I have a lot of friends and readers in the medical community so I want to share this…

One of the key points that I’ve found from my own experience and from looking through the literature about how pregnancy loss and infant death are handled, is that providers (and well-meaning others) have an instinct to rapidly say “Don’t worry, you can have another”. The message they’re trying to convey is “There’s nothing wrong with you, this wasn’t your fault”. They are trying to be reassuring and provide hope.

But the message a bereaved parent hears is “This is nothing to be upset about, your pregnancy/infant/child wasn’t that important anyhow, the precious creature most important to you in the entire universe doesn’t even matter at all”. This message is wounding and bewildering. When it comes to parental bereavement, the age of a child is completely irrelevant.

In due time, it is necessary to address any impact on future reproductive health. But a reflexive “you can have another” is woefully unempathetic and inadequate.

Expecting the Unexpected

At the end of my talk to my local midwifery students, I gave them a handout, that speaks volumes.  You may recognizes some words, because they were simply taken from the comments section in response to my question of what would you like midwifery students to know about baby loss.   Feel free to comment if you have more advice to give! Here is the handout:

Words of Advice from Baby Loss Moms

“Video clips of ultrasounds meant so much to me and I would have like a recording of my daughter’s heartbeat if they could have given me one. At the time I didn’t know it those would be my only memories of her. I appreciated when my doctors were honest but sensitive.” -mother of Caroline, carried to term after a Trisomy 13diagnosis, who lived for 58 days.

“I think they didn’t tell me anything because they had…

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