Friday, 18 April 2008

Now that my baby is gone...

‘When Tolu was fifteen days old, I noticed that she was breathing in a strange way – making little grunting noises. I called my husband and we both went to the hospital, only to be told by the doctors that my baby had a defective heart. The surgery took place two days later. But instead of getting better, Tolu started looking frail and this alarmed me. She went in for the second surgery, and by now she had become too weak to undergo the third one.

The doctor could not close the hole in Tolu’s heart and after two frightening weeks, Tolu died. All our hopes and dreams were dashed. I would wake every day with my mind full of my baby – so my Tolu is dead! No day went by without my asking “Why?”

Why me? Why my Tolu? It took a while before I could understand and accept that it was not my fault. With lots of support from my husband, relatives and friends, I’ve come to live one day at a time.’ --Words from a grieving mother.

Losing a pregnancy can be very devastating, no matter when it happens or what the circumstance. Experiencing pregnancy loss can bring about a profound change in the mother. It is normal to feel shock, grief, guilt, anger, depression, and a sense of failure. Or, the mother may feel withdrawn and moody, especially if she had told people that she was pregnant before.

But with time comes healing. It is important to give yourself time to heal. There is no need for the mother to pressure herself into getting past the sadness quickly. Although it may seem painful to talk about, sharing the story about the loss will allow the woman to feel less alone and will help her heal. Understanding and support may come from unexpected people.

Also, it is good to remember that men and women grieve in different ways. If your partner doesn't seem to be affected by the loss as deeply as you are, understand that men and women grieve differently. While women tend to express their feelings and look for support from others, men tend to hold their feelings inside and deal with loss on their own. Likewise, men often feel they need to take care of their partners by remaining strong. Sharing one’s feelings and needs gives both parties the freedom to experience the loss in their own way.

Many women who experience pregnancy loss go on to have successful pregnancies. Once the pain of their grief subsides, the women and her partner can talk about whether to attempt another pregnancy and, if so, when she’d like to try again. Another pregnancy may yield feelings of sadness for her earlier loss — but it may also inspire hope for the future.

By Adanma Ike

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