Talk, talk, talk and talk some more > This month is dedicated to National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness. Originating in the United States, the commemoration has been promoted by the stillbirth alliance so that it is now recognised across much of Europe.
The key objective is to raise awareness that stillbirth, miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy and other forms of neonatal death are sadly common and yet in our culture it is not ‘done’ to talk about them. Death is a difficult subject to discuss and death of a child is even more agonising. But society’s reluctance to discuss perinatal loss deprives the grieving of much needed love and counselling.
Tonic’s therapists break through this taboo by simply encouraging clients to talk *. Having someone there just to listen to your story is so important to the process of recovering from perinatal loss. The starting point is to recognise not only is there the loss of your child, but there is the loss of your dreams, hopes and a future for this new life. Women are particularly vulnerable to perinatal depression or anxiety due to the hormonal upheaval experienced following childbirth/miscarriage. Though men also experience depression following the loss of a baby, they are less likely to seek help, instead immersing themselves in work.
Although you can experience grief without depression, the grief cycle often begins with shock and numbness, and as that wears off, the raw emotions of profound sadness and anger follow on. The most important thing to do is to talk and talk and talk. Start if possible with your partner, plus talk to your doctor who may well prescribe anti-depressants. Also have the courage to speak to trusted friends and seek out a trained psychotherapist specialising in reproductive mental health *.
But whatever you do, do not bottle up your grief. Know that you will heal and your pain will lessen. You will never forget your baby, but you will walk through the grief and move into the next chapter of your life with acceptance. There is no deadline for grief and there is no shortage of people who can help you live through it.
Footnotes: * This type of therapy is better suited to face-to-face consultations rather than Tonic’s less personal style of therapy-by-phone. Search out an approved hypnotherapist in your area plus seek advice from the NCT (helpline 0300 330 0700). The NHS website also offers valuable guidance.