Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month
One in Four
I will never forget September of 2017 I lost my baby's heartbeat. It was one of the most traumatizing experiences of my life. The loss of my child shattered my heart. The way the OBGYN and my supervisor treated me added insult to injury. Both were women. My supervisor seemed to take every chance she had to formally discipline me to include when I informed her of the loss of my pregnancy. She told me that I would need to return to work the day after my surgery and that she would have to discipline me if I did not. The OBGYN was detached and questioned, "why are you crying?" as I signed my surgical consents.
At the time of the miscarriage, I worked in a hospital system in the District of Columbia. I was not aware of any leave that employees could use for this type of tragedy. Since that time, women have become more vocal about the impacts of pregnancy and infant loss. While there has been some progress, we still have work to do. In the state of Maryland, if you work for a business that has 15 or more employees, you may be entitled to unpaid leave should you experience the loss of a pregnancy or infant. I will provide you with 7 tips below should you have the misfortune of losing your baby:
1) Talk to a counselor. I cannot stress the importance of your emotional and mental health enough after experiencing such a loss. Several red flags to look for are the following (not a comprehensive list): difficulty sleeping, eating, and/or functioning, if you are more tired than usual and irritable, you should discuss this with your OBGYN immediately.
2) Your partner that also experienced the loss should speak with a counselor as well.
3) Find ways and time to care for yourself (sleep is important, rest when you can).
4) If you have a support system available, ask them to help (cook meals for you, fold clothes, pick up other children from school, etc.)
5) Be kind to yourself.
6) When you are ready to talk about it, find safe people (people that will validate your feelings and not diminish them) to talk about it with (support groups are a great way to learn to do this).
7) It's okay to not be okay (ask for help from your OBGYN, primary care provider, and a counselor).
I have embedded a link below to a great article about grieving after a miscarriage published by Psychologytoday.com (I do not own the rights to the content within this link):
Author: Alita-Geri Carter, MSN, RN, CPNP-PC