Miscarriage and infant loss can occur in a number of ways.
There is a missed, threatened, inevitable, complete, incomplete and recurrent miscarriages, stillborn loss, neonatal loss, TFMR (termination for medical reasons) and SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome).
Supporting our loved ones through these losses and grief is important and that’s what we want to raise awareness around.
Regardless of our beliefs, religion, or background, women, men, and families need our support in the process of healing and grief.
Losing a baby is an incredibly painful experience, one that affects both women and men deeply. It is a topic that our society tends to shy away from and often remains unspoken among family and friends, particularly after the initial loss. Personally, I found it difficult during my experience with a missed miscarriage at my 16-week scan. The radiographer informed me that they could not detect any heartbeat. This news was a severe turn from the excitement I felt when I saw the perfectly formed fetus on the screen. It was a chilling moment that triggered unexpected emotions. My ex-boyfriend and I sobbed uncontrollably, and our plans to take a vacation that same day turned into a holiday overshadowed by grief. Our plans of sharing news with family became a blur of emotions and then the next steps took place where I needed to book in for a dilation and curettage, often known as a D&C. My doctor was very empathetic, caring, and understanding of the situation. She booked me into the hospital the following week, where I underwent the procedure. The hospital asked me if I wanted to bury the remains, which I later regretted not doing. I also regretted not having gotten the scan pictures from the sonographer. Sometimes when we process grief, we are upset and angry and don’t know what we want to do. At the time, we feel we are making the best decision, but sometimes for closure, it’s better to take your time and think deeply and perhaps say yes to an opportunity to help us grieve and heal.
In the first three months following the loss, I only had my then-boyfriend and parents console me after the initial shock. While our families offered support and did their best to comfort us, none of my friends or extended family approached us to discuss the loss beyond the initial condolences. This is why I am writing about it now—to emphasise the importance of talking and acknowledging the grief experienced by family and friends who have suffered from miscarriage or infant loss. I know that the miscarriage affected my ex-boyfriend as much as it did me, not just in the immediate aftermath but for years to come. This year, that baby would have been celebrating their 13th birthday. Do I still think about that miscarriage, yes I do! Have I healed now from the event, yes I have!
Every person’s story is unique, but they all share a common thread, the loss of a human being that was so very wanted. I personally know a number of women who have been through the above situations and they all say one thing. I wish the stigma around miscarriage and infant loss was diminished and my immediate family and friends talked more about this with me.
Sometimes it’s hard for family and friends to come forward and ask us how we are coping because they feel it might be too personal to ask. They don’t want to upset us and bring up the pain. This is understandable and each person’s situation will be different and whether you are open to talking about it is up to you.
If you want to open up the door for communication, then let it be known you want to talk and if you are struggling then please make sure you get grief counselling, because what you are going through is valid and needs to be recognised.
This story aligns with our Introduction to Shara this week, who runs Aura And Oak Tree.
Shara offers counselling for women suffering from Miscarriage and infant loss and helps you through perinatal care.