The end of pregnancy


whether ended by birth, miscarriage, or induced abortion, is inevitably accompanied by a maelstrom of feelings. A feeling that is not often acknowledged, especially in cases of the birth of a loved and wanted child, is grief. This feeling is also not often acknowledged in cases of induced abortion.
Grief is a feeling, and grieving is a process. Grief arises out of loss. When pregnancy ends with birth, one grieves the loss of the pregnancy, the loss of the dream baby (and confrontation with the real baby!), the loss of the dream labor. One is faced with bodily changes that may be rather devastating - aches and pains and loss of sleep, practical problems finding clothing that is wearable let alone attractive, and a host of other unforseen issues. Moms and dads can be overwhelmed with feelings that they judge as negative or unacceptable - anger, disappointment, apathy, hysteria - or can even experience serious depression.
It is not often acknowledged that this maelstrom of feelings can also be energizing. Out of some mothers' grief and anger have come many movements to help the next generation of mothers. Such movements include La Leche League, ICAN (cesarean awareness and VBAC), various childbirth education and preparation groups, and the movements for Baby Friendly and Mother Friendly birth places.
After miscarriage or stillbirth, these feelings are also present. For many years, women kept these griefs private. But a few women were energized enough by their grief to reach out to other grieving women and families, and through their persistence, most hospitals now give more support and and affirmation to all women suffering this kind of loss.
I think that we are just now beginning to see the foundation of a movement that will support the grief and loss experienced by those who intentionally aborted pregnancies. Rachel's Vineyard, Ashli's S.I.C.L.E. blog, and various post-abortion services have sprung up to help.
In the early days of other grief supprt movements, there were those who nay-said the women and men who were reaching out to try to change things. This is also happening with the pro-life post-abortion support services. Hang in there, sisters and brothers. It will be a long struggle, but eventually you will earn a small modicum of respect, even from your opponents. Hald fast to the truth of what you know, and just keep loving the women and men who are suffering in silence.

February 2013

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This page contains a single entry by alicia published on March 15, 2003 9:12 AM.

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