Healthcare Provider Grieving After Pregnancy and Infant LossMar 23, 2022
As healthcare providers, the COVID-19 pandemic has created personal and professional stresses unlike anything we have ever dealt with in our careers. Some of these challenges include:
- COVID-19 policy and procedure changes impacting clinical care
- Staffing shortages
- Gaps in the supply chain
- Tougher working conditions requiring us to do more with less (i.e. longer days, mandatory overtime, fewer breaks, etc)
- Childcare and schooling challenges
- Politics impacting vaccination rates and wearing masks
If you add a miscarriage, stillbirth, or infant loss on top of an already stressful couple of years, who can you turn to? Where can you find resources?
Pause to Remember is a community for you, a healthcare provider who is grieving after a miscarriage, stillbirth, or infant loss.
Your grieving is unique. You may have received care and kissed your baby good-bye in the very facility you work in. Your colleagues may have been your caregivers. On top of that, everyone’s medical background tends to make them more curious about the specifics of your loss leading to more questions.
When you return to work, your triggers are different from someone working outside of healthcare. You may be providing care for:
- a pregnant woman in OB
- a trauma patient who comes into the ER with high HCG levels because she just terminated a pregnancy
- a choking baby needing CPR
- and the list goes on
The Pause to Remember community is dedicated and committed to helping healthcare providers build courage, strength, and resilience after pregnancy or infant loss. It is a safe community for you to say, "I am not OK." You can grieve in your own way when you need to.
Losing a baby can threaten the wellbeing of different areas of your life such as:
- Professional role
- Relationships with your spouse/partner, living children, family, friends, and colleagues
- Mental and physical health
This is a time to unite, lift each other up, and provide support.
The support you will find in this community includes (and is not limited to):
- Mindfulness practices to provide space for you to feel, process your feelings, and make your way through the grief
- Stories of other providers navigating their grieving journey and what they learned along the way
- Books, videos, podcasts, and blogs with useful content
- A list of therapists and grief coaches recommended by other grieving providers
- Space to honor and remember your baby (babies)
Here are a few thoughts about grieving after pregnancy or infant loss to get you started.
- There is no loss greater than your own. Avoid comparing your loss to anyone else’s experience.
- The one universal truth about grieving is it is unique. No two people will have the same experience. This includes your spouse or partner.
- There is no right or wrong way to grieve. You may notice your partner (or other family member) grieving the loss of your baby differently than you. Please know, there are many outlets for grieving including support groups, therapy, art, music, crafts, running, hiking, biking, martial arts, meditation, yoga, etc.
- What you resist persists. Pushing your pain away, “stuffing it down,” or numbing it leaves you vulnerable to the toxic effects of unchecked grief. Creating space to acknowledge and process your feelings allows you to become curious, learn from it, and build strength to carry it.
- It is OK if you are not OK. Grief does not have a defined timeline. You may not be “OK” for a while. Society may expect you to mask your face with a smile as they ask, “How are you?” You can simply reply, “Present.” This acknowledges the question without you feeling obligated to answer with, “Good.”
- Start where you are. Whether you are one day, one month, one year, or one decade from your loss, honoring and processing your pain will help you carry the weight of your loss. Begin the grieving process now by acknowledging your feelings now.
If you are a healthcare provider and would like support in the Pause to Remember community, please share your email address for updates.
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