Pregnancy loss, particularly the recurrent kind, can leave many women depressed, angry, confused, and feeling inadequate. But, having someone to talk to about their fears, doubts, and wishes freely and without judgement after such a heartbreaking event can help significantly in their recovery and quest for clarity, purpose, and understanding when finding out how to deal with losing a baby.
“Counselling is professional help, facilitated by someone who can empathize and give support,” says clinical psychologist Siegfred F. Gamueda of Psyche Solution Psychological Services in Dasmariñas, Cavite, Philippines. “The trained therapist or counsellor can help the person to become aware, develop her abilities to live meaningfully, and heal and accept her negative or painful experiences. Thus, counselling is a venue or space where one can fully understand herself, realize her potential, and accept who she is.”
Here, Gamueda offers advice and answers frequently asked questions about counselling after a miscarriage and how to deal with losing a baby.
Common questions asked about how to deal with losing a baby
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How can counselling help after a pregnancy loss?
Counselling helps a person who has suffered through a miscarriage cope with difficult emotions, conditions, and issues. Low self-esteem, depression, and anxiety are examples. The counsellor accompanies her client on her journey of pain, healing, and acceptance.
When is counselling needed or recommended?
Counselling is more than a prescription; it is a need. But it is only the person [who has issues and who needs it] who knows when. Symptoms can be minor or major. Although counselling can always be recommended especially when one is suffering or when one starts to show symptoms such as despair, apprehension and prolonged sadness.
What kind of counselling is ideal for someone who has suffered a miscarriage?
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Gestalt therapy is best because it helps the person to explore her needs, acknowledge her pain or sadness, and find meaning out of a distressing situation. It is client-centered, and focuses on what is currently happening and finding present-day solutions. Gestalt therapy emphasizes therapeutic relationship. It gives importance to the connection that exists between the counsellor and the client.
How would a patient/client know if the counsellor is right for her?
If the patient or client feels respected about her pain or loss, and is not being pushed to analyse or to learn techniques on how to cope especially if she is not ready, then she is with the right counsellor. In Gestalt therapy, the patient is the authority in her own process of healing and growing.
Choose an experienced and reputable therapist who you are comfortable with, as counselling would likely require several sessions to be effective and can last for weeks or months in some cases.
What usually happens in counselling sessions and what should a patient/client expect?
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Basically, it’s allowing the patient or client to see and understand herself better through the impact and consequences of her actions or how she currently deals with the loss. The client should be able to speak and share her experiences without being judged or criticised. She would be supported by the therapist or counsellor in her choice of action or way of healing. Of course, the patient would also be given choices and encouraged to explore other options and needs.
The counsellor is expected to listen and to be supportive of her client’s needs — letting her cry, grieve, be sad, or just talk about a loss or a related issue or condition. But the counsellor should also be genuine with his/her own feelings and in conveying them to the client. In addition, he/she should give feedback. This might cause discomfort to the client but the counsellor should proceed all the same if it aids in the healing process.
The counsellor should be there to support and accompany the client in all their sessions but he/she won’t usually give advice or steps for the client to solve her own dilemma.
Besides counselling, what else could help miscarriage sufferers in their recovery?
They can be helped further by seeking support from their spouses/partners and immediate family members. They need to consult with their doctors for any medications, treatments or procedures that can expedite their healing. Proper nutrition, exercise, and adequate sleep and rest would improve their physical health. Going out to appreciate nature and other places that can give relaxation, peace, and serenity is also good. If you plan to be pregnant again, inform your doctor so that he/she can help you stay healthy and achieve your goal.
If you believe that you need counselling and will benefit from it, ask your doctor for recommendations or visit clinics and hospitals in your area that offer various therapies and have qualified counsellors. Inquire about the counselling available via charities, volunteer groups and non-profit organizations as well if you cannot afford private counselling.