Values

Perinatal Grief: Coping with the Loss of Your Baby


When a woman or a couple finds out that they are expecting a baby, a mixture of feelings immediately invades them: illusion, fear, joy, doubts. Soon we begin to imagine how it will be, if it will be a boy or a girl, what we will be like as mother or father, our first Christmas as a family ...

But if unfortunately the pregnancy does not go as expected and the baby dies before or shortly after birth, all those expectations are suddenly cut short, and everything that we had built around that baby collapses. Then the difficult path of perinatal grief begins.

Before continuing, let's clarify what perinatal death is: officially, it includes babies who die in utero from 22 weeks gestation, and babies who do so in their first month of life. But the issue of perinatal grief is a matter of feelings, of bond, of love, and that does not depend on weeks of gestation.

The path of acceptance or overcoming of this loss involves a grieving process that consists of four phases:

1. Shock and numbness: It is the first of the phases, upon hearing the news of the baby's death. The main feature is a stun that protects from the full impact of the loss. Feelings of being paralyzed by anger, disbelief, suffering, or panic may appear, sometimes interrupted by emotional outbursts.

2. Search and anxiety: in this second phase there are feelings of unease, anxiety about what could have been, ambiguity. Physical symptoms such as nightmares, hearing baby cries may appear ... In addition, an attempt is made to find answers or reasons for the loss, which can lead to feelings of guilt.

3. Disorganization or disorientation: little by little the conviction that the loss is final develops and sadness, concentration difficulties, physical and emotional discomfort, feelings of 'going crazy' or 'not being able to overcome it' arise.

4. Reorganization: the duel is coming to an end, families begin to continue with their lives normally, without feeling guilty about it. They make decisions and act more effectively. Death occupies its proper place in his memory and in his life. They will never forget the baby who died, but they resume their life with a 'new normal'.

What differentiates these griefs from others is the lack of social recognition, it seems that since the baby barely existed, it has not been able to leave a mark. The environment closest to the mother or the couple tends to minimize it and to try to encourage them with well-intentioned phrases such as "you will / will have another", "nature is wise", "better now that you did not know him".

Socially it is not a topic that is talked about. On the contrary, it is about hiding or covering up, in an effort to protect. It is a fairly paternalistic attitude that leaves the family member and the woman with a great impact at the news. These reactions in the people closest to you do not help, they can even inspire anger and frustration, and increase the feeling of loneliness and misunderstanding. For them, it is and always will be their baby, unique and unrepeatable, and the fact that others do not feel that way will not change it.

If you know someone who has lost their baby, don't be afraid to talk about it, they will appreciate it. And if it's you who has been through it, I'm really sorry. You are not alone: ​​talk to other families, look for support groups in your area or on the web, ask your midwife for help.

You can read more articles similar to Perinatal Grief: Coping with the Loss of Your Baby, in the category of Diseases - annoyances on site.


Video: Celine Dion shares advice for those grieving after her husbands death. GMA (January 2022).