Join the pregnancy loss community

Comfort and support for pregnancy or newborn loss

A place for comfort, empathy, support and hope if you should experience a miscarriage, stillbirth or newborn death including more original writings, poems, sharing and bereavement resources and excerpts from Dr. Berman's book: Parenthood Lost.

Maternl is a place for comfort, empathy, support and hope if you should experience a miscarriage, stillbirth or newborn death. Here you will find original writings, poems, sharing and bereavement resources and excerpts from my book: Parenthood Lost.

Maternl believes it is the greatest professional privilege to participate in the care of a pregnancy and the birth of a child. Yet, when a child dies; when elation turns to grief, and joy to sorrow; when in a brief moment the expected becomes the unexpected, this privilege becomes sacred. For we are first to see and touch them, we inscribe their image indelibly in our minds, and their death, in paradox, does not sear our bonds of caring but rather seals them. Furthermore, we as health professionals must grasp the importance of our presence, our words and our deeds when our patients are dying or incurable or families are grieving a perinatal, infant, childhood. Everyone who touches, speaks with and interacts with the patient -both in a primary and a secondary role -should be aware of what their life-long influence on healing for the patient and family can be.

As an Obstetrician, my professional career has involved a striving to bring comfort and healing to children, born and yet to born, and to mothers through their years of childbearing and beyond. It has been the cause in my life. I have been uplifted by the triumphs of birth and healing and depressed by the failures. Yet I have always tried to look beyond the failures in search of the triumphs. I have counseled patients at the darkest times of their lives, when their children have died, and I have turned to the comfort of personal reflection, poetry and self-expression to better help me help my patients. I have learned that by writing down thoughts which might elucidate my feelings more clearly than the spoken word, I have become a better physician.

Some thoughts about caring for the Loss of a pregnancy or newborn

When the outcomes of our patient's pregnancies end in miscarriage, stillbirth or infant death, we struggle to find the right approach to break the news to them, treat them medically and/or surgically, help them recover physically and emotionally, and console them in their grief. Most of us have not been taught to provide this bereavement care. We learn fast that there are hospital nurses and social workers, bereavement counselors and therapists, support groups and religious ministries to whom we can refer our patients for immediate bereavement care and subsequent follow-up. We can do the D and C and we can attend and assist in the birth of the baby who has experienced an intrauterine death. But then, for many Obstetricians, we refer our patients for bereavement care. When we hold in the palm of our hand an 18 week fetus immediately after our patient miscarried or attend the stillbirth of a term pregnancy, our intellectual knowledge and rational thought fade as we struggle to find the right words to say. Unlike the repetition of performing a surgical procedure, no matter how many times we have experienced a loss with our patients, it does not become easier.

Although the stillborn baby which might have been born viable represents the greatest emotional and management challenges, we must recognize any loss in pregnancy as a life-altering event for our patients. The care of the patient experiencing a Pregnancy Loss is a paradigm for what we do as physicians. It tests not only our clinical skills and judgments but stretches the fibers of the human aspect of caring very thin. Although we might ask, "how can we heal when our patients' children are incurable, when they are suffering or when they die or what do we do when the advanced technology that has become a part of our black bag fails", we must understand that we can heal by providing comfort , empathy and hope. As bad as this experience is for our patients, we can make it better. If we remain aware that we are the link between the stillborn baby and the bereaved family, that we were the first to touch and hold their child, albeit their stillborn child, then we can share this with them, remember this with them, and from this point forward, heal with them. The bond we form becomes the unbreakable fiber, which strengthens and indeed cements our role in the doctor-patient relationship.

Finding the right words after a pregnancy loss
An original article written by Dr. Berman and published in Contemporary Ob-Gyn, March, 2009.

Join Here

"Though strangers we may be, we are all connected by the loss of a child,
and that makes us all soulmates..."

( from a Maternl / Hygeia user )

Join the Maternl© pregnancy and newborn loss community by filling out this registration form which will register each pregnancy loss for you at Maternl© and allow you to share your story with others in the community. You will receive by EMAIL a Temporary User Name and aTemporary Password / Access Code which will let you create your own credentials.

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