Healing Perinatal Loss

Healing from Perinatal Loss by Sharon Martin, LCSW #grief #loss #perinatal #neonatal #miscarriage

 

Last week I had the absolute pleasure of talking to Dr. Christina Hibbert, the host of Motherhood on Web Talk Radio about healing perinatal loss. Many of you know, this is a topic close to my heart as I experienced a loss 15 years ago.

After several years of infertility, I gave birth to triplets in October 2000. Complications led to pre-term labor and eventually the premature birth and death of all three baby girls. If you listen to my conversation with Dr. Hibbert, you’ll hear more of my personal story as well as my struggle to overcome feelings of guilt and failure.

Today, I want to focus on what helps heal perinatal loss. We all know there is no “getting over” or “forgetting about” pregnancy or perinatal loss. It is, however, possible to heal.

As I mentioned in the interview, in addition to my family, I am grateful for the caring and sensitive nurses at the hospital and for my online friend Randye. My nurses not only took care of me physically in what became a life threatening situation due to sepsis, but also created beautiful memory boxes for my daughters. And Randye was such an intregal part of my healing. She completely understood me, as she also lost triplets. I still have this copy of The Blue Day Book that she sent me to help me remember to smile when things were tough.

Healing Perinatal Loss and Miscarriage

Things you can do to begin healing:

  1. Cry. Yes, go ahead and cry. It’s a normal and healthy way to express from sadness.
  2. Connect with others who have experienced pregnancy or infant loss. If you don’t already know anyone personally, locate and online or in-person support group or message board. A therapist experienced with perinatal loss or miscarriage can also be a helpful part of healing. The important thing is to find other women who truly understand your experience and feelings.
  3. Creative expression. I found creating a scrapbook, poetry, and journaling to be healing. Other ideas are pottery, painting, music, or dance.
  4. Memorialize your child. It’s important to feel like your child’s legacy continues on. This could be as simple as a donation in his/her name to something as big as creating charity. I’ve seen some beautiful tattoos memorializing babies. I’ve planted a rose bush, lite candles and released balloons.
  5. Stay physically healthy. Whenever you are under extreme stress, it’s especially important to take care of your physical body. Try to exercise, eat well, sleep, and limit caffeine/drugs/alcohol. I know this can be hard!

You can listen to my conversation with Dr. Hibbert here:

 

October 15th is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. I will be lighting a candle in loving memory of all of our babies. Please join me.

 

 

My favorite perinatal loss resources:

Dr. Christina Hibbert

Still Standing Magazine

Remembering Our Babies October 15th

MISS Foundation

March of Dimes

Compassionate Friends

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Sharon Martin, a licensed counselor and psychotherapist in the San Jose area, specializes in helping adult children of alcoholics and others who struggle with anxiety, perfectionism, and self-criticism. She has a private psychotherapy practice in CA where she is available for online counseling. Sharon is also the author of The CBT Workbook for Perfectionism and write the blog Conquering Codependency for Psychology Today.

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