Last week there was an article in the New Yorker about a lady who experienced a live birth in Mongolia after being pregnant for only nineteen weeks. The baby did not live. Later she was given a clinical reason called a “placental abruption” for the early delivery and was assured she did nothing to cause this early delivery.
The young woman describes her response as being “so sad she could barely breathe” and her marriage failed within a few weeks. She still feels what she describes as a very “dark hurt” and at certain times she suddenly starts crying; although most of the time she seems “sort of okay.” I wondered how a mother or father could ever overcome such an intense, sad feeling.
According to Dr. Kenneth Doka, there are different styles of grieving. Intuitive style is for the most part more responsive, open and emotional. The instrumental style person will articulate their feelings in a more masculine style as they cognitively and physically work through the grief. However, neither style is gender specific. Men or women can grieve either way depending on the individual.
Many years ago, my friend miscarried only two months or so into her pregnancy. The doctor assured her that she was no longer pregnant, but he did little in welcoming her feelings during this initial phase of grief. The problem was she felt as though she lost a baby and it was not simply a faulty “pregnancy.” Times have changed and now, especially when the fetus is older at the time of loss, the parents get to see and even name the baby. A funeral helps parents and family acknowledge that a life was lost. However, in this case, my friend never had this closure. Yet, both women have the same symbolic hopes for the child and both women feel the intense hurt in the loss.
Another factor in the process is feeling guilty. My friend blamed herself -because she was cleaning with strong chemicals the week before she miscarried. The woman in the story was assured that she was not at fault for the loss but my friend was not. This is a heavy burden to carry especially if there is no proof she was at fault. Sometimes these things are an act of nature.
Grieving is important for everyone involved -both parents and the family. There are different styles of grieving, however, mourning the loss may be necessary to overcome the deep sadness. Carrying unwarranted guilt can extend the grieving process. Time is probably the best asset for healthy grieving. Even over time, some may never get over the loss and marriages sometime part over such things.