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This is How I Survived Emotionally after Losing My First Child
Thank you to Dr Surbhi Prapanna for sharing her story with us today.
Surbhi is a homeopathic physician and mom of two lovely daughters. She loves reading, writing, crafting and spending quality time with her kids. She believes in the concept of real food and green living and always loves to search the simplest way to live a healthy lifestyle.
Recently, she moved from India to the USA and enjoys each moment of life with her husband and two kids.
Although she has 5 years of clinical and teaching experience in homeopathy, the most indelible experience of her life is being a mom of two cute dolls.
Her story is such an important one, as she reflects on the things that helped her survive emotionally after the loss of her first baby.
Child loss is a loss like no other. It is a grief that lasts a life time. When you lose your first child, the pain and devastation of loss can feel overwhelming. And for me, it was the most unfortunate moment when I lost the life that I loved more than my own.
The whole journey began years ago. I still remember the day; it was 9 years ago, when I took home a pregnancy test on a Monday morning, it showed up positive. And I had cried instantly as I was feeling overwhelmed with intense positive emotions. It was the happiest moment of my life.
Within a few minutes, all sorts of mixed feelings (excitement, nervousness) ran through my body. We (I and my husband) were very excited to find that we were expecting. This is the first grand baby for everyone in the family, on both sides. All family members were celebrating this great news.
Everything was awesome.
Of course, being pregnant is the most beautiful time in life for any woman, when you shall fall in love with someone you have not met yet. And for me too, it was the most crowning creative experience of my life. It was the time of transition, growth and a profound beginning for me.
The thought that I was carrying my baby was the greatest gift that I could have.
The actual joy of this amazing journey had begun when I heard a tiny heartbeat for the very first time. I still remember the day when I went down for my ultrasound and heard my baby’s heartbeat; it was the most amazing feeling in the world. It gave me Goosebumps. I never want to forget how incredible it feels the first movement of the baby.
I was wondering all the times, who is this person coming, growing, kicking, and turning inside me. The days were passing with the flying speed. Every day, when he kicks from the inside, I forget all my worries. He reminds me every time that a miracle was growing inside me. I was enjoying each day with an impatient feeling of "when will my baby arrive?"
Everything was smooth and normal.
But, destiny had written something else for me. One day, my life turned upside down and everything was taken away from me in an instant. I had something terrible that I would never have thought. Unfortunately, during the last week of the 6th month of my pregnancy, I had developed sudden and severe symptoms of pre-eclampsia, with high blood pressure, bursting headache, swelling in limbs and protein in the urine.
We rushed to the hospital and doctor says that we do not have anything better except bed rest and delivering the baby. He had prescribed me some medication and dietary modification. We were feeling helpless. All we wanted was a healthy baby. We had done every possible effort…frequent doctor visits, close monitoring, hospitalization but nothing had worked out.
The sudden rise in blood pressure had restricted the proper blood supply to the baby. The pain of dealing with knowing that my body was betraying me was difficult to share with anyone.
Initially, it was a case of intrauterine growth retardation (a condition when the foetus does not develop at a normal rate)…but within few weeks I had intrauterine death (death of baby inside the uterus) of my baby.
How could I forget that most unfortunate moment of my life, when the doctor came in and she put the stethoscope on my belly like she had done thousand times before? She kept moving it and turned to me and said words that I shall never in my life time forget “there is not a heartbeat”.
I was in a state of emotional shock. I could not believe that we had lost our baby.
Our first baby…our dream of being parents unexpectedly shattered within few minutes. Why me? How did this happen? These were the most obvious questions that came in my mind instantly.
I was living in a nightmare.
I was shocked and filled with so much emotional pain that was almost unbearable for me. I was going through the most difficult phase of my life. The emotional pain was infinitely more difficult to bear than the physical discomfort.
Anger, sadness, frustration, depression….I was frightened by the intensity of these emotions. I felt that I could not face going out. I had a deep feeling of failure inside me.
A sense of guilt and self-blame were overwhelming me. I was feeling that my body had let me down. We both felt quite alone with a question: "Why this was happening to us?" Our whole family had a painful emotional outburst.
Definitely, emotional recovery from losing a child is slow and difficult. I know there are so many other mothers (like me) who have suffered from the losses in the same way. There are peoples who have gone through the process of losing someone close. And emotional pain, sadness, depression are the common negative feelings that we all had after losing a dear one is almost unbearable for us.
I believed that grief is like an ocean. Sometimes, the water is calm and sometimes it is overwhelming. All we can do is learn to swim properly.
I would love to share the things that helped me survived emotionally after losing my first child. These are the tiny positive steps that had worked for me like a magic. I hope it will help others too.
During those tough days of my life, I used to feel alone and depressed. Depression had drained my energy, hope and drive. Sometimes I sat down quite for hours and suddenly wept in the next moment. Even reaching out to close family members and friends was not easy for me. But, emotional support of my family members was the first positive thing that helped me a lot.
Gradually when I had started a conversation with them, shared my depressed feelings and being around them, these tiny but positive steps would be able to make me feel less depressed.
Indeed, talk to your loved ones about your feelings. Making an open heart conversation with your close friends is the first and most vital step that will help you to come out through your shell.
After getting an initial emotional recovery with family support, I had started to do things that make me feel good.
Being a creative person, I always love creative activities. In order to overcome my depression and panic feelings, I get involved in all those small things that make me relax and energize. Of course, my sad feeling were not lifted immediately, but gradually I was feeling more upbeat and energetic as I made time for my favourite things. Reading, writing, crafting and gardening had improved my mood swing.
No doubt, “small things can give immense pleasure and can overcome severe depression and sad feelings”.
I believe that each problem (mental or physical) have some root cause. Evaluating the situation and deciding what steps are needed to achieve the desirable goal is a great way to reduce the mental stress and anxiety.
In my case, I knew that my body has let me down. So, I came back in action. Within a few months, I had adopted a positive approach towards life and set an appointment for whole body check-ups and again made a consultation with my gynaecologist for further treatment. And by doing this I had not only relieved my pain and grief but make an action plan for future as well.
Surely, “find the cause and work on the next action plan are definitely a must to do which may help a lot of people who are struggling with their mental peace and may help to achieve the desirable goal”
As we all know, grief and sad feelings put a negative spin on everything. We get stuck with the cycle of negative thoughts that alter our physical, mental, social and emotional state very badly.
I still remember when I was struggling with mental and physical health; I met with a lady yoga instructor in Pune (who had 15 years of yoga teaching experience). She had shown me a spiritual path. She became a strong influence in giving me directions whenever I felt lost. Over the time with her guidance and inspiration, I had started getting the positive affirmation and spiritual energy. I was able to take a better control of my mood swings and depressive feelings.
“Taking the help of yoga, Pranayama and spirituality is an essential and amazing step that may work like magic in reducing the impact of exaggerated stress and anxiety“.
Although I was on the path of recovery, I still I had a fear inside me that I may get a relapse of sadness, depression and negative feelings. So, to eliminate this fear I added some refreshing activities in my everyday routine. Such as:
And by doing these simplest things, I can say confidently with my personal experience that I was able to rebuild my self-confidence and courage. I had improved my self-esteem and thought process.
Last but not the least I had tried to adopt an optimistic approach towards life with a hope for future. I had realised that I am not alone. There are so many women like me who had lost their babies. And it is not the end of life.
I would be a mother again.
I had understood that grief is a process, a long journey of acceptance and healing. I had promised myself that as long as If I am expressing, creating, moving and thinking in an optimistic way, my grief and sorrow will proceed in a healthy way. It was a soul satisfying emotional release for me. Thoughts that I said to myself to help me was,
“When you really want something to happen, the whole world conspires to help you achieve it” - Paul Coelho
I had started my fertility treatment with positivity and an optimistic approach. And with the grace of god my dream of being a mother came to reality after a brief period of waiting. After overcoming all obstacles, I become a mother of a healthy and beautiful daughter. The day when “my angel “came in our life I had the tear of happiness in my eyes and immense satisfaction in my heart.
Of course, it is hard to wait around for something, you know it might take the time to happen, but hard work, faith, passion and hope always pay in life.
If you would like to share your story of infertility or pregnancy loss this October, 2018, please send your story to email@example.com or if you would like to share your story anonymously please fill out the form on our get in touch page.
All submissions received will be shared on our blog "One in Four" throughout the month of October.
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