BabyLoss Therapy Services in Philadelphia PA, Mechanicsville VA, Ocean City NJ, Santa Fe NM
The Experience of Ending a Wanted Pregnancy, Miscarriage, Stillbirth, and Infant Loss” How Can Babyloss Therapy Services Help? There are few more painful experiences in life than the loss of a pregnancy or baby. The death of your child raises deeply painful questions about the loss itself (Why did this happen to us? What did I do wrong?) as well as about life in general (How do I ever move forward?). Truly, the experience of babyloss can cause deep anguish as it bucks the natural order of life: parents should outlive their children. Babyloss therapy services can help you process the deep pain of your loss.
Babyloss therapy services at the Center for Growth are for any parent (individual, couple, or family member included) who is struggling to cope with the tragic loss of a pregnancy, perinatal, or infant death. If you feel sad, confused, angry, or any other host of emotions surrounding the loss of your pregnancy or baby, know that babyloss therapy services can create a space for healing to begin. In therapy, accompanied by an empathetic and skilled clinician, you will start to create meaning from your loss, first by sharing your story, and then learning how babyloss has affected your life, your perspectives, and your relationships. Babyloss therapy services also consists of challenging thoughts that have arisen from your grief that may be maladaptive or unhelpful, and replacing them with more realistic, helpful ones that will support making meaning from grief instead of running from it. Learning how to trust your body again, expressing your feelings creatively, developing rituals for remembering, practicing having difficult conversations with friends or with your other children, experiencing validation that you are not alone, and creating a connection with your lost little one are all part of the work of babyloss therapy services.
Reaching Out for Help
You’ve arrived at this self-help section looking for support, advice, and meaning, and you will find much of it here. However, there may be times when babyloss therapy services can provide you with skilled, expert care. Consider the following:
- Are you having painful, intrusive memories of your loss experience that interrupt your sleep, affect your relationships, and cause you deep levels of distress or discomfort?
- Are you having difficulty getting out of bed, engaging in social interactions, finding pleasure or joy in the months after the loss?
- Do you find yourself playing and replaying the circumstances of the loss over and over in your head, and engaging in self-blame, judgment, or hatred?
- Are you unable to part with maternity clothes or items from the pregnancy that no longer serve any functional use?
- Are you having panic attacks or extreme anxiety about bad things happening to you, your children, or others that you care about, and believing that this will be more likely because of your babyloss experience? Are you engaging in rituals to avoid this from happening, or avoiding people or places you might have before as a result?
- Are you unable to engage in activities necessary for your health and well-being, like eating, exercising, sleeping, and engaging in hobbies?
- Is it a holiday, or maybe mother's day and you are feeling isolated, alone, sad, angry, betrayed, violated, hurt, jealous, confused, distress, judged, uncomfortable?
- Are you and your partner on a different page?
Certainly, all of the above responses can be normal in the wake of a loss, but when they begin to interrupt your overall functioning in work, life, and relationships, it is valuable to seek help from a trained professional who can provide the support and tools you need to continue to heal. At the Center for Growth, we specialize in babyloss therapy services, and stand at the ready to walk this painful journey by your side.
Prior to exploring babyloss therapy services, it can be helpful to review the following information:
Terms and Definitions
Ending a Wanted Pregnancy (EWP); Termination for Medical Reasons (TFMR): These are babylosses that occur when a parent has to make the heartbreaking decision to end the pregnancy at any stage of gestation. Though extremely uncommon, less than 3% of pregnancies in the developed world are affected by both genetic anomalies such as Trisomy 13, 18, and 21, as well as structural anomalies such as Spina Bifida or Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome. However, there is a wide spectrum of anomalies that are far less common and often are not discovered until later in pregnancy. Ending a pregnancy due to fetal anomaly is not the only reason for an EWP; sometimes a person chooses to end their pregnancy due to social circumstances, such as being in a dangerous or abusive relationship, mental health challenges, and more. If you have made the heartbreaking choice to end a wanted pregnancy, know that you are not alone, and the self-help tips here as well as babyloss therapy services will provide you with support.
Miscarriage: About 10-20% of all pregnancies sadly end in miscarriage, the loss of a pregnancy before 20 weeks of gestation. There are many reasons why a miscarriage can happen, but usually this is due to lack of proper development—commonly due to a chromosomal issue that occurred at conception. Miscarriage can be a deeply isolating experience, because sometimes friends and family do not see this as a “real” loss, since the pregnancy was so early. However, many pregnant people are already attached to their pregnancies from the moment they conceive (and if not, that is normal, too!). and an early loss can still create grief over the loss of the hopes and dreams a parent had for their baby. Similarly, for those who experience an Ectopic Pregnancy, in which a fertilized egg implants outside the uterus and is not viable, the loss can be very real and painful. The self-help tips in this section as well as babyloss therapy services provide support and validation that your pregnancy mattered.
Stillbirth: A stillbirth occurs when a fetus dies after 20 weeks of pregnancy. A stillbirth happens in about 1 in every 160 births, and the causes are not always clear, but sometimes they are the result of lack of blood flow to the fetus through the umbilical cord, preeclampsia (dangerously high blood pressure in the pregnant person), anomalies, physical trauma, and more. A stillbirth can feel especially heartbreaking especially if the pregnancy up until the loss was normal, and the parent began making concrete plans for their baby to arrive. An especially difficult part of stillbirth will be coping with the sadness that comes as a parent realizes that the baby they were expecting as part of their family will no longer be joining them. The self-help tips in this section as well as babyloss therapy services will provide suggestions for how to interact with others and take care of yourself during the tender days and weeks after stillbirth.
Babyloss is almost always a painful, isolating experience, that causes a grieving parent to question and criticize their body’s ability to produce and sustain life. As a result, it is incredibly important to be gentle with yourself as you walk the path of healing.
Self-Care is Necessary
Though you may not feel motivated to take care of yourself during babyloss, honoring you body and mind are essential components of coping with the initial waves of grief. Because most babylosses involve some sort of physical experience – from bleeding to surgery to even labor and delivery—you must treat your entire body with compassion, especially as it experiences postpartum changes without a baby to care for. It can be incredibly distressing to experience the arrival of milk in your breasts, without a baby to feed, or to carry postpartum weight without feeling it was all worth it to have a healthy child in your arms. Grief will cause feelings of self-judgment, anger, resentment, depression, and more, that impact how you address the very real physical and emotional needs that arise during this time of loss. Some ideas to help you get started with self-care:
- Don’t be afraid to ask for what you need. Now is the time for you to be direct and use “I” statements with loved ones who are looking for ways to support you during this tragic time. Are there concrete tasks friends can help you with, such as sharing the news, or de-registering you from childcare? Put your friends to work.
- Make a plan for what you want to do if your milk comes in. There is a self-help tip dedicated to short-term symptoms of babyloss that covers engorgement and how to address this. You can also read about bleeding, cramping, aching, and psychological symptoms. Educating yourself can create feelings of purpose and empowerment during a time when you may feel helpless.
- Look toward your body with compassion and grace. Try not to label yourself as a failure, or judge your body harshly. Instead, be still, and allow it to rest, knowing this body is the sole vessel carrying you through the loss experience, and the death of your baby is not your body’s failure. Reconnect to your body, and learn to trust it again with slow/short walks, gentle movement, and guided meditation.
- Make connections with the baby you lost. You will always be a parent, whether your child resides on earth or not. Explore symbols and metaphors that remind you of your little one (birds, trees, and butterflies are common), and incorporate them into your life. Write letters to your baby, keep a journal, and reflect upon the experience as you move forward.
- Know that your loss may not be recognized by everyone, especially if you had an abortion or an early loss. This type of loss is called disenfranchised, and there are also non-validated reproductive losses as in the case of infertility or loss in an unintended pregnancy. There are self-help tips available here to support you through this, to bear witness to your journey even when you feel others will not
You don’t have to walk the path of babyloss alone. Consider babyloss therapy services to support your healing and making meaning from your loss. There will be lots of issues and questions that come up that talking to someone might be helpful. For example:
*Maybe you have medical questions about what happened?
*Maybe you want to know the general differences between L&D or D&E?
*Maybe you have questions about OB Care post babyloss?
*Maybe you want to know what some of the short term symptoms are of babyloss?
*Maybe you are currently pregnant and doing some emotional cushioning? Or feeling like your current pregnancy is doomed?
*Maybe you have questions about babyloss, pregnancy and COVID?
* Maybe you are wondering what role should infertility treatment play moving forward?
*Maybe your pregnancy was unintended. If you decided to continue the pregnancy and experience a later loss, it is common to feel as though somehow, this is punishment for not being excited in the early days or not attaching to your pregnancy.