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Self-Advocacy to Cope With Pregnancy Loss

Updated: Jan 5, 2022




Losing a child is a traumatic event. The loss of a child has a number of implications for families. The grievance process is without an end date. Grief affects the mental, emotional and physical well-being of people. People tend to underestimate the effects of pregnancy loss. Women who experience pregnancy loss are typically not encouraged to talk and communicate their needs. It makes their condition even worse and extends the duration of post-traumatic stress.


What is the Psychological Impact of Pregnancy Loss?


Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) isn't confined to soldiers on the battlefield; it can happen to anyone after a traumatic event -- including pregnancy loss. About 10 to 20 percent of known pregnancies end in miscarriage. But the actual number is likely higher because many miscarriages occur very early in pregnancy — before you might even know about a pregnancy.. While some women may not develop mental health issues after the loss, one in three women suffering from anxiety, depression as well as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) for up to several months after early pregnancy loss. Women who suffer from pregnancy loss experience flashbacks, nightmare, trauma, and isolation. The culture of silence and secrecy deters people from speaking out and getting the psychological support they need.


Medical follow-up after a miscarriage does not take into account counselling for women to deal with pregnancy loss. The usual practice of treatment after pregnancy loss does not include the psychological support provided to depressed women. Pregnancy-related distress and anxiety can have a significant impact on people's mental, emotional and physical health and quality of life. Pregnancy loss has a long-term impact on women and can affect their behaviour, social engagement, physical and mental well-being. The psychological impacts of pregnancy loss on one woman are often poorly assessed by others, which is compounded by the culture of silence. This is one of the reasons self-advocacy training is important to empower people to have their voices heard.


What is the Emotional Impact of Pregnancy Loss?


When a woman suffers from pregnancy loss, she experiences a multitude of emotions. If you are a woman and have experienced pregnancy loss, you likely share these emotions and feelings with other women. It is important that you find a local group that you can attend for additional support.


1. Grief


The feeling of not being able to meet and hold the baby is very overwhelming for couples who are experiencing this loss. The road to motherhood begins on the day a woman conceives. While some people ignore this grief considering that the baby is not born yet, it is quite difficult for the woman who suffered a miscarriage to overcome this grief.


2. Sense of failure, shame and guilt.


Women suffering from pregnancy loss have this sense of guilt as if they have failed to take care of their baby like a mother. Approximately 50 percent of first trimester miscarriages are due to a chromosome abnormality in the fetus.


3. Feeling of Emptiness


The moment a woman receives the news that she is pregnant, she cares and does her best to do everything necessary to ensure a healthy pregnancy. When a woman miscarries, the absence of the human being who once lived in her womb creates a feeling of loneliness. Such a feeling cannot be easily ignored.


4. Loss of Control


When a woman is pregnant, there is an overwhelming sense of uncertainty and lack of control over the developing fetus. Even if the baby gets nutrition and protection from the mother, she has no control over the outcome.


5. Fear and Jealousy


Following loss of pregnancy, a woman experiences fear and anxiety about future pregnancies. Lack of psychological counselling and emotional support elicits deep fear among women who underwent miscarriage. Many feel envious, resentful or unable to be happy for someone else when they announce their pregnancy or the birth of their baby.


Dealing With Pregnancy Loss – What is the Importance of Self-Advocacy?


Self-advocacy is one of the pillars of coping with pregnancy loss. Women who self-advocate can express their needs, express their emotions and share their grief with others. These women recognize the problems that affect them and find solutions to help them overcome their loss. The Following are the three elements of self-advocacy women must consider when starting their journey of self-advocacy.


1. Self-awareness


Women who experienced pregnancy loss should be aware of their current psychological, emotional, physical, and social state.


2. Know What You Need


Identifying their needs and communicating them to their family members and health care providers is imperative.


3. How to Get What You Need?


Approaching a counsellor to provide psychological support and accepting emotional support from friends and family is an excellent way to achieve mental and emotional stability.

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