You’re Not Alone: Connecting with a Community of Support During Infant Loss

You're Not Alone: Connecting with a Community of Support During Infant Loss

Connecting with a Community of Support During Infant Loss > The weight of infant loss flips your world upside down, and the stigma surrounding experiencing this can make you feel isolated. When every breath feels like a challenge and understanding seems distant, know this one constant: there’s a community right here, standing with you. You are not alone.

The Weight of Grief

Grief, at its core, is the life-changing sense of loss that leaves an indescribable heartache within us (O’Connor, 2019). It’s a visceral experience that claws at your entire being. 

In the depths of grief, it feels like a stone lodged in your chest, making each breath a challenge. Your body resonates with the pain that defies words. The world around you blurs as you grapple with the raw intensity of your emotions. Every part of your life is affected. You can’t concentrate or find joy in the things you once loved. Dealing with loss feels so isolating and insurmountable.

We understand your immense challenges, and we’re here to let you know you’re not alone. There are resources to help you feel more like you again, reclaiming your vivacious personality and even taking baby steps once more toward the family you may still dream of having. We stand beside you, ready to offer unwavering support, empathy, and understanding, no matter what stage of grief you are in (Avis et al., 2021).

Breaking the Silence of Infant Loss

It’s currently Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month, which turns our focus to an all too often unspoken reality: the silence and stigma enveloping infant loss. It casts a long shadow, leaving countless parents to bear their grief in isolation (Pollock et al., 2020).

The truth is, you are far from alone, even though, at times, it might feel like people just don’t understand what you’re going through. As a fertility specialist, I carry the sad news that thousands of couples have faced the heartbreaking challenges of fertility struggles or the loss of their precious babies. While it may feel like no one understands, there are actually too many people who do. Grief naturally causes us to isolate ourselves, but the weight of societal silence usually compounds the emotional burden you carry, enhancing the feelings of loneliness and sadness (Nuzum et al., 2018).

Dismantling this silence is the purpose of Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. We strive to bring these heart-wrenching parental challenges into the light, acknowledging the pain that so many endure in solitude, and by doing so, we can change the narrative. We are here to remind you that your grief is valid, your struggles are recognized, and your stories matter.

As we stand together during this Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month, we extend our hand to you, offering unwavering support, understanding, and a community that knows your pain. We will always provide a safe space for parents like you to share, heal, and find solace during such an emotionally charged time.

The Transformative Power of Connection

Science highlights what many of you already intuitively know: connection is a fundamental human need, especially during times of profound grief and loss (Martino et al., 2017). Research has shown that being part of a supportive community, whether big or small, can alleviate the emotional toll of infant loss (Fasihi Harandi et al., 2017). This connection can foster resilience, reduce feelings of being alone in your struggle, and positively affect your physical well-being.

While it can be great to go for coffee or meet someone new on the internet, the transformative power of connection for supporting your grief lies within the shared experiences, compassion, and empathy that flow within these communities (Hartig & Viola, 2015). It’s a place where you can speak openly about your pain and your journey and a place to commemorate the baby you hold in your heart instead of your arms.

As we navigate the heartache during Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month, know that you are always welcome to be part of a compassionate community. Your experiences, your grief, and (if you are ready) your hopes to be a parent are endlessly supported here and by so many couples out there just like you. 

Join Our Village

If the isolation of your struggle is wearing away at you, there is a place where you are welcomed with open arms. Our Village was built with you in mind. It serves as a refuge, a community built on shared experiences, compassion, and resilience. Here, we don’t just acknowledge the weight of grief; we carry it together. 

Our Facebook group The Art & Science of Getting Pregnant is a testament that further validates the power of connection, where you find solace in knowing that you have a place to go to not be alone in your journey through pregnancy and infant loss. For hundreds of Mamas, it has become a safe space where your feelings can be validated, your story will be  heard, and your hope for healing can be nurtured. I started this group as a source of strength for Mamas like you, who need it most.

Together, we’ll navigate this path of grief, recognizing that the weight can be shared, lightened, and eventually carried with greater ease. You are not alone; in our community, you’ll find the solace and companionship you need to cope with the gut-wrenching weight of grief.

Ready to get help? In a few clicks, you can find your chosen community with Our FPI Village!

References

APA. (2022). Resilience. American Psychological Association. https://www.apa.org/topics/resilience

Avis, K. A., Stroebe, M., & Schut, H. (2021). Stages of grief portrayed on the internet: A systematic analysis and critical appraisal. Frontiers in Psychology, 12. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8675126/

CDC. (2020, August 13). Pregnancy and infant loss. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/stillbirth/features/pregnancy-infant-loss.html

Fasihi Harandi, T., Mohammad Taghinasab, M., & Dehghan Nayeri, T. (2017). The correlation of social support with mental health: A meta-analysis. Electronic Physician, 9(9), 5212–5222. https://doi.org/10.19082/5212

Field, M. J., & Behrman, R. E. (2012). Bereavement experiences after the death of a child. NIH; National Academies Press (US). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK220798/

Flach, K., Gressler, N. G., Marcolino, M. A. Z., & Levandowski, D. C. (2022). Complicated grief after the loss of a baby: A systematic review about risk and protective factors for bereaved women. Trends in Psychology, 1-35. https://doi.org/10.1007/s43076-021-00112-z

Hartig, J., & Viola, J. (2015). Online grief support communities. OMEGA – Journal of Death and Dying, 73(1), 29–41. https://doi.org/10.1177/0030222815575698

Martino, J., Pegg, J., & Frates, E. P. (2017). The connection prescription: Using the power of social interactions and the deep desire for connectedness to empower health and wellness. American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine, 11(6), 466–475. https://doi.org/10.1177/1559827615608788

Nuzum, D., Meaney, S., & O’Donoghue, K. (2018). The impact of stillbirth on bereaved parents: A qualitative study. PLOS ONE, 13(1), e0191635. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0191635

O’Connor, M.-F. (2019). Grief: A brief history of research on how body, mind, and brain adapt. Psychosomatic Medicine, 81(8), 731–738. https://doi.org/10.1097/PSY.0000000000000717

Pollock, D., Pearson, D. E., Cooper, D. M., Ziaian, A. P. T., Foord, C., & Warland, A. P. J. (2020). Breaking the silence: Determining prevalence and understanding stillbirth stigma. Midwifery, 93, 102884. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.midw.2020.102884

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