Silent Grief and Unspoken Sadness: Dealing with Infertility, Perinatal Loss, and other Pregnancy Issues

Posted By: on July 26, 2014
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Pregnancy and conceiving not only brings joy, excitement, and great changes, but it can be a time when couples grow and connect while looking forward and anticipating the future. For these reasons, when these exciting times don’t turn out as planned, it can bring a number of challenges emotionally, physically, mentally, and sometimes spiritually.

The Many Struggles of Pregnancy

Pregnancy can include a multitude of trials and tribulations, including

  • fertility struggles,
  • pregnancy loss, and/or
  • health issues during pregnancy.
  • These struggles affect

  • the individual and couple,
  • the family unit,
  • friendships,
  • and various other important relationships as well.
  • Stress, anxiety, and depression are common experiences during these challenges, all which can be overwhelming and exhausting.

    How do we as individuals, couples, and families cope?

    Understanding some of the Many Struggles

    Miscarriage, also known as spontaneous abortion, is defined as the body’s natural termination of pregnancy before 20 weeks gestation. Most miscarriages occur within the first 13 weeks. A stillbirth is a fetal death that occurs after 20 weeks gestation. Neonatal death occurs when an infant dies within 28 days following a live birth. These deaths can be due to a variety of medical complications. It is natural to feel bombarded by mixed emotions when you receive the news that you cannot conceive or bare children, or that your infant has not survived. Although these mixed emotions are overwhelming and often confusing, understand that the grieving process for both infertility and perinatal loss is individualized and there is no “right”or “wrong”way to process and cope.

    Taking Care of Yourself is the FIRST Key

    You may experience

  • feelings of extreme sadness and loss.
  • feeling cheated or betrayed, or
  • feeling something is wrong with you.
  • struggling to make meaning of your challenges and/or loss.
  • Taking care of yourself for yourself and your family, is the best way to process these experiences in a healthy manner. It may be difficult to think about right now, but good lifestyle choices will help your body to heal, and sometimes the best way to nourish a hurting soul is to take care of the physical needs first.

    Take Your Time

    At this stage of your life, it is important to acknowledge the grieving process, whatever that means to you. Take as much time as you need. Let it happen in your own way and on your own timeline.

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    Get Help – You Don’t Have to Be Alone

    Infertility and Perinatal death is tragic, but there are many ways of coping. There is no one method that is perfect for everyone. Your bereavement process can be as unique as you are. These experiences are difficult and challenging, and you can find real relief at the hands of a trained mental health professional to help support and guide you in your healing process. In Fort Collins, Shoshanna Shachtman, Ed.D., LPC, NCC (and the author of this post) specializes in grief and loss issues, and you can read about her credentials, care, and experience here.

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