You have suffered a terrible loss.
Losing a baby, whether during pregnancy or just after birth is considered “out of the normal order” of life, which makes this type of loss particularly painful. As well, a perinatal loss is often misunderstood by society, which can make the grieving process even more difficult.
We hope this booklet will help you understand what can make a perinatal loss different, how you can help yourself through this process, and how others can support you.
WHAT MAKES THIS TYPE OF LOSS DIFFERENT?
We all know death is a part of life, but most of us don’t expect to lose a child, especially before he or she is born, or shortly after birth.
Whether your baby died because of a miscarriage, or because you made the hard decision of ending the pregnancy for any reason, or your baby died once born, you may be experiencing what is called “disenfranchised grief.” “Disenfranchised grief” means that you are mourning the death of your baby, but that you may feel you can’t talk about it or share your pain with others because it is considered unacceptable to others.
Most people do not understand that even if your baby wasn’t born yet—as in the case of a miscarriage or a pregnancy termination—you were already feeling attached to your child. In the case of stillbirth, people may find it hard to deal with the fact that babies can die at birth. Whatever the case, because of society’s discomfort with this topic, you can feel that it’s best not to talk about your grief because it makes others feel uncomfortable, which can make it even more intense. This is what disenfranchised grief is: unlike the funerals we attend, and the comfort and visits we offer other mourners when they have lost a loved one, those who have suffered a perinatal loss often do not receive the same type of care and attention.