Individuals who have faced pregnancy loss often suffer in silence. Friends and family are not always able to provide the needed support, and may even cause more hurt with well-meaning statements such as “You will get pregnant again,” “You weren’t far along,” or “You already have one child.” There are subtle and not so subtle pressures to “get over it,” i.e. focus on the future and center attention on another effort to conceive. Pregnancy loss can be a very lonely experience.
Many women are indeed able to get pregnant again and succeed in carrying their pregnancy to term following a miscarriage or stillbirth. Still, the emotional legacies of their loss are real and do not simply get erased once a new pregnancy is achieved. They may come to be expressed in many different ways: anxiety during the subsequent pregnancy; a shift in the romantic relationship; feelings of pressure to do everything “right” during pregnancy and as a parent; body image issues; shame; and/or deep sadness about the loss that persists long after it took place.
Partners may also be affected by pregnancy loss in deep and unexpected ways and need support to make sense of their feelings, needs, and changed outlook. Couples often report that their romantic relationship has been negatively impacted. Conflict, feelings of isolation, resentment, and sexual difficulties are commonly experienced at the same time as the couple faces the additional stress of making decisions about whether to continue their family-building journey, put it on pause, or change directions. This can be very distressing.
Every person’s experience of pregnancy loss is their own and needs to be honored. There is not one way you should feel or think following loss. You certainly should not have to suppress your feelings, put on a brave face, and power through. Psychotherapy is a powerful means of healing post-pregnancy loss: a space to grieve without judgment, gain clarity on feelings and goals, problem-solve, improve communication, and emerge feeling more resilient.
We also work with individuals and couples who are experiencing/have experienced having their baby in the NICU, those who are adjusting to having a baby with medical challenges as well as those whose baby died in the early postpartum period.