Monday, April 23, 2012

"I don't even have a picture..."

I recently met with a group of doulas to discuss pregnancy loss and subsequent pregnancies after loss. We had a great discussion that inspired blog posts of the future. Today I wanted to write about supporting women after a pregnancy loss in which they received few pictures and other memory making opportunities. I can speak as a doula that has supported this type of client and as a woman that has lived through this same scenario. In addition to the anxiety of subsequent pregnancies after loss, there can be a lot of feelings of guilt for having so few memories of the first pregnancies. We often hear the women express this sadness and guilt by saying, "We don'g even have a picture." Now can serve as the opportunity to make memories. Some suggestions: -purchase/make a stuffed animal for the baby lost. This animal can be used to labor with, brought to the hospital/birthing center, included in pictures, etc. -write letters to the baby lost to express emotions, thoughts, fears, etc. -suggest finding or creating artwork for the baby lost. -make a piece of memory jewelry (see under the resources tab) -donate/volunteer to charitable organizations in the name of babe. These can be great opportunities to do things together as a family. Take pictues and ask for a certificate of donation (many places will make you one if you feel comfortable sharing your story). I would recommend including a little story sharing in the birth plan, especially if there are specifics you want hopsital staff to understand. Also, a support person can be sure to make sure these requests are respected (i.e. the stuffed animal is never moved to the side in the labor room). There are so many powerful emotions relating to birth, especially after loss. Birth is a metaphor for parenthood for so many people, whether they know it conciously or not. Allowing a mother to address some of the guilt from the pregnancy loss and redirecting it to new positive memories is a great lesson for parenting an Earth baby.

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