth, pregnancy loss remains a taboo topic.
The end of a pregnancy or the death of your baby represents the loss of a dream, and the grief that accompanies that loss can be overwhelming and painfully difficult to navigate. Women have a particularly heightened vulnerability in their emotional and mental health during pregnancy, which can become further complicated when a pregnancy has ended unexpectedly with no live baby to claim socially and relish in parenting.
Seeing a Psychologist may assist in the journey by helping you to:
Acknowledge what has been lost and validate your role as a parent;
Acknowledge and process your grief and sense of loss- how you feel about your body, the reasons you understand surrounding your baby’s death, your labour/delivery, leaving hospital empty handed, your relationship with your partner, returning to work/life as you knew it, and how your life has changed;
Facilitate a healthy expression of your grief and find ways to meaningfully connect with your baby that has died;
Receive support to manage siblings and extended family members in their grief;
Learn coping strategies to manage grief and the rollercoaster of emotions that follow;
Learn how to take care of your emotional and psychological needs at this time of major loss;
Manage the expectations you have of yourself and getting to know the ‘new normal’;
Enhance your communication skills with your partner to help keep you connected throughout this emotionally demanding time;
Change some of the beliefs you have about yourself that might be prohibiting a healthy expression of grief and interfering with the relationship you have with your baby;
Manage a subsequent pregnancy after a loss (see Antenatal and Postnatal Depression/Anxiety)
A local charity www.bearsofhope.org.au offering exceptional support and care for bereaved families who have lost a baby through miscarriage, stillbirth, or early in infancy. Their website has practical information and provides links to bereavement support online, telephone, email and face to face via support groups.