What can you do to ease your pain and loss after a still birth or miscarriage?
For many couples having a baby is not a simple exercise, and there are countless obstacles and stages to pass before that baby is brought home. From my work as a Therapeutic Reflexologist, Bereavement Counselor, Logotherapy, Somatic Experience (trauma therapy) and Mental imagery practitioner, I have come to believe that the support women need on their journeys from conception to birth is a whole-istic (holistic) approach where the MIND, BODY and SOUL are treated as one.
When there is devastating news from the doctor that there is no heart beat anymore, at any stage of the pregnancy, this can bring about tremendous loss and indescribable pain. When this happens in the third trimester or at the time of birth, women (and their partners) report feeling so shattered or empty by this incredible and unfathomable deep loss. The extent of this loss is often not comprehended to the depth of the pain you feel. The support system around you might not have the words of comfort that you need, and the truth is there might not even be words to comfort you. The pain is so great.
This loss that you experience is often connected to the potential and hope for a baby that will not materialize, and will never be.
Doctors give reassurances or say, “Wait a while and you can try again.” This approach does not help one bit, because the pain is so real and has not been acknowledged or processed. One cannot just put on a smile when inside you are torn apart.
What can you do with the hurt, the pain, and the loss?
Couples don’t know what to do with this new reality. There are two aspects to deal with; the physical loss as well as the emotional loss. There could also be a traumatic aspect as well which could be connected to the way in which the pregnancy ended.
From an emotional perspective I encourage my patients to speak about their feelings and emotions. Logotherapy Counseling helps people turn their ‘why me?’ questions into ‘what now?’ responses. It helps someone find their way through the struggle of what just happened and builds them up to be able to continue. That pain that you are experiencing needs to be heard. You deserve this. It is also helpful to have bereavement counseling for this loss. If there was trauma involved then Somatic experience – emotional first aid for trauma is highly recommended in helping your nervous system calm down from your ordeal and discharge (or renegotiate) the trauma. My recommendations to couples are that both aspects need to be addressed. From the physical perspective, we can use Imagery and Reflexology to help towards building a strong internal reproductive system, balance the hormones, and bring in healthy eating and lifestyle choices. We can take the vitamins and omegas, but we need to deal with the emotional loss as well.
In the course of life when there is a death, this is marked with some type of ceremony or funeral, and a mourning period. This is a very important step towards healing and closure. However in the case of a stillborn child or miscarriage, there is no ceremony, no funeral, and couples could be left feeling like they are just dangling, not knowing how to move forward, and not even wanting to.
How can you mark this event so that you can move towards healing?
Emotional healing can take place once the pain has been acknowledged. My suggestion to couples is that just because there was no funeral; it doesn’t mean that there should not be some kind of ritual to mark the event. I like them to think of something meaningful that they can do that will help them to begin healing.
Ideas or suggestions that have worked are:
• Buy something from the nursery to plant in the garden, something that appeals to you, something meaningful or special. It could be a rose bush, a fruit tree or a water feature. Dedicate this in your mind to your loss.
• Dedicate some time as a couple or on your own (whatever your needs are) to speak about the loss. This could be any type of ritual from a special dinner together, a candle-lit bath, lighting a candle or listening to a certain piece of music that is healing. If you are musical you could compose and dedicate a song which could be very meaningful.
• Write a letter or poem to your baby expressing your pain, heartache and devastation.
Whatever you have chosen to do, have in mind that this ritual is dedicated to saying ‘goodbye’, to acknowledging that there was life that is no more, and to invite a healing into your heart.
The important idea behind these rituals is your intention. Your intention is to acknowledge that you have had a loss. You have now done something tangible and physical to mark this loss in the hope of bringing acceptance to your body and soul. It is also very important to note that there is no set time to how long it will take for you to heal or to begin healing. Perhaps you will even do a combination of the above suggestions, or find what is meaningful for you. Be kind to yourself. Take small steps towards healing, and know that you don’t have to do this alone.
I have seen how this ritual has brought a sense of peace to many patients that I have worked with, and once we are at a place like this, then we are able to focus on moving forward, and invite future blessings into our lives.
If you would like some support as you process your loss, please feel free to be in touch with me. Please feel free to contact me to book a session. Trauma, bereavement or logotherapy sessions can be done effectively on zoom.
Reflexology is recommended for any physical imbalances that need balancing. Bereavement counseling combined with Logotherapy will help and support you as you process this life change and immense loss. Somatic experience – emotional first aid for trauma will settle your nervous system from your trauma.
I look forward to accompanying you on your journey back to yourself and to healing.