The Grieving Body: A Body Without a Baby

By |2018-07-26T09:56:57+00:00July 26th, 2018|For Professionals, From Professionals|1 Comment

After a miscarriage or stillbirth the body grieves. There is the emotional and spiritual pain of loss as well as living in a no-longer pregnant body. Depending on the length of the pregnancy the reflection in the mirror may appear suspended between being pregnant and not being pregnant.

Caring for the Grieving Body

We rarely talk about the post-miscarriage body. Instead we focus on the raw intensity of loss and the perception of feminine failure. The loss mother needs compassionate care that addresses all three aspects for healing: mental, emotional, and physical. The loss mother needs to mourn the loss of her baby, the loss of her hopes and dreams, and the loss of the family she imagined. Loss of a child is complex.

Having a realistic understanding of how the body grieves can help the mother and her support team in creating a safe and nonjudgmental environment for healing.

Sleep

Everyone reacts differently to stress. Some mothers may have difficulty sleeping, falling asleep, or staying asleep. Others will sleep will sleep frequently. The Bach products called Resume Remedy and Rescue Sleep can be effective aids for this time period.

Appetite

Like sleep, some women will stress eat in stressful situations and others will avoid food. Having small snacks, placed around the house can help to nourish the healing body.

Cramping

After a vaginal delivery, it is common for the uterus to cramp for about 3 days post-delivery. Motrin and homeopathic remedies can assist in healing.

Lochia

Post-delivery bleeding comes from the placenta site. It starts of bright red, slows to pink or brown, and then stops over three to five weeks.

Lactation

Starting in the second trimester the breasts prepare for birth. So it is not uncommon to lactate after delivery. Some women choose to dry up their milk with antihistamines and sage tea. Others may choose to express and donate their milk to help other preemies or newborns as a gift in their child’s memory.

Normal mood changes

Grief comes in five stages and each stage takes the time it needs. The stages are listed numerically but may be experienced out of the order listed:

  1. Denial and isolation
  2. Anger
  3. Bargaining
  4. Depression
  5. Acceptance.

My hope is by understanding the normal process of how the body grieves may help women to be kind to themselves. And honor the body’s grieving cycle as they honor their emotions.

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About the Author:

Ursula Sabia Sukinik
Ursula Sabia Sukinik has been blessed to work with and support thousands of couples through all types of births. She is a senior birth worker in the Washington DC Metro area who owns and operates Birth You Desire which offers a variety of services including classes, doula services, doula trainings, workshops, lectures, TENs unit rentals and much more. You can learn more at BirthYouDesire.com.

One Comment

  1. Sara DeVoto August 2, 2018 at 10:09 pm - Reply

    Yes there are many stages and ways to feel grief. For me even 2 years later I still go back through many and have many at the same time. Grief and love happen together. Even going through acceptance one day, the next I feel anger or bargaining. They are really never in a nice order and really are never done. It doesn’t just magically go away and you feel cured, you just learn to know how to ride the waves of grief when they come.

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