There must be something wrong with me - Coping with loss
Written by: Aviva Cohen
It’s the right time in your life to get pregnant. You have found the partner of your dreams, your job is secure, you are in the best shape of your life, and frankly, you have run out of excuses! It is now or never. Then it happens-maybe quicker or slower than you had expected. That nice pink line or positive sign-depending on which test you bought-and how many times you took it to confirm your suspicions. You guys did it! You are a smashing success-now you are pregnant!
You are so excited you don’t know how you will keep this secret until you are out of the first trimester, but you do!
You tell your sister, best friend, and Mom, but even you have your limits! OK-you tell your friend at work too because she can tell immediately that you are not yourself. You go to the doctor and all signs are great. Pregnancy looks good-you are on your way! The coast is clear and you start screaming it from the rooftops! The secret is out-you are going to have a baby!
Then-the world as you know it changes forever…your water breaks at 19 weeks, tests show your baby is incompatible with life, one doctor visit there is no heartbeat-whatever the circumstances of your loss-you are experiencing one and there is nothing you can do to change it. You wish you could rewind the clock-noticed a problem-called the doctor and told him/her about it.
How could this be happening? It never happened to any of my friends. Why me? It is just not fair. The truth is loss is as much a part and possibility of pregnancy as lice is for kids that are in the woods and in their cabins at sleep away camp.
It is the BIG SECRET no one wants to talk about it. It is a taboo subject. Shhhh…she had a loss in her 5th month-there must have been something wrong with her-or it was meant to be-or the baby will be their angel in heaven. What???? That’s nonsense! You wanted this baby, and no words of comfort will make you feel any better. You feel completely alone-disconnected-heartbroken-shocked-angry.
Here are some things you should have been told before you got pregnant -1 in 4 mothers loses her child. There are 4,058,000 live births per year. There are 1,995,840 pregnancy losses per year in the U.S. 600,000 are miscarriages, 26,000 are stillbirths, and 64,000 are ectopic pregnancies. I am by no means a mathematician, numbers give me hives, but even I can see that almost half of the pregnancies every year end up in a loss. That’s a huge number! Maybe if I had known that fact on that fateful day, I would not have been so surprised and taken aback. For me, loss meant a stillborn, or a baby that died of SIDS. I did not know it could happen before delivery. I consider myself an educated, informed, enlightened woman, but this was not something I had ever been exposed to.
Now, here I was. Someone to be pitied, scorned, ignored. A pariah! I must be defective in some way, deformed, a failure. One of my patients recently told me she was, “broken”. She said, “my body did not do what it was supposed to.” As if she knows what her body should and should not be doing? What a narcissistic view of the world! I am in control of anything and everything and I decide if my pregnancy is successful?
False! Pregnancy is the one thing in our lives we CANNOT control. It is its own animal. My friend once told me that pregnancy is a “medical condition”. Who ever thought of it that way? Isn’t pregnancy candy bars and milkshakes?? No-it isn’t! It is terrifying, anxiety producing, and completely out of our control!
Yes-us type “A’’s” out there think we can manage anything and everything that comes our way-guess what? This isn’t a surgery, court hearing, or presentation we are giving. This is something much bigger than we are. It is life. Hard, and bitter at times, but often quite beautiful.
If you had a loss-no matter how it happened-you are now part of my club. We lean on one another and connect in a unique way. You are not alone! You are not broken, or defective, or a failure. You are one in 1,995,840 women. This is not the end of your story-only one of the pages. It will only end here if you let it.
This loss didn’t happen because of you-it happened in spite of you. You are not responsible for this outcome. I’m so sorry it happened to you, and wish I could make it not hurt as much as it does. What I will say is that you are NOT alone. There are many resources out there that you can look to for support and advice. You don’t need to go through this by yourself and pretend that you are o.k. Acting fine, is exhausting. You deserve to feel any way that you feel-for as long as you chose. That is something you CAN control.
For more information and support - please visit us at The Blossom Method - a supportive and resourceful center for women, couples, and families as they face the many hurdles of the child bearing years and beyond. We provide a unique combination of therapeutic and counseling services, as well as education seminars, social events, and parent to parent support services.Posted on June 04, 2013 at 8:54 PM