A New Dawn: Adjusting to Life Without Your Baby

The month of October can difficult for many who are dealing with the grief of miscarriage, stillbirth or infant death.  Since my miscarriage happened during the month of October I am always reminded at this time of year. It was right before Halloween…and now that emotional event is marked each year by the coming of Fall and the activities that accompany Pregnancy Loss Awareness Month. As each year passes, I try to focus less on grief and more on reflection remembering the child I never knew. 
 
When a baby dies during pregnancy, or shortly after, the hopes and dreams of the parents die with it. If the couple has no other children, the loss can be even more devastating because the ‘family’ has died as well.
 
Pregnancy loss causes a void, and this emptiness must be addressed in order for parents to adjust to a life without their baby. For the woman, the physical connection between mother and child is even greater. She must overcome the feeling that a part of her is gone.
 
You will never forget the child who died; you will find ways to remember your baby as an important part of your past. As a couple, or even a family, you will form a new view of your future.
 
Here are some suggestions to help you adjust:
 
  • Return to work. Going back to work can help you to feel that you are getting back to your routine. It is also helpful to be surrounded by familiar and caring co-workers.
  • Keep your routine as normal as possible. Maintaining structure will help you feel a sense of control.
  • Volunteer. Helping others actually helps to keep your mind off of yourself, and it can improve your perspective. This is both rewarding and healing.
  • Indulge yourself. Get a message, go shopping, or treat yourself to a facial or manicure. Anything you find relaxing or soothing will help.
  • Recognize your progress. Notice when you can get through a few hours or days without pain. Find something you are thankful for, laugh, look forward to something.  Recognize when you can talk about your loss more easily or feel less preoccupied with yourself and your loss.
  • Get counseling if you cannot function normally, you feel no relief, or your grief has gone on for too long. If, despite all of your efforts, you cannot cope or adjust, seek professional help.
Readjusting the hopes and dreams you had before your loss is not easy, but it is an important step in moving on with life. It allows you to create a new place for your baby and move on to new hope and new dreams for your future.
 
The above information was adapted from the book Hope is Like the Sun: Finding Hope and Healing After Miscarriage, Stillbirth, or Infant Death.   
  

Am I a Mother? Tips for Handling Mother’s Day After Miscarriage

 
Are you spending this Mother’s Day wondering if you are, in fact, a mother? 900,000-1 million women in the U.S. alone face this question every year after suffering pregnancy loss.
 
“For women who experience a miscarriage during their first pregnancy, the question of motherhood is an even greater one,” says Lisa Church of HopeXchange, a company dedicated to the support of women and their families facing pregnancy loss.
 
Mother’s Day is the most difficult holiday a woman must face after pregnancy loss. A time that was supposed to be a celebration of a new life and a new motherhood becomes a time of sadness and grief. Church’s book, Hope is Like the Sun: Finding Hope and Healing After Miscarriage, Stillbirth, or Infant Death, encourages women to use the holiday to remember their babies, rather than making it a dreaded event to endure each year. “Nothing will lesson the pain of Mother’s Day, but with some planning you can make sure the day has meaning for you,” says Church. Here are some tips from the book that can help:
 
You Are a Mother.
 
The best gift you can give yourself on Mother’s Day is the acknowledgment that you are a mother. You may not have a baby to hold in your arms, but you do have one in your heart.
 
Let Your Family Know What You Need.
 
If you feel uncomfortable being recognized as a mother at a banquet or other function, substitute an activity you would feel good about. If you would rather not receive or wear a flower, then wear an item that helps you to connect with your baby, such as a piece of jewelry that includes the baby’s birthstone.
 
Remember Your Baby.
 
Mother’s Day can be a great time for a husband and wife to talk about their baby and what the baby meant to them. Take a walk, have a quiet dinner, or just set aside some time to remember your baby together.
 
Decide Ahead of Time.
 
The way you chose to spend Mother’s Day should be your decision- and one you make ahead of time. Setting time aside to remember and talk about your baby will make you “feel” more like a mom on the very day designed to do that. Church also reminds women that their spouses may experience similar feelings on Father’s Day, “so be sure to ask how he would like to spend the day.”
 
We run this article each year to help grieving Moms handle Mother’s Day.