LIFE AFTER PREGNANCY LOSS AND REPRODUCTIVE LOSS
A Toolkit for Women Who Have Personally Experienced Reproductive Loss
Life after Reproductive Loss
Reactions to pregnancy and reproductive loss are as unique as fingerprints. Some women are able to process the experience relatively quickly, while others experience unrelenting pain and grief.
If you are grieving after this unique kind of loss, what can you do? You know what to do when a grandparent dies, but what do you do with your grief after pregnancy and reproductive loss? This lack of a cultural process causes “disenfranchised grief,” or grief that isn’t publicly recognized. This makes you less likely to express your thoughts and feelings, although this is a critical part of the grieving process.
3 Things to Remember
To help you process your miscarriage, remember these 3 things:
- You are not alone. This video focuses on miscarriage, but can help heal any kind of pregnancy and reproductive loss.
- You have the right to grieve. Any emotions that you are experiencing are valid.
- There are steps that you can take to help yourself.
Most people believe that reproductive loss is rare, yet 1 out of 4 pregnancies end in miscarriage – and that’s just one type of reproductive loss! 1 out of 4. Truly, you are not alone.
5 Steps for You: Opening Up about Loss
If you are experiencing grief after reproductive loss, this toolkit can help you! Here are our recommended activities to finding your path to peace.
- If you’ve experienced a miscarriage, visit of our website MiscarriageHurts.com. Start with the Building Support section. This page provides a structure for you to create safe and healthy communication with friends and family about your miscarriage experience. This process of building support can help any kind of pregnancy and reproductive loss.
- Recognize that you are not alone. No matter what kind of loss you’ve experienced, recognize that you are not alone. There are loved ones around you who care and perhaps are impacted by this loss too. Also recognize that you are not alone, in the sense that many others have experienced a loss like yours. For example, if you’ve experienced a miscarriage, you may want to read the Stories section of MiscarriageHurts.com, to read the stories of others who have miscarried. (Note: Some of these stories are raw and painful and may be difficult to read.) Posting your own anonymous story could help you – and other women – too.
- Express Your Loss. If you are comfortable expressing your emotions online, use our hashtag #ForgetMeNot2022 to start an online conversation about your loss.
- Check out these resources. We offer a list of resources, articles and advice below, just for you. The more you explore, the more you’ll realize that your feelings are natural and normal.
- Support Groups and therapy. Reach out! Ask for help! Find a support group or therapist in your area when you need it! If you can’t find a support group in your area, perhaps create your own? You may be surprised at how many other women are also struggling to process their own miscarriage experiences.
10 Ways to Memorialize Your Loss
- Celebrate their memory with a memorial service using eco-friendly lanterns, balloons or a paper boat. Other options include floating flowers, writing in sand and letting it wash away, a candlelight vigil, a ceremonial bonfire or releasing ladybugs into your garden. This memorial service can also be repeated on milestone days.
- Create and wear memorial jewelry, like the items we have available in our Shop.
- Write about – or to – your baby in a diary or blog. For a memorial service, you can write on seed paper that dissolves as it floats away.
- Plant a memorial tree or garden.
- Buy an indoor plaque or outdoor garden angel.
- Donate to a charity that helps others like you.
- Hold your own fundraiser to help a charity.
- Buy a teddy bear or something to hug.
- Share your story, especially in October’s Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month, using the hashtag #ForgetMeNot2022.
- Work with your faith leader to include your baby in a service or event. You may also want to consider naming your baby.
We offer this list of resources as a means of helping you process your loss. These are suggested resources. Most are not affiliated with us, and we are not responsible for their content.
Marriage Lessons I Learned after Miscarriage, The Every Mom
Miscarriage and Marriage Problems, InStyle
You can be Closer after Miscarriage, Palo Alto Online
Coping with Grief and Loss, a HelpGuide of resources to understand and navigate grief after loss.
The Miscarriage Association (UK) offers a toolkit to explore your feelings and take next steps
Health Direct (Australia) also offers a guidance after miscarriage.
Grief Support Websites
MiscarriageHurts.com – our own healing website
Climb-support.org (for multiple losses)
Hope After Loss, (2019) a booklet of grief exercises, along with personal stories, written by our President and CEO, Michaelene Fredenburg, and Carol Porter.
15 Books About Miscarriage and Loss – 2021 article by BookRiot
Empty Arms: Coping with Miscarriage, Stillbirth, and Infant Death (1982), by Sherokee Ilse
Empty Cradle, Broken Heart (1991), by Deborah Davis
Grief Unseen (2006), Laura Seiftel
It’s Not “Just” a Heavy Period: The Miscarriage Handbook (2017), by Elizabeth Petrucelli
Silent Sorrow: Pregnancy Loss (2000), by Ingrid Kohn
Healing Your Grieving Heart after Miscarriage, 100 Practical Ideas for Parents and Families (2015), Alan D. Wolfelt, PH.D
Our Shop includes bereavement cards, memorial jewelry and more, all designed for reproductive loss. All proceeds go to the Institute of Reproductive Grief Care.
Memorials and Gifts
Urns, Caskets, & Monuments
GardenofInnocence.org: may donate casket or urn in a perinatal loss
Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep (Professional Network): NowILayMeDownToSleep.org