It’s been almost six weeks since the birth and death of my baby girl due to labor and delivery complications (chorioamnionitis). My labor was induced at 40 weeks and 4 days and it was a long labor with early rupture of the membranes. I am drowning not only in grief but in all the “what ifs” what if I did not choose to induce my labor? What if a c-section was done sooner? What if, what if…
I know that these feelings are not helping my healing process but I can’t help it! How do I deal with this guilt? I want to try to get pregnant as soon as my body is ready to do so, but I’m worried I would drag these feeling to my next pregnancy. Any advise will be appreciated. Thank you
Thanks so much for writing. First, 6 weeks isn’t very long in the grief process — this world is still so new and the pain so raw. It is very normal to second guess things by asking “what if?” This can become such a complicated part of the journey, though it might be helpful to remember that we can all look back at decisions with perfect vision, as we know what pans out from them. However, it can be a gift to remember that we make all of our decisions based upon the information that we know at the time (however limited it might be in hindsight).
In terms of trying again, part of working through grief might be feeling like you are able to do things differently in a subsequent pregnancy and figuring out when you have enough mental strength to go through that process again. Another important context to remember is that your loss was traumatic…and therefore, things associated with it — for example, pregnancy, labor, etc. — might be viewed that way too. THIS IS NORMAL!
Having support through your grief and a subsequent pregnancy to help work through the trauma might be part of your healing journey as well, whether this be in the form of a professional, an in-person support group, or online resources. While I wish that there was a delineated “road map” for grief after a pregnancy loss, we are each so individual in our needs, that one just can’t exist.
Here are two articles you might find helpful during this time:
- “Tips from PAL Moms: “How Do You Deal with Guilt?”
- “Trying Again After Pregnancy Loss—Courage and Readiness“
I hope this helps!
Dr. Julie Bindeman is a clinical psychologist specializing in reproduction and parenthood who has worked in outpatient settings, private practices, and universities, including Marymount, Johns Hopkins, and Loyola.