Miscarriage, Child Loss, and Infertility
Miscarriage and Child Loss
It is natural to feel overpowered by a whirlwind of emotions when you receive the news that your fetus or infant has not survived. It is important to understand that there is no right or wrong way to feel….there are no “shoulds.” You may experience extreme sadness or loss…you may feel cheated or betrayed…or that there is something wrong with you…perhaps you are struggling to make meaning of your loss. Once the initial shock subsides, you are left with the pain of trying to move on. The memory of your child will live on and the key to healthy grieving is finding the courage and faith to know the rawness of the heartache will gradually lift with time. There are several different kinds of perinatal loss, including miscarriage, stillbirth, and neonatal death.
1 in 5 women will experience a miscarriage at some point in their lives. In the United States, 1 in 160 of deliveries tragically end in stillbirth and there are 19,000 neonatal deaths each year. These are issues that are often clouded with secrecy and people often feel they are suffering alone. Many of these losses have no medical explanation, which can make processing the intense grief even more difficult. Grief is not a linear process and it is not an illness…it is a normal response to a tragic experience. Therapeutic support through the grieving process can help women and men find a source of strength and to reach a place of acceptance in the wake of an unexplainable loss.
1 in 8 couples have difficulty getting pregnant or sustaining a pregnancy. Experiencing any type of infertility can feel like riding an emotional rollercoaster…it can bring up guilt, anger, shame, anxiety and oftentimes put strain on a relationship. Through the process, men and women frequently feel vastly different emotions and often process their emotions differently, so it is normal during the infertility process to experience emotional distance in a relationship. The ironic part is that both partners likely need support more than ever…so through the process of counseling, couples can strengthen their connection and build healthy communication around a difficult topic.
The feelings of powerlessness and anxiety about the future can be paralyzing. Most relationships are affected during infertility…whether it be well-meaning friends and family asking questions, or making insensitive comments…it is very common during infertility to experience the desire to isolate. How do you know if you may benefit from counseling? Perhaps you are confused about what your reproductive options are…if you are noticing infertility is hurting your relationship…if infertility is taking over your life…if you are considering a child-free life…or if you just need more support navigating the emotional landmine.