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"Grief is not a disorder, a disease or sign of weakness. It is an emotional, physical and spiritual necessity, the price you pay for love. The only cure for grief is to grieve". - Earl A Grollman
Can you believe it is mid-summer already? While summertime is hailed as a happy time making memories with family by most, it is often a trigger for families who have lost a pregnancy or baby because of all the memories and rites of childhood that are NOT being made.
Each grief journey is as unique as the individual who walks its path. That being recognized, an aspect of grief that is common to all who grieve is the need for self-care. We know it may be hard to self prioritize your needs, we encourage you to take some time to yourself to focus on self care and relax.
Grief may be experienced in a variety of ways—emotionally, physically, cognitively, psychologically and even spiritually. The reactions of our minds and bodies to grief can include symptoms such as fatigue, sleep disturbances, appetite changes, mood fluctuations, forgetfulness, loss of concentration and even despair. Coping with all of these potential responses may be overwhelming, but there are some things you can do to manage your grief while continuing to function day-to-day.
Accept your feelings.
Feelings are neither right nor wrong, they just are. Sadness, loneliness, fear, confusion, anger—these are among the many feelings you may experience, and are completely normal. Emotions are often raw early in the grief process, but it is important to express them. Attempting to stifle feelings usually leads to an emotional outburst at an inconvenient time.
Be patient with yourself.
Grief is an intensely personal process. Accept that it follows no magic formula or time frame. It will take as long as it takes. Think of the care you would extend to a friend in the same situation of loss, and allow yourself that same grace. Be careful not to take on responsibilities beyond what is realistic. It is better to allow for some flexibility in your obligations during this time.
Pay attention to physical needs.
It can be very easy to neglect your physical needs while grieving. However, this is a time when taking good care of yourself is crucial. As difficult as it may seem, making every effort to get adequate sleep, eat nutritionally balanced meals and fit in regular exercise and intentional relaxation can do wonders.
By pursuing a healthy routine, you are preparing yourself to take on the new challenges facing you during this difficult time. In addition to these efforts, a check-up with your physician is also recommended. Be certain to make your physician aware that you have experienced a loss.
Accept the help of others.
Understand that grief is hard work. It requires a great deal of energy and can be exhausting. Even though we place a high value on self-sufficiency, it is important to ask for, and accept, help from those close to you.
WAYS TO FILL YOUR CUP
The following suggestions were written to help you take care of yourself following the loss of a pregnancy or baby, but apply to any kind of loss you might be experiencing.
Three Little Birds wishes you all a happy, healthy and healing summer. We are here to support you immediately and long-term through the tremendous loss of a pregnancy or child. Please do not hesitate to reach us via text, email, telephone or social media for free support!
In an effort to help family and friends support their loved ones through Pregnancy and Infant Loss, Three Little Birds has launched our new Support and Comfort Boxes. We are offering two different box sizes for purchase; our Comfort Boxes offer several items donated by volunteers and supporters to help provide comfort to families suffering from miscarriage, stillbirth and neonatal loss. Our Support Boxes contain the same items as the Comfort Boxes, with additional higher priced, handmade items donated by our volunteers. A full listing of these items are provided in the item listing on our Etsy Page.
We offer two options for purchase to support miscarriage (loss before 20 weeks gestation) and infant loss (loss after 20 weeks gestation). Our organization's symbol for miscarriage are butterflies, as many people worldwide associate them with the loss of a baby. Our baby loss boxes have a bird theme to coincide with our organization's namesake, the song, Three Little Birds by Bob Marley and the Wailers.
Miscarriage Comfort Box (left) - $30 and Miscarriage Support Box (right) - $50
Baby Loss Comfort Box (left) - $30 and
Baby Loss Support Box (right) - $50 (Can choose gender)
The purchase of this box will benefit Three Little Birds services and programs we provide to support families in the Philadelphia/South Jersey Metro area. Three Little Birds Perinatal & Palliative Care Advocacy & Support Center is a non-profit, fiscally sponsored by Federation of Neighborhood Centers (FNC) Philly. Our organization provides all of our social services at no cost to the family. We also do not directly solicit for support to the families we serve, however, we greatly appreciate the support of our families with whom choose to give back to us after we have walked their journey. Our volunteer-based non-profit depends on the support of the local community to continue to keep our services for free to everyone. Thank you for your on-going support, kindness and sharing of our information and resources! Donations can be made via check (payable to: Federation of Neighborhood Centers/Memo: Three Little Birds) or via the PayPal link on our website.
Check out our Etsy store for other great items!
Pregnancy & Infant Loss Support: http://www.threelittlebirdsperinatal.org/loss-support.html
If you were rejoicing over a positive pregnancy test just weeks or months ago, coping with a sudden and unexpected miscarriage can be difficult. Even though you never saw your baby (except, perhaps, on ultrasound), you knew that they were growing inside of you and you may have even formed a bond. You may have daydreamed about your baby and imagined yourself as a mother and all the experiences you would share together as they grow. And then, all the excitement of months (and years, and decades) came abruptly to a stop.
Understandably, you may feel a range of emotions: sad and disheartened over the loss; angry and resentful it happened to you; possibly withdrawn from friends and family (especially those who are pregnant or just had babies). You may have trouble eating and sleeping at first and accepting the finality of it all. You may cry a lot, or you may not cry at all. These are all among the many natural, healthy responses to a pregnancy loss. (Remember: your reaction is what’s normal for you.)
WHAT IS A MISCARRIAGE?
Miscarriage is defined when a baby dies in the womb before 20 weeks (NJ) or 16 weeks (PA) of pregnancy. While we don’t know all the causes of miscarriage, more often problems with chromosomes in genes cause most. It can take a few weeks to a month or more for your body to recover from a miscarriage. It may take longer to recover emotionally. Most miscarriages occur in the first trimester before the 12th week of pregnancy. Miscarriage in the second trimester (between 13 and 19 weeks) happens in 1 to 5 in 100 (1 to 5 percent) pregnancies.
As many as half of all pregnancies may end in miscarriage. We don’t know the exact number because a miscarriage may happen before a woman knows she’s pregnant. Most women who miscarry go on to have a healthy pregnancy later.
SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS
Signs and symptoms of miscarriage include:
If you have any of these signs or symptoms, call your healthcare provider. Your Doctor may want to perform some tests to make ensure everything is OK. Tests can include blood tests, a pelvic exam and an ultrasound. Many women have these signs and symptoms in early pregnancy and don’t miscarry.
There are also several different types of miscarriage a woman can experience, including:
TREATMENT FOR MISCARRIAGE
If you’ve had a miscarriage, your provider may recommend:
ADDITIONAL SUPPORT, RECOMMENDED READING & WEBSITES
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Kristen Samuelson, SBD, Founder & Director