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Perinatal Loss

Perinatal Postpartum Anxiety – See the Signs and Find Treatment

If you took a poll of most pregnant women that come into our office, majority will report that they have heard about Baby Blues or Post Partum Depression (PPD) before, either from their pregnancy books, friends, or hopefully their OB.  Many will adamantly deny that they have Baby Blues or Postpartum Depression, because after all, this is supposed to be the happiest, most exciting time of their lives.  What many women don’t realize is that Perinatal Anxiety is just as common as PPD, and often coincides with each other as the symptoms are similar.
Perinatal Anxiety Defined
Perinatal anxiety is often dismissed,  as pregnancy and parenting both are anxiety provoking in and of themselves, so it’s reasonable that women struggle with increased anxiety during pregnancy and postpartum.  Because of this, very little research is done on perinatal anxiety independently from postpartum depression.

Perinatal anxiety can be classified into three different types: panic disorders, obsessive compulsive disorders and/or generalized anxiety disorders.   It shares many of the same symptoms of PPD, such as: feeling overwhelmed, trouble concentrating, trouble sleeping, feelings of guilt or incompetence, excessive worry, etc.  Perinatal anxiety can also include panic attacks, hyperventilation, and repetitive intrusive thoughts or images of things happening to the baby.
The Anxiety of Facing the Unknown
New parents are always facing the unknown, and have repetitive worry and thoughts/concerns, such as: “Is my baby healthy?” “Is my baby normal; is he or she developing appropriately?”   These are all common concerns and questions to think and wonder about.  It becomes concerning when parents ruminate about these concerns, and they become intrusive or debilitating to a point that they interfere with your ability to care for the child, your relationship with the child or each other, […]

Abrupt Endings, New Beginnings: Coping with Pregnancy Loss

At the Blossom Method, we feature real-life stories from some of the people we have worked with and helped. This week, we feature a story from a former patient of ours who had difficulty with pregnancy loss and turned to the Blossom Method support system for help coping with the frustration, anxiety, and nerves that are inevitable when one becomes pregnant again after losing a pregnancy. Often, patients find comfort from stories of others’ experiences coping with loss as well as in sharing their own stories. 
Babies, Loss and the Future
When I was four years old, I asked my mom, “How do you become a mother?” She thought about it for a minute, and then she said, “You just put your heart into it.” So, at the ripe old age of four, I set for myself the ultimate goal of my life: Eventually I would “put my heart into it” and become a mother.

Three days before my tenth birthday, my mom went in for her 20-week ultrasound and discovered that my baby brother had died. It stopped me in my tracks, essentially ending my childhood at the exact moment my dad told me. How could a baby die before it was born? How could there just be no reason? What other tragic horrors awaited me in life? We were all sad, but I took it the hardest. I always imagined him as with us, as part of our family. I think of him each year on his due date—how old would he be now? When people asked me if I had siblings, I responded that I had a sister and also a brother who was in heaven. Mom told me not to mention my brother–people […]

Asking Pregnancy Questions: Do You Really Need to Know?

It breaks my heart–week after week, I meet with clients who are struggling with getting pregnant, a recent loss, or maybe a new pregnancy after previous losses. They’re making progress, but are suddenly completely derailed by a simple (yet unnecessary) question or comment from a stranger. I’d believe more often than not, the stranger has no ill intention by commenting or asking a question, but I would like to challenge everyone to consider what others may be going through that you don’t know about before speaking up. Just think: how often you have asked, or have heard someone ask, “When are you due?” or  “Are you guys trying to get pregnant?” or comment on someone’s cute baby bump?
The Importance of Consideration
Recently, I had a client (we’ll call her “Sarah”) who had just delivered her baby at 37 weeks, but the baby passed away shortly after birth.  Although Sarah was prepared prenatally for the loss of her daughter, the grief and overwhelming sadness was a lot for her and her husband to handle.  Two weeks after losing her baby girl, she decided she needed to face the world again and went to the grocery store. In a mere 30 minute trip, Sarah was approached by two strangers who made seemingly benign, yet very hurtful comments, given the situation.  The first asked when she was due – she was two weeks postpartum, so she naturally still had a “bump,” but she sadly did not have the baby.   After tearfully walking away from that stranger, she tried to summon the courage to get through her shopping list.  Then, as she was paying for her groceries, the cashier said, “Oh, I love your little bump – enjoy the […]

Coping with the Loss of a Pregnancy

With the struggle that many women have to go through in order to conceive a baby, even more devastating than that can be pregnancy loss. Losing a pregnancy can cause feelings of depression, inadequacy, despair and anxiety—you may find yourself wondering if you’ll be able to get pregnant again, and if you do, how long you’ll have to worry about a repeated loss. Coping with this type of loss can be very difficult and are too often internalized. These complex situations can lead to feeling overstressed, which can cause its own host of problems.

While coping with hardships such as infertility, the loss of a pregnancy or stillbirth can be very tough, it’s important to remember you are not alone. Infertility support groups and pregnancy loss counseling can help you get through the hard times and move onward to keep trying for pregnancy and growing your family.
Feelings You May Experience After a Loss
There are a range of different feelings you may experience after losing a pregnancy. Anger or resentment, particularly toward your body for “betraying” you, is extremely common, as is feeling guilty, as if the cause of losing the pregnancy was something you did that could have been prevented. If you become pregnant again, there are other issues you may experience, such as not trusting the pregnancy to carry to term, or being afraid to bond or become attached to your child until you are certain the pregnancy is viable through the end.

These emotions can drain the joy out of your life and make you feel hopeless and depressed, unable to get through the day at times. Again, it’s essential to know that you are not alone and that there are loss support groups […]

There Must Be Something Wrong With Me

It’s the right time in your life to get pregnant.  You have found the partner of your dreams, your job is secure, you are in the best shape of your life, and  frankly, you have run out of excuses! It is now or never. Then it happens-maybe quicker or slower than you had expected. That nice pink line or positive sign-depending on which test you bought-and how many times you took it to confirm your suspicions. You guys did it! You are a smashing success-now you are pregnant!
You are so excited you don’t know how you will keep this secret until you are out of the first trimester, but you do! You tell your sister, best friend, and Mom, but even you have your limits! OK-you tell your friend at work too because she can tell immediately that you are not yourself. You go to the doctor and all signs are great. Pregnancy looks good-you are on your way! The coast is clear and you start screaming it from the rooftops! The secret is out-you are going to have a baby!

Then-the world as you know it changes forever…your water breaks at 19 weeks, tests show your baby is incompatible with life, one doctor visit there is no heartbeat-whatever the circumstances of your loss-you are experiencing one and there is nothing you can do to change it. You wish you could rewind the clock-noticed a problem-called the doctor and told him/her about it. How could this be happening? It never happened to any of my friends. Why me? It is just not fair.

The truth is-shame on your friends and everyone you know. Loss is as much a part and possibility of pregnancy as lice is […]