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Monday, October 29, 2012

Miscarriage, Infertility & Stillbirth - Things You Should Know (Morning CL Mtg 10/23/12)

Melissa Scapa spoke to the women in Morning Carelink about dealing with the grief that is associated with infertility, stillbirth and miscarriage. I think the moms were dreading this topic and expecting to shed a lot of tears, yet that's not particularly what happened! Melissa did a fabulous job of sharing through her experience of miscarriage some of her thoughts and feelings, the cycle of grief and just some good things to do and not do if you have a friend who has gone through any of these very difficult situations.
 
Melissa and her friend, Amy, started a support group for women who have gone through miscarriage, infertility or stillbirth. Glory Babies is run through Central Christian Church (Rock Rd & 29th St.). You can learn about meeting times, read articles or get in contact with them at www.glorybabies.blogspot.com or glorybabies@hotmail.com.
 
Things to keep in mind
No one seems to acknowledge the loss when it's a miscarriage or stillbirth (especially if you've chosen to tell no one). No funeral. No meals. Lack of support, encouragement & prayer. The loss is no less real (as compared to losing an elderly parent or grown child), but the response is much different. And this can lead to feelings of "Am I crazy? Should I not be so upset, sad, distraught? Life is moving forward for others, why am I still so sad."
  
After miscarrying and then later having a healthy child at home, Melissa found herself constantly checking on him. Sneaking into his room to feel his heart beating or chest rising. She realized she had an issue with fear. Fear of something happening to this child. Melissa realized she wasn't really trusting God. She lacked joy because she was always worrying about the future. She committed to trusting God more fully by believing what she knew to be true: God knows best.
  
A loss (of any kind - not even death) can have a ripple effect of other losses in our lives. A miscarriage is the initial loss, but others follow like: missing all the "firsts", no big 1st birthday party, a due date without a delivery, etc.
  
Don't expect to "get back to the Old You". That person is probably gone forever. Certainly, you can find a new normal, but losses like these don't just go away. Like a scar that never completely heals and alway leaves a reminder.
  
Stages of Grief
Melissa pointed out the fact that most of us will cycle through these stages of grief more than once. We work through them the first time and it's a long and hard process, but then something will trigger in us a reaction that sends us back to anger or extreme sadness and then we proceed through the steps again. She said hopefully, each time through will be less difficult and take us less time.
  1. shock & denial
  2. anger - often misplaced
  3. extreme sadness or depression
  4. bargaining (Lord, I promise...., if only you'd give us a healthy baby.)
  5. acceptance
  
What can WE do as friends for those who have experienced miscarriage, stillbirth or infertility?
  • Don't say something that minimizes the loss. "You can always have another baby." "You could adopt."
  • Consider simply saying, "I'm sorry. Is there anything I can do for you?"
  • Never joke about when your friends are going to have kids. We never know what circumstance they may be dealing with.
  • Remember. Send a card on the due date. Ask how she's doing. Call for a visit.
  • Melissa's friend sent a note to her friend who'd had a miscarriage letting her know that the next Sunday they would be announcing their new pregnancy. Her friend had a chance to prepare for it or be absent.
  • Melissa had another friend who was planning a baby shower, but new of a friend who'd experienced a recent miscarriage, so they sent her a personal note in her invitation stating how welcome she was to attend but understanding if she may want to excuse herself from the festivities given the hardship it might place on her emotionally. It was both inviting and yet considerate of her circumstances and feelings.

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