Coping with Pregnancy and Infant Loss

It’s sad, but true, there is a month set aside to remember lost pregnancies and babies who pass on after birth. It is a month that has become a safe space for those grieving a loss and others trying to understand and comfort. Without a doubt, pregnancy loss is a painful part of family building. And for families who lose a child shortly after they are born or in infancy, there are no words to describe their sorrow. If you have experienced pregnancy or infant loss, you know the emotional toll and recovery period takes time to process.

The most important thing to remember is there is no right way to feel. Grief is personal in this way and no two people will grieve in the exact same manner. You may have an immediate emotional response, you may feel numb, you may experience strong emotions in the days, weeks, months, or years that follow.

In instances of pregnancy loss, some women describe a sense of disconnection or anger toward their bodies. While this is normal, it’s important to remember that punishing yourself is not a healthy way to cope. Practicing self-care and self-love is much better for you in the long run.

Sadly, some people experience difficulties in their relationships with their spouse or partner following a loss. This could be due to a number of things: differences in grieving styles, quality of marriage prior to the event, circumstances of the pregnancy or infant loss, or displacement of anger and blame onto one another. But the rate of divorce may not be as high as you think. In a 2006 study commissioned by The Compassionate Friends, the rate of divorce following the death of a child was found to be around 16%. So do not automatically assume your relationship will not survive the loss—many couples come out on the other side stronger than ever.

It is common to get emotionally “triggered” after a loss by seeing a pregnant woman or baby. It could be while attending a child’s birthday party, or going back to your doctor’s office, or even just visiting friends and family. These are normal feelings and do not make you a jealous or bitter person. But you do not have to attend every birthday party or family gathering if you know there are going to be kids or families present. It’s is okay to say no for the sake of your sanity.

Sometimes, families who have experienced pregnancy or infant loss will then experience the joy of a rainbow baby, or a baby born after a loss. Many of these rainbow babies are born through the miracle of embryo adoption. To learn more about embryo adoption and donation, visit EmbryoAdoption.org.