Ask Dr Moore
ASK DR.MOORE August 20, 2004
Bereavement and Fetal Loss
Dr.Moore: Handsome happy-go-lucky vice-presidential hopeful Sen. John Edwards is a "bereaved parent". His teenaged son died in a car accident. Their decision to have two more children was different than some 50-year-old parents might have made, none-the-less right for them.
Mothers who miscarry or deliver a stillborn baby have a particularly under-recognized burden. That is, family and friends do not realize how important that unborn child was in the parents lives. Complicating matters is the combined grieving of the father and sometimes older siblings with its resulting stress on relationships.
Fetal demise is very common. It has been estimated to involve as much as 65-75% of all conceptions. Albeit, many occur before the woman knows she is pregnant. The vast majority occur in the first trimester. Still, when it happens to you, you may feel like you're the only one who has ever had a miscarriage.
When a fetal demise occurs, there will be bleeding or spotting, the uterus contracts and there is a delivery of the fetus. Sometimes, parts of the placenta do not completely detach and must be removed manually with a minor surgical procedure (D & C or D & E). It is no surprise that the emotional healing takes significantly longer than the physical recuperation.
Recognizing grief and allowing yourself time to pass through its stages--denial,
anger, bargaining, depression and guilt, then acceptance, is the beginning
of this recovery. Some personal suggestions: 1. Share your feelings
with others. 2. Keep busy. 3. Be active and exercise regularly. It releases
mood-lifting endorphins and helps you sleep better. 4. Watch your diet
and your health. 5. Delay important decisions. 6. Be mindful of the
family you have 7. Join a support group, such as SHARE. A listing of
this and other resources can be found at: http://washingtonpublishers.com/resources.htm
8. Finally, if you need it, do not hesitate to get professional help.
Remember--take one day at a time.
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