As many as one in four pregnancies end in miscarriage. Though common, it is a painful loss for those that experience it. Often not talked about, miscarriage can be hard to talk about especially where the loss is experienced before friends and family are even aware of the pregnancy. Miscarriage refers to loss of a pregnancy up to 23 weeks. For many women this is a one-off though painful event. When a woman experiences several miscarriages, the distress can be greatly increased as hopes for a baby feel increasingly difficult to manage. The cause of a miscarriage is often not known, leading to confusion and guilt. Talking about the experience and processing the loss in a safe supporting counselling environment can help you accept your feelings at your own pace.
Loss of a pregnancy after 23 weeks is known as a stillbirth. Often complicated by the birth experience woman can be left traumatised and depressed by the experience. Guilt is one the most common emotions experienced after suffering a miscarriage and stillbirth. People blame themselves believing they may have been able to have prevented the loss in some way. Perhaps a funeral or ritual to mark the loss has been especially difficult to manage. Counselling gives you the space to talk about these difficult events with space to reflect and recover.
Whether managing feelings around a very early miscarriage or a stillbirth, emotions can run high. Anxiety, guilt and depression are common and normal. Maybe you feel the need to seek answers, find a reason or a cause for your experience, or perhaps you push the experience away unable to think about it for fear of becoming overwhelmed. Maybe it has been difficult to share feelings with friends and family, counselling provides the opportunity talk about feelings without concern that that they might upset or burden others.
Grief is not linear; you may have good days and return to mourning for a period. There is no right way to recover. Many women and their partners experience depression, anger and numbness. It is not uncommon for relationships to become strained as each partner manages the loss in different ways. Counselling may be useful to think about your thoughts and feeling with someone who will gently support you.
Loss of a baby after birth can be especially difficult even if you have been prepared by medical staff who have identified life a limiting condition. Neonatal loss refers to the death of a baby after birth but before they reach 4 weeks of age. Later unexplained deaths are known as SIDS (Sudden infant death syndrome, formerly cot death). The Lullaby Trust found there were 247 SIDS recorded in 2015 alone. Whatever the circumstances surrounding the loss of a new baby the emotional impact can be deeply distressing. Counselling can provide space to talk about your baby and help you express feelings.
I am an accredited professional with The Foundation for Infant Loss.