"There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside of you."
- Maya Angelou
There are so many complex thoughts and feelings to deal with when you are trying to get pregnant, but cannot. Every month is like a roller coaster: at first you experience a building sense of hope and anticipation only to crash down into disappointment and devastation. You find yourself wishing and praying that this month you will not get your period. You wonder if every new body sensation is a sign that you are pregnant. You would give anything just to see a positive result on that pregnancy test. You look around and see pregnant women everywhere, and just wish that you could be pregnant, too. Maybe you finally do get pregnant, only to deal with the seemingly unbearable pain of a miscarriage. It is not easy to be stuck in what feels like a never-ending cycle of hope and disappointment on your journey to motherhood. With psychotherapy, you can get support in managing your intense feelings and learn how to better navigate the highs and lows of the infertility process.
One minute you are celebrating your pregnancy- a mixture of excitement, fear and full of possibility. Some days it seems so surreal that there is a baby growing inside of you. But, one day, something changes. Out of nowhere, you hear the words "we can't find a heartbeat" or you start to cramp and bleed. Suddenly your whole world is turned upside again, but this time not with excitement. You feel shock. You feel both physical and emotional pain. What started as a dream has turned into a nightmare. People don't know what to say to you. Some say nothing. Sometimes it's hard to talk about. Sometimes you want someone to acknowledge what is going on. Your baby was once growing inside of you and now you are empty. A compassionate psychotherapist can walk by your side in this time of shock, confusion and pain. She can provide you with support, resources and ways to cope.
Still Birth and Infant Death
For most of us, when we think of the worst thing that can happen, we imagine a baby dying. For you, there is no imagining or guessing. For you a baby dying- your baby dying- is a reality. You went into the hospital to give birth to your new baby, and you leave empty-handed. No mother should have to leave a hospital empty-handed. Yet, here you are. The numbness, shock, pain may consume you. Perhaps at times it doesn't feel real. You don't know how to process what has happened and you don't want to accept the reality. People who don't know what has happened ask you "how's the baby"? How do you even answer this? People who know ask you "how are you"? But you don't know how to described how you are. There are not words big enough or powerful enough to express how you feel. Psychotherapy can offer you a safe space to hold your pain. A place to explore, talk, cry, rage. A place to feel heard and understood. A place where you are allowed to feel what you feel. I am here for you, click here to send me an encrypted email so that we can get started.
If you or someone you know is struggling with the impact of infertility, pregnancy loss, neonatal or infant death, please know that there is help available. Below, you will find some resources for information, education and support. Many women find solace in connecting with other women who have experienced a similar struggle or loss. Many women find some relief in going to see a therapist. If you are suffering, please reach out. You are not alone. There is a path towards healing.
Online Resources for Support and Information
Resolve: The National Infertility Association www.resolve.org
Mass General Women’s Health (infertility) http://www.womensmentalhealth.org
Miscarriage Hurts www.miscarraigehurts.com
Return to Zero, HOPE (pregnancy loss and infant loss) http://rtzhope.org
UNITE Grief Support After Miscarriage, Stillbirth and Infant Death (in-person support groups) http://unitegriefsupport.org
Three Little Birds (infertility, pregnancy loss and infant loss) http://www.threelittlebirdsperinatal.org
Reconceiving Loss: (pregnancy loss and infant loss) https://reconceivingloss.com
Empty Arms: Coping With Miscarriage, Stillbirth and Infant Death by Sherokee Ilse
Empty Cradle, Broken Heart: Surviving the Death of Your Baby by Deborah L. Davis
Miscarriage: A Shattered Dream by Cherokee Isle and Linda Hammer Burns
Miscarriage: Women sharing from the Heart by Shelly Marks and Marie Allen
Surviving Pregnancy Loss: A complete sourcebook for women and their families by Rochelle Friedman and Bonnie Gradstein
Unsung Lullabies: Understanding and Coping with Infertility by Janet Jaffe, David Diamond and Martha Diamond
Unspeakable Losses: Healing From Miscarriage, Abortion, And Other Pregnancy Loss by Kim Kluger-Bell
Erin Jameson Saltzburg, MSSW, LCSW is experienced in working with reproductive mental health and pregnancy loss. In addition to this website, she created a website, Infertility and Perinatal Loss, dedicated to providing information and resources to women dealing with infertility, miscarriage, still birth and neonatal and infant death. Please go to www.unsunglullaby.com for more information.