Losing a baby though miscarriage, elective termination, stillbirth, childbirth, after a NICU stay, SIDS, or any other time is, without a doubt, one of the most difficult experiences that a parent will ever endure. There are no words to explain the depth of despair that a parent goes through when attempting to understand the shift that occurs when all hopes and expectations suddenly drop out from underneath anything stable.It is an experience that many will never need to make sense of and also one that many others will swim through unexpectedly. It is tragic and drastic and totally and completely unfair and yet thousands upon thousands of families find themselves in this position each year. Here is what we know:
- Approximately 15-20% of confirmed pregnancies end in miscarriage.
- In the US, the rate of stillbirth is documented as 1 in 160-200 pregnancies.
- In the US, the rates of SIDS affects between 5,000-7,000 infants every year.
- In the US, approximately 11,300 infants die within 24 hours of their birth each year.
I have worked with countless women in my office as they try to manage the unfamiliar emotions that surround loss, and I have learned a great deal from these phenomenal moms. I also have a dear friend and colleague who lost her daughter hours after birth and she, too, has honored me with her insight, pain, and eventual healing.
With the information gathered from both my clients and my dear friend (who is now a clinician in San Francisco specializing in perinatal loss), this post is written for all of the moms out there who are trying to navigate the unfamiliar postpartum experience while also grieving the loss of a child that never made it home or past that first year mark. For these moms, postpartum distress is complicated by the process of grief, and sometimes it is hard to make sense of what goes where in this unimaginable puzzle.
So, if you are one of these women, here is what I want you to know:
TO BE CONTINUED. .