stillbirth

Mamas on Bedrest: Coping with Pregnancy Loss

March 14th, 2011

I got yet another heartbreaking e-mail last week. A grandmother-to-be was writing on behalf of her daughter. Her daughter is pregnant with her first child and at the 20 week office visit some anomalies were noted on ultrasound. Further evaluation showed that the fetus has malformation of blood vessels and some other anomalies consistent with a chromosomal defect. Physicians have recommended terminating the pregnancy. This mother/grandmother to be was calling to see if there are any resources that I could share to help her daughter deal with this devastating blow.

There is no easy way to help a mother who is losing or who has lost a child.  I know this first hand because I suffered such loss myself-twice. There are no words to describe the grief of losing a child. You cry. You ache. You keep thinking, hoping, that’s it’s a bad dream and you’ll wake up soon. You hope that the OB missed something, that the baby was turned in some funny way and that’s why the heartbeat couldn’t be detected. Your mind does all these tricks in an attempt to shield you from the pain. But in the end, you have to feel the pain and endure its excruciating sting.

In the meantime, it’s a very powerless feeling to watch someone you love deal with this burden, so I can only imagine this mother/grandmother’s pain. On the one hand, she is grieving the loss of her grandchild. At the same time, she has to watch her daughter, her own baby, endure such unspeakable pain and not be able to take that pain away. I think that this pain is sometimes harder to endure. Ask any mother and they will quickly tell you that they would rather suffer themselves than to see their children suffer in any way.

The loss of a pregnancy or child is never easy. Even after time, there can still be considerable pain and sadness – especially surrounding the date of birth or death of the child. One thing is certain, the little life that is too soon over is never forgotten.

There are many wonderful resources and supports available to grieving families and below are just a few. They will also be posted in our Resources Section.

Comeunity – This website provides information and resources to families of premature infants and children and children with special needs. I particularly like the listing of helpful books and resources.

SHARE: Pregnancy and Infant Loss Support – A national organization providing resources and support following the loss of a pregnancy or child. I especially like their page telling family and friends what not to say.

Mommies Enduring Neonatal Death (MEND) – A Christian, non-profit organization that reaches out to families who have suffered the loss of a baby through miscarriage, stillbirth, or early infant death.

Mothers in Sympathy & Support (MISS) – The MISS Foundation is a non-profit, volunteer based organization committed to providing crisis support and long term aid to families after the death of a child from any cause.

Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep (NILMDTS) – This national non-profit organization assists families suffering an early infant loss with the gift of free professional portraiture. I know of a few families who have used this service and while they were initially opposed to photographing their infant are pleased to have this tangible memory of their child.

SHARE: Pregnancy and Infant Loss Support – A national organization providing resources and support following the loss of a pregnancy or child. I especially like their page telling family and friends what not to say.

The March of Dimes – A Comprehensive resource for families experiencing difficult pregnancies, preterm labor and prematurity and pregnancy loss.

The Missing Grace Foundation – A non-profit foundation started by Steve and Candy McVicar following the stillbirth of their baby daughter Grace.

I am concerned for this mother/grandmother. There will be few people who will ask her how she is faring. She may not even take time to grieve the loss being so focused on her daughter. But certainly, this mother/grandmother is as much in need of comfort as her daughter and son in law. Loss is loss. We have been corresponding and I will certainly do all that I can to support her. Hopefully she and her daughter will make use of some of the resources listed.

Pregnancy loss or the loss of a child is devastating. I am so glad that there are so many wonderful organizations and resources available to support families following the loss of a child. Please use these resources and please share this information with families in need.