Soundwaves Perinatal Bereavement Support

Bereavement Support For Parents Grieving the Loss of a Baby During or Just After Pregnancy

Feeling Guilty After The Loss of a Baby December 2, 2009

Almost everyone I have met that has lost a baby due to miscarriage, stillbirth or death just after birth has felt some sense of guilt over their loss. We relive every decision, we ask ourselves “what if I did things differently, I should have…I shouldn’t have…if only I had…” These thoughts are layered upon our devastating feelings of grief, anger, resentment, etc., etc.

During my pregnancy with my stillborn twin sons, I experienced cholestasis of pregnancy, for which I was monitored by my doctors (cholestasis is a build up of bile acids in the liver which spills over into the bloodstream, causing severe itching and other symptoms, and can cause stillbirth if not monitored closely). I often felt this could very well have caused my babies’ death. My guilt over that was intense for a long time. My twins also suffered from Twin-to-Twin Transfusion Syndrome (a disease of the placenta that effects identical twin pregnancies). I felt extremely guilty about the fact that the amniocentesis taps I endured to remedy that situation perhaps ultimately harmed my babies rather than helped them (although logically I know that is the standard course of remedy and most likely did no harm). Couldn’t help myself from feeling that way, though.

Logically we know we can’t change the past. And for each one of us, nearly every decision we made under our horrific circumstances would most likely not have been different, nor would those decisions likely have changed the outcome even if we could change that past. How then, do we forgive ourselves, judge ourselves less harshly?

Unfortunately, there is no easy answer to that, especially when our perspective is so obscured by the traumatic event of losing a baby. But we can acknowledge our guilty feelings, and honestly ask ourselves why we acted the way we did under those circumstances. Did we mean to do harm to our baby or ourselves when making decisions about our prenatal care or events leading up to our baby’s death?  Of course, most likely the answer is a definite and resounding no.

So we must forgive ourselves for any perceived mistakes or errors in judgement, because we did the best we could under the circumstances. We must learn to cope with our guilt- coping means to not just getting passed it but to also understand it and learn about it and what makes you feel this way. Coping can help you to understand the guilt. And we must be kind to ourselves as we would be to anyone else under these same circumstances, knowing that guilt and resentment are so very natural and common for all of us who have lost a baby.

And if you find your guilt unbearable or overwhelming, please get help for yourself. Talking to a medical professional or therapist can help ease your feelings of intense guilt, provide you with techniques to help you to better cope with your guilt and help you to move forward in your grieving.

Hugs,

Claudia

 

Remembering Them… September 3, 2009

Eleven years ago today I found out my twin sons died at 24 weeks gestation. Two days later on September 5th I gave birth to them and saw them for the first and last time. Their short lives made an incredible impact on mine. I will be forever changed by them, and in many ways for the good.

If you’ve read some of my other posts you may know they suffered from Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome, a disease of the placenta (please see http://www.tttsfoundation.org/ for more information). My husband and I received the diagnosis approximately four weeks prior to their death. We tried desperately to save our sons  as I endured four amniocentesis taps within that four week period. The process was long and grueling. I worried constantly, but my husband never lost faith that our sons would be OK. Unfortunately, the outcome was not good.

I’ve learned a lot in the eleven years since their death. I honor the twin’s memory by writing this blog for others suffering the loss of a baby due to miscarriage (I had two), stillbirth and the death of a baby just after birth and share some of that information that I’ve learned with you. No one can truly understand the heartache of losing a baby unless they experience it themselves. My sons’ legacy for me will always be one of hope, comfort and understanding others that endure that same pain. I volunteer for the Hygeia Foundation in their memory as well. Reaching out to others has been tremendously healing and cathartic.

I truly appreciate that you have reached out to read my blog. It means you are taking the first (or the hundredth!) step toward your own healing.  I can only hope my words bring you some sense of comfort and peace.

God Bless.

In memory of Andrew Ulrich and Joseph Mark…I will love you forever.

XO-

Mommy