I HIGHLY recommend this book to anyone who has experienced pregnancy or infant loss. I was truly in awe of how relate-able it is, and the many aspects of loss it covers. This book validated my many feelings and restored a feeling of normalcy within me. For those who have not personally experienced such loss, I still recommend reading this book because YOU WILL encounter someone who has lost a baby. It gives great insight into the many burdens grieving parents must bear.
Immediately this book addressed feelings of envy that I experienced for so long. I felt extreme guilt for the feelings of disdain towards other pregnant women. I truly believed no one would appreciate a baby as much as I would. These feelings were fueled by an incident at my place of work when I returned after several days off to heal physically from my miscarriage. One co-worker always made jokes about how a boy was what I needed because girls were trouble. Unfortunately, my boss had not informed the staff of my situation before I returned, so this same co-worker asked, “How is your son doing today?” I couldn’t come up with a response, so he continued, “Oh no…don’t tell me it’s a girl”. Miscarriage makes you incredibly grateful for children in a way that some can’t relate to. I felt so alone, and so angry. I wanted to yell at him and say that I would be grateful for ANY child, and how silly he was to worry so much about gender. Dark and difficult emotions flooded my mind and heart when he found out his girlfriend was pregnant a couple of months later. He continued making jokes about how he would not be happy unless he had a boy. Suddenly, all around me were pregnant women who weren’t even trying to become pregnant. This book addresses all the above situations. It discusses how to communicate with your place of work and feelings of envy and jealousy.
One major thing I was not prepared for was the difficulty in balancing flooding emotions with the rapid drop in hormones. I had no idea how quickly hormones increase each day during pregnancy (doubled every couple of days). I was an emotional wreck during my pregnancy. I cried about EVERYTHING. I remember going to Walmart, and seeing a man with a limp, and crying to my husband about it. I felt so intensely, as I never had before. Therefore, when my hormones started dropping after my miscarriage, I experienced symptoms of postpartum depression. I have never been suicidal, but my will for living was gone. I could barely stand to get out of bed, and I cried non-stop. I also kept holding my belly out of habit, but a baby was no longer there. Perhaps what hurt most was closing the door to the nursery and not knowing when we would be able to use it. I also had a pregnancy journal which I threw away because I didn’t need the painful reminder. The book suggested having a friend or family member clean out the nursery for you when you are ready. Of course, everyone will be ready at a different time depending on their grieving style.
The relationship between my husband and I was significantly strengthened during our loss. We were keenly aware of each other’s emotional state, and frequently expressed our love and appreciation. However, this is not the case for many couples experiencing loss. The book discusses resentment for your partner who suppresses feelings or grieves at a different time or intensity. These feelings arise from a belief that your partner does not care and are often directed towards the man who may return to work the next day and pretend nothing happened. Unfortunately, the reality is that the woman who carried the baby does grieve more intensely because she was able to feel the physical connection to the baby when others may not have seen or felt it. Although my husband was incredibly supportive, I also experienced this. While he mourned MOSTLY because I was in so much pain, I was mourning the actual loss of our baby. My husband went into “protector mode” and sought to minimize my pain and sadness. If you have a partner who is repressing grief, they need to know this:
“Grief is a healthy human response that helps us cope with crisis and loss. If sorrow, anger, jealousy and resentment are not expressed, they don’t disappear. Instead they merely go underground to resurface in more debilitating forms later…when allowed to run its course, your grief will gradually lessen.”
Not only does this book cover how to deal with feelings of loss, but it also discusses becoming pregnant again from a medical standpoint, prenatal diagnoses, religion, work, and other bereaved family members. This is an absolute must-read for everyone because “nearly 1/3 of all conceptions end in some type of natural pregnancy loss” and those who have experienced a loss already are at a higher risk for consecutive losses. Become knowledgeable about the process and learn how to help the grieving.
By Summer Hilliard, HHP Volunteer & Contributor
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