Pregnancy & Infant Loss
You were so excited when you learned you were pregnant. In your mind, you could picture your baby’s birth, the day you would bring them home and their first birthday. You looked forward to every little milestone. You expected to watch your child grow up. Even now, you can almost feel your baby in your arms.
It feels like nobody understands your loss. Not even your partner really understands, because they’re grieving in their own way. It hurts. Likely, it hurts worse than anything you’ve ever experienced. Life doesn’t seem fair right now. You know life goes on, but it’s hard to imagine moving forward. You are going through the motions at work, with your significant other and perhaps even as you care for your other children.
But the emotion still feels overwhelming. You want to feel understood. You want a safe space to tell your story and express all of your emotions. So now you’re looking at this page and wondering if counseling might be able to help.
Miscarriage and Infant Loss are Devastating
In fact, losing a pregnancy or an infant can be one of the most emotionally devastating events a person can experience. You may have feelings of sadness, despair, guilt, anger, and disbelief. You may also feel isolated and alone. It can be difficult to talk about your loss, and friends and family. Though well-meaning, your support system may not know how to comfort you or to help you express your grief. Whether your loss occurred early or late in your pregnancy, or during/after birth, your feelings are real and valid. Those feelings need to be expressed.
I welcome people who have experienced a loss to come and share their story. During this extremely vulnerable time, I will help you process your feelings about the loss, work through your grief, and explore options for moving forward.
Types of Infant Loss
There are different types of pregnancy loss. All of them can be overwhelming and devastating.
Miscarriage: Miscarriages are pregnancy losses that spontaneously occur before the 20thweek of gestation. Approximately 15-25% of recognized pregnancies end in miscarriage.
Ectopic Pregnancy: An ectopic pregnancy is one that develops outside of the womb. About 1 in every 50 pregnancies in the United States is ectopic. An ectopic pregnancy cannot lead to the birth of a baby as there is no way to transfer the early pregnancy to the womb.
Stillbirth: Stillbirths or neonatal losses are losses that occur when a woman delivers a nonviable baby after the 20thweek of pregnancy. Each year, about 25,000 families experience a stillbirth.
Termination: Sometimes couples decide to terminate a desired pregnancy based on the medical condition of the baby, or serious risk to the mother’s life. In other cases, women decide to terminate a pregnancy for other reasons.
When you experience any type of pregnancy loss, you are faced with the devastating loss of your baby, and also with the loss of a dream. Pregnancy loss can cause you to question your body, your identity, your faith, and your hopes for the future. There is no right or wrong way to feel during this time. Everyone grieves and heals differently, even among partners.
Common Responses to Miscarriage and Infant Loss
Everyone responds differently. Some of the things you may be feeling if you experienced a miscarriage or pregnancy loss include:
- Overwhelming sorrow and sadness
- Preoccupation with what you think you did “wrong”
- Isolation and feeling like no one understands
- Anxiety about getting pregnant again
- Shock and numbness, including difficulty concentration
- Distress associated with memories of the physical loss
- Tension in your relationship with your partner
- Tension in your relationship with family and friends
- Suicidal thoughts (including suicide as a means of being with your baby)
Counseling for Pregnancy Loss Can Help
In the first weeks after a miscarriage or loss, just getting out of bed can be difficult and for some people, the emotional experiences of loss continue to interfere with their ability to work, take care of themselves or other children, or engage in other parts of their life. Some women have intrusive night mares or flashbacks about the loss. Some engage in destructive behavior or have suicidal thoughts. Others feel stuck in their grief and need help moving forward.
Therapy provides a healing space for you to work through your sadness and other intense feelings. As a therapist who has personally experienced pregnancy loss, I will guide you through this process in a way that feels safe, that is uniquely tailored to your needs, and that honors the loss of your loved one.
Common Topics in Counseling for Pregnancy Loss
While each person’s experience after pregnancy loss is different, some of the things we might address in therapy include:
- Working through painful emotions and memories
- Addressing relationship and communication issues between partners
- Coping with triggers (i.e. pregnant friends or family members; upcoming baby showers; due date and other meaningful occasions)
- Integrating the loss into your life and making meaning from a devastating situation
- Planning for the future
- Being kind and accepting of yourself as you heal
Whether you have lost one pregnancy or suffered through recurrent losses, whether your loss occurred yesterday or years ago, I am here to help. You are not alone and with help, you can heal and regain your hope.
Mourner’s Bill of Rights by Alan D. Wolfelt, Ph.D
- You have the right to experience your own unique grief
- You have the right to talk about your grief and your loved one
- You have the right to feel a wide range of emotions
- You have the right to make use of a ritual that is comforting to you
- You have the right to listen to your body and be tolerant of your physical and emotional limits
- You have the right to let the tears flow
- You have the right not to be rushed through your grief
- You have the right to search for meaning
- You have the right to your memories
- You have the right to move towards finding personal healing from grief
Begin Infant Loss or Miscarriage Counseling in Lafayette, CA
You don’t struggle alone with the sorrow, sadness, guilt, anger, hopelessness, numbness or isolation that comes with losing an infant. You can learn how to cope with triggers, make meaning of a devastating situation, and become kind to yourself again. If you would like to take the path to recovery from a traumatic loss of an infant or pregnancy, miscarriage and infant loss support can help. As a skilled therapist for miscarriage counseling and infant loss support, I can help you recover, plan for the future and feel well again. If you have questions or would like to start counseling in the Berkeley & Oakland, CA area, please feel free to contact my Lafayette, CA office. It is my goal is to provide a supportive environment for healing to help women thrive!
Other Services Offered at Nicole Kangas Counseling
In addition to providing therapy for infant loss or miscarriage, I offer a variety of individual counseling services primarily focused around women’s mental health. I want to help every woman thrive. Please contact me for wellness coaching, individual therapy, support groups for new moms & pregnant women, and couple’s and marriage counseling. I offer individual counseling for women with Trauma using EMDR, counseling for childbirth concerns, infertility, and premature baby and NICU support counseling.