Unfortunately, Kidspot writer Jo Walsh is very familiar to the realities of pregnancy loss, having experiences an ectopic pregnancy, a 20-week stillbirth and eight miscarriages.
She has 10 words of experience (from another mum, not a medical expert) to share with anyone else who may be going through the same thing:
1. Follow your feelings
Even if you think you’re being silly, don’t ignore the “feeling in your waters”. Take those feelings to the doctors or midwives, share your fears and ask your questions.
2. Don’t give up, but don’t try too hard!
It’s emotionally exhausting dealing with loss after loss. Sometimes it pays to take the pressure away and let what will be, be. Jo says they stopped trying so hard and putting so much expectation on themselves, and eventually they had a happy outcome.
3. Fight for your beliefs
If it helps you to create a memorial or have a funeral, then do it. If you want one more scan, make sure you ask for it. Don’t feel bullied into accepting what the doctors think is right; only you know what’s truly right for you.
4. Understand the “safe period”
Although most miscarriages occur before 12 weeks, it’s important to keep on top of your feelings and address anything that seems wrong after this date.
5. Talk to the sonographers at length
Find a helpful sonographer and ask them everything you need to. You might learn so much that by the end of it you can tell the sex for yourself!
6. Create a support network
Not only will your partner will be invaluable in understanding what you’re going through during this time, but friends and family will also want to support you as much as they can. Don’t be afraid to call on them.
7. Read all the info you can – then forget it!
There’s tonnes of information on every single aspect of pregnancy, but remember that a lot of it will come from different beliefs, different experiences, or different studies. This can get confusing and contradictory. The best support is a face-to-face, straightforward, question and answer session with someone who knows about your pregnancy. Your midwife may even offer support after loss.
8. Create a lasting memory
This can be however you see fit; a funeral, planting a tree, creating a scrapbook memory. The grieving process can be lengthy, sometimes a physical reminder of the baby that’s gone can be a great help in the healing process.
9. Stop the “blame game”
Don’t fret over the alcohol you had before you knew, how much you exercised, or something you ate that was a day past its best before date. In most cases, it’s simply not your fault.
10. Filter advice
Even the advice in this article! You’ll be getting guidance from every direction as soon as people find out about your loss. Take on what you need, let go of what you don’t need and only use what seems logical to you.
If you have experienced loss and need someone to talk to, a great place to start is SANDS, an organisation providing support for those who’ve experienced miscarriage, stillbirth, or newborn death.