Today, October 15, is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. Losing a baby, whether in pregnancy, at birth, or in infancy, and whether it was a planned or unplanned, wanted or unwanted pregnancy, is an experience that affects you for life. The phases and intensity of emotions vary, but one thing you can be sure of is that you will be changed.
For most people, the initial impact of experiencing pregnancy loss or infant death is excruciating. If you happen to be experiencing loss right now, you may be questioning your ability to survive the experience -- how will you get through to the other side? There's no clear-cut method for what to do and when, but there is advice from experts and fellow parents who have experienced loss. In fact, simply knowing that you aren't alone in your grief can feel like a warm hug of support.
Feel all the feelings - Allow yourself to feel the depths of your sadness as well as the height of your anger. Actively expressing emotions is important for releasing those emotions and a key step in transitioning to different stages of life after loss.
Be gentle - Give yourself time and space for healing. Don't pressure yourself into returning to normal activities before you're ready. Don't let anyone assert their opinions on how or what you should be doing and when, either.
Talk, share - Talk about and share your experience and feelings to those who will listen, both in person and online. The more you share, the more you can start to process and heal. One online location to share your story and connect with others is the March of Dimes community.
Seek support, again and again - Find your support team, which could include best friends, fellow bereaved parents, and a therapist who specializes in infant loss and grief. Return to your team time and again; grief has a way of showing up when it's unexpected and uninvited long after you think it will and it can be difficult to process alone. If you need a place to start to find support, check out Pregnancy After Loss Support.
Breathe, and repeat - If you are overwhelmed at the thought of how to get through life, just remind yourself: one breath at a time, one step at a time. Or, as author and speaker Glennon Doyle says, "Just do the next right thing one thing at a time. That'll take you all the way home."
TagsInfant loss Miscarriage Pregnancy Loss Pregnancy And Infant Loss Remembrance Day