Thursday, September 19, 2013

There is no Shame

Whether it's your loss or somebody else's, blame and shame must be eliminated from how we perceive our rights to feeling about the loss of a pregnancy. We all enter into a new pregnancy with a host of notions: hopes, fantasies, high expectations and unfortunately since one out of four pregnancies is lost before thirteen weeks, we all experience our own unique set of notions about how to grieve that loss. There is no right way but the wrong way is to blame yourself or others or feel shame about a failed pregnancy.

There are many ways you can punish yourself for your loss. What ifs and what I did, what I didn't do and I don't deserves have no place in this process of grief and loss. The pain, the gut-wrenching despair has us micro-examining every second of our thoughts, feelings and behaviors during the pregnancy and self-blame becomes shame all too quickly. Don't keep this loss and the accompanying feelings a secret; find a safe person or persons who can listen to your own particular story. It probably can't be your partner; it may have to be a professional counselor. But being alone with the angst of these blame/shame feelings makes it worse.

There is no accounting for most early pregnancy losses. And there are between ten and twenty-five percent spontaneous losses for each pregnancy per the Congress of OB/GYNs in America.  We may have come to the point in medical history where we can initiate a pregnancy with the help of reproductive technologies however no one is in control over the outcome. We and our providers are ultimately not in control. Mystery remains.

Every person must deal with loss in their own way and that's okay. This kind of psychic pain  needs to be recognized for it's individuality, by yourself and others. Tell people what you need from them and tell them what doesn't help you. Time, although you may not know it, handles the continuum in it's own unique way for every person who feels this seemingly excruciating "hole in the heart". We must however face the sadness: avoidance and distraction do not make it go away.

Nothing makes it go away until every part of you is ready. Knowing that and accepting that, over time, your time frame, is how grief of this loss becomes part of your specific history, not the whole of your life. Take your time. Find someone to talk to. Be kind to yourself. And honor the process.