Things don’t always go in the direction you intended. Factors beyond your control change and umpteen un expected things can happen. One traumatic event like a life threatening accident, sexual violence encounter, a serious injury, or the death of a loved one can overwhelmingly shake your core beliefs and assumptions. Such an event may astronomically change the course of your life. Reproductive trauma is a blanket term that refers to trauma experienced by humans who hoped for a baby but faced fertility challenges, or pregnancy loss, or both.
Be it a pregnancy loss triggered by an accident or medical complication; it is a traumatic experience for the humans who hoped for a baby. Multiple failed attempts to get pregnant due to fertility challenges act as repetitive traumatic episodes. Each menstrual period appears to be a failed report for the couple, and it may cause massive anxiety and trauma.
In both cases, getting a favorable result, which is birthing a child, did not happen. It feels like the end of the world for most people. They feel that it was their only chance and it failed. The core assumptions prevalent in our society about getting pregnant are incorrect. We assume that getting pregnant and giving birth to a baby is easy. It can be easy for many people; however, it is not easy for everyone.
A lot of factors including but not limited to age, reproductive history, genetics, and medical complications play a role in getting pregnant and delivering a baby safely. Be it an early pregnancy loss, a stillbirth, an IVF cycle failure, or an ectopic pregnancy, the very first conclusion most reproductive trauma patients make is that it is their fault. They start questioning all their life decisions whether it is alcohol consumption, drug abuse, promiscuity, previous abortions, basically, self-blame. However many others are unable to talk and go into a denial mode, which is far more devastating for their psychological well-being than those who self-blame as the latter vent their feelings and feel somewhat relieved.
Emotional Healing from Reproductive Trauma:
Healing from such a traumatic event start with accepting the loss, grieving about it, and then developing a reproductive story to cope with the situation and move forward. It is easier said than done as the person who goes through it can only tell how difficult it can be to regain control. You must get help from a professional psychotherapist to let go of negativity and rewrite the narrative on the road to healing. Download the attached document to learn how a good therapist can help you cope with reproductive trauma.
Did you know that women with no children who have experienced pregnancy loss or failure to conceive report the lowest life satisfaction and highest levels of depression?
There is a lot of stigma of pregnancy loss as it is quite uncomfortable for most people to share their stories. Joining a local peer-led support group can be extremely helpful. Having experienced it themselves, other members of the group would be empathetic towards your loss. Download the attached document to learn how a support group can help you cope with reproductive loss.
Physical Healing from Reproductive Trauma:
As soon as you get pregnant, your body goes through massive changes. You are no longer alone. A pregnant woman needs to care for her body not just for herself but also for the new life. Reproductive trauma puts an end to her joy and willingness to take better care of herself. Some women perceive their bodies as a traumatic site. Although the pregnancy has been aborted, the body still requires essential care for a healthy recovery.
Self-care after reproductive trauma is a necessity and should not be ignored. All the things that a woman would have done to stay healthy to birth the child are still required to be paid heed to. Good nutrition, ample rest and sleep, hydration, and light workout must be a part of her after-care routine. Download the attached document for a checklist and an aftercare kit for self-care after pregnancy loss and getting discharged from the hospital.
Did you know that over 85% of women who go through a pregnancy loss can get pregnant again?
If you have experienced reproductive loss and have been struggling to cope, make constructive decisions and make efforts to build your future family. Don’t forget that most women who have been through pregnancy loss can successfully get pregnant, and possibly, so can you. Also, there are several other alternative ways to complete your family. However, at this moment, you need to focus on self-care for a healthy recovery.
Note: This information is for educational purposes only. It should not be treated as medical advice. Before following any medical regimen, always check with your doctor to ensure that it is safe for you.