Guest blog post by Karen Kelly of Through the Heart.
My name is Dr. Karen Kelly and in February 2013, my husband and I lost our daughter at 20 weeks. It was a devastating experience and we quickly learned of the lack of resources available to those who have suffered pregnancy loss.
We believe everyone should have the support and information necessary to deal with this difficult situation. As a result, Through the Heart was born.
Through the Heart is a national 501(c)(3) organization whose mission is to educate and support anyone experiencing a pregnancy loss either directly or indirectly. Our organization provides a community and a glimpse of light in your darkest hour. One of the most important things to know following a pregnancy loss of any type is that you are not alone!
Dealing with a loss, and subsequently trying to conceive again, can be very difficult emotionally. Grieve in whatever way makes sense for YOU. Take as much time as you need and do not let others rush you.
Do not feel guilty, ashamed, or that you did something wrong. Don’t be afraid to ask people for specific help or, if you’re not sure what you need, it’s ok to vocalize that too.
Even if you have your spouse, family members, or friends to lean on, it may still be helpful to find another outlet for your emotions as you travel through this journey. Consider putting your thoughts into writing, either privately in a journal or publicly (Through the Heart offers the chance to share your story on our website or chronicle the ongoing process on our blog). You may also want to consider joining TTH’s discussion forum where you can anonymously connect with others who have experienced pregnancy loss. Also, talking with a counselor or therapist may be helpful in sorting through emotions.
Some people are ready to begin trying to conceive very quickly after a loss but for many others, it takes time. There’s no rule that says you have to start again when you’re cleared physically by your doctor – you also need to be mentally and emotionally ready. Some women never really feel ready again but know that if they want a child, they have to try. Understand that whatever you’re feeling is normal and ok, there is no right or wrong answer.
Trying to conceive after a loss can be a very isolating process. It is often a more emotional journey than it was before and it’s easy to have the mindset that because pregnancy happened once, it will naturally happen again. While this is the case for some women, many others struggle to conceive again for a variety of reasons. It’s important to remember that your body can change after a loss, especially during those first few cycles so you may not have the same patterns as before. Even if your cycle occurs like clockwork, it’s a good idea to go back to basics such as charting, taking your temperature, and testing for ovulation. You may be surprised to find “a new normal.”
Additionally, recurrent pregnancy loss is much more common than people are led to believe. Because it’s not talked about much, we don’t often hear the stories and so someone faced with multiple losses can easily feel alone or that there is something wrong with them. Whatever you are going through, whatever your challenges and struggles, remember that someone else has been there. It’s important to find an outlet for your emotions and a source of information and support such as that offered by Through the Heart. Go ahead and ask questions, ask for advice, vent about your frustrations, whatever you need to do to make it through.
Just remember that you are not alone!
Connect with Through the Heart:
Discussion forum: http://throughtheheart1.proboards.com/
Dr. Karen J. Kelly is a Texas resident and New Jersey native who loves sports, music, traveling, baking, and her 2 cats, Smokey & Plinko. In March 2013, she co-founded the nonprofit organization Through the Heart with her husband, Sean. Following the loss of their daughter at 20 weeks, the couple recognized the lack of resources available to them as well as a lack of understanding by others on how to react to the situation. It is their hope that through this organization, pregnancy loss can become a topic that is more openly discussed, acknowledged, and understood.