(Trigger warning - please skip this post if you are healing from a recent loss!)
Originally posted May 2012, updated May 2015.
Today is International Bereaved Mother's Day to remember all of those who have experienced pregnancy and infant loss. It is estimated that 15 to 20% of confirmed pregnancies end in miscarriage by 20 weeks, with estimates as high as 50% of all pregnancies ending (many not yet confirmed.) Each family will grieve differently, and there is no "right" way to mourn. It's so important that we offer our love and support and communicate with the family so we can best serve them. Chances are you have friends and family who have experienced losses and as a doula you will work with mothers who have experienced prior losses - or a current loss. As painful as this topic is, being unprepared or thoughtless in our response can be incredibly hurtful for parents.
This is an excellent article on how to help a family after a loss. This would be helpful for friends, family, and doulas! During our losses we unfortunately heard many well meaning but hurtful comments, and this article has suggestions for what to say - and what to NOT say.
For doulas I encourage you to contact your local hospitals and ask about any loss training they may provide. You can also read some of these books:
Companioning at a Time of Perinatal Loss: A Guide for Nurses, Physicians, Social Workers, Chaplains and Other Bedside Caregivers
Empty Arms: Hope and Support for Those Who Have Suffered a Miscarriage, Stillbirth, or Tubal Pregnancy
Pregnancy After a Loss: A Guide to Pregnancy After a Miscarriage, Stillbirth, or Infant Death
Empty Cradle, Broken Heart, Revised Edition: Surviving the Death of Your Baby
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