Working Through Grief After Pregnancy Loss

Working Through Grief After Pregnancy Loss (Part 2)

By AmarAtma Singh Khalsa
Board Certified chaplain, Adv. Grief Recovery Specialist

In the first part of this series, we discussed what grief is, how it manifests, and how to identify it. With this post, we aim to give you some tips and tools to help you with your process.

Name and feel your feelings.

Emotions express and release through the body. Feelings are like flowers, they seek to blossom and bloom.

When they fully express, they naturally wilt away and die. Emotions express through sensations of the body. Allow the release.

Name your losses

There may be past losses that are leaking into the present.

For example, the death of a parent, a move as a child, or a loss of a friend in the past may confuse the feelings you are experiencing with your fertility journey. This compounds the grief.

Name the previous losses and separate them from the current loss.

There may also be several losses concurrently taking place on your fertility journey.

Infertility may be the primary loss, however there are secondary losses that come with it such as:

  • Loss of hope, dreams, and expectations
  • Loss of trust in the body
  • Loss of trust in yourself
  • Loss of identity to be a mother or father
  • Loss of faith

Separating out the losses helps to be clear about what you are actually feeling. It gives space and clarity to what we are experiencing.

Due to the recent Roe V. Wade overturn there may be feelings of grief associated with collective grief or vicarious grief[1]. You may be sympathizing, empathizing, or associating with others about their pain and grief.

Mindfulness

Mindfulness is about present moment awareness, though the more nuanced aspect of mindfulness that helps with grief is quieting our intellectual and over-rationalizing thoughts about our loss.

We don’t drown in our feelings about grief, we drown in our thoughts about our feelings.

The looped thoughts about grief are one of the challenges many grievers face. We have a highly intellectual society, so thus serve to fix, solve and treat our emotional pain.

Mindfulness helps us to “be with what is” and in doing so release emotional distress connected to grief.

Writing a grief letter

Sometimes letting go is the hardest thing to do, but letting go is not forgetting.

A grief letter is especially helpful here. Write a letter to your baby, or babies, you’ve lost. Share with them all that you hoped and dreamed for. Share what kind of parent you wanted to be for them. Reflect on things heavy in your heart.

Remember, to grieve is to have loved.

The depth to which you are grieving is the depth to which you have loved. Let this be a love letter to your loss.

Self-Forgiveness

Guilt is one of the most powerful grief emotions.

We often feel a profound shame with the loss of a child. In doing so, many parents feel they are responsible and punish themselves endlessly. It can be tormenting. However, guilt by definition means “intent to harm.” It’s rarely your intention to hurt the baby.

For this situation self-forgiveness is supportive.

Offering yourself grace and kindness is important and learning to “treat yourself the way you might treat another.”

Grief sucks. It can be complicated and complex. If I can be of service, please reach out. I offer a 1:1 virtual grief service program.

 

AmarAtma is a Grief Coach with advanced certification as a Grief Recovery Specialist. He has spent the better part of the last decade helping hundreds and thousands of grievers working in a Trauma-1, University Hospital as a board-certified chaplain. He has a Master’s Degree in Traditional Chinese Medicine and uses a mindfulness and mind-body-spirit approach to teaching and helping grievers from the many losses that occur through life. He currently offers 1:1 virtual grief coaching teaching and helping grievers to cope and release emotional pain.

 

[1] Rando, Theresa. “Bereavemnt, Vicarious.” http://www.deathreference.com/A-Bi/Bereavement-Vicarious.html. 7/12/22. Encyclopedia of Death and Dying.