5/5/15 - Coping with Loss Live Chat with Dr. Witkin — The Bump
Late Term and Child Loss

5/5/15 - Coping with Loss Live Chat with Dr. Witkin

bumptarabumptara admin
Moderator 500 Love Its 500 Comments Second Anniversary
edited May 2015 in Late Term and Child Loss
Today, from 12-1pm EDT, Dr. Georgia Witkin will join us in this thread to answer your questions and provide you with support and useful information on coping methods and more. Her username is @DrWitkin.

A little bit about @DrWitkin:

Dr. Georgia Witkin is a clinical psychologist and expert on infertility, egg donation, egg freezing and therapy for couples. She is an assistant professor in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Science as well as in the Department of Psychiatry at Mount Sinai Medical Center. She is also director of the Stress Research Program at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine. She has received awards from national infertility support organizations RESOLVE and the American Fertility Association for her work in helping individuals and couples and for bringing awareness of infertility-related issues to a broad audience through her work on television.

@BumpTara or @BumpCaitlin will be on hand to help with any tech issues during the chat. Just page or PM one of the them and they’ll be able to assist you.

We hope you can join us at 12pm EDT.

Re: 5/5/15 - Coping with Loss Live Chat with Dr. Witkin

  • Hi everyone,

    @DrWitkin is on hand to share advice and support, and answer any questions you may have. @bumpcaitlin and myself can help you with any tech related issues.
  • Hi @DrWitkin,

    Thanks so much for being here. I experienced a loss and I'm wondering how do I deal with people that avoid me because they feel awkward about what happened?
  • Hi @yogamama15, great question.

    If these are people that mean a lot to you, try reaching out and inviting them to low-key activities like lunch, when they're actually with you - you can normalize the situation by talking briefly and honestly about the loss and showing them that you're still interested in and in need of their friendship.  It's a shame that people often pull away just when we need support.  If it's their support you need, reach out.  If they don't respond, remember 'everything they say and do, is information about them, not you'. 

  • edited May 2015
    @DrWitkin Hi there, how do you suggest I work up the courage to try again down the road? 
  • Great question, @blueberrymuffin17,

    There's no question that after a loss, it takes courage to try again.  You may be surprised to learn that the majority of women who have had such a loss do try within the following year.  But most say they do a lot of benchmarking (keep careful track of every single development marker).  Seek a lot more information during the pregnancy (comb the web for every bit of reassuring information they can find).  Do more avoidance behaviors (no caffeine, no alcohol at all, no strenuous exercise).  And last but not least, report that they even try to be less attached during the pregnancy.  It may help to know that every day after your loss you will gain more strength, you will gain more perspective, and you will gain more interest in a new pregnancy, although I'm not stating that there won't still be sadness about the loss.  Watch for reawakening interest in the future and you will know when you're ready to move on.  I know it takes courage and I hope you have some loving support around you.

  • Hi @DrWitkin,

    This is a question we received via email from a Community member:

    I recently went through a loss and I also have a six year-old daughter. What is the best way my husband and I talk to her about this?
  • Thanks @bumpcaitlin,

    I'm sorry for the loss, and commend you on wanting to share this information with your daughter in a way that she will understand. In general, normalizing information is the best approach with young children.  It's not actually the words you use, but more the melody behind the words.  If you present your loss as part of life, that is the way she will see it too.  If you plan to try again, and do become pregnant again, you, your husband and your daughter together can express hope that this time may be the right time for another baby.  If faith is a big part of your family then you may want to help your daughter understand that nobody but G-d knows how long a lifespan is and every life long or short is a blessing.  If faith is not how you would approach this with your daughter, you may want to help her understand that sometimes pregnancies do not come full term and that is part of life too. 

  • Thank you for that answer, @DrWitkin! Here is another question we received via email:

    After losing our baby last year my husband is talking about not wanting to try to have another baby again. He feels discouraged and doesn't think we're meant to have a child but I know that I need to be a mom and now I don't know what to do or what to say to him. Do you have any advice?

  • I'm so sorry for the loss, @bumpcaitlin, it sounds like he may still be in shock.  May I ask was this a pregnancy that was lost?
  • BumpCaitlinBumpCaitlin admin
    Moderator 500 Love Its 100 Comments Second Anniversary
    edited May 2015
    DrWitkin said:

    I'm so sorry for the loss, @bumpcaitlin, it sounds like he may still be in shock.  May I ask was this a pregnancy that was lost?

    Unfortunately the member did not provide any additional information. Could you please provide advice for each possible scenario? That would be most helpful for us to pass on.
  • Hello @DrWikin - can you recommend any good resources for parents who have had a loss? Also what do you recommend while coping with the fear and anxiety during a subsequent pregnancy?
  • @bumpcaitlin, This kind of loss is very often overwhelming because not only is there a loss of a child, but there's a loss of a sense of control and ability to predict of what's coming next.  Living with such uncertainty, anxiety, and potential for sadness and disappointment can feel beyond one's ability to cope.  Avoiding the possibility of living through such a crisis again by saying no to pregnancy is not unusual.  It often takes up to two years for someone to emotionally catch their breath and feel strong enough to try again.  There are some things you can do to help him.  First listen carefully to what he says, his sadness or anxiety, or his fears and echo them.  This will let him know that you hear him, accept what he's feeling, share his feelings and are empathetic rather than critical.  Hopefully hearing his own statements repeated out loud will also give him a chance to hear how adamant and extreme they may sound.  Next it may help to talk more about the family that you want for both of you rather than a 'pregnancy' or a 'child'.  Finally, if you can, see if it helps to refocus for a short time on everything except another pregnancy.  Even just a few weeks of relaxing together, doing things together that you enjoyed before the loss may help him feel like you're doing this as a team and not pulling in different directions.  If his willingness to take another chance does not seem to grow over the next six months, counseling may help quiet his anxieties and/or a doctor's visit may address some specific concerns.  You can most certainly reach out to me directly at any point through @thebump and I'd be happy to chat more with you.
  • Hi @msunshine123, there's been a lot of research on the most effective ways of helping those who have had a loss such as yours, and the results are clear.  Being in a group that has shared the same loss is by far the most comforting and effective roads to healing. You can find such a group in lots of ways.  If there's a local branch of RESOLVE or the American Fertility Association, they would probably have some good leads.  If not, try the OB department of your local hospital, they may also have referrals. 

    In regards to your second question, consider it 'normal' to have increased concerns during your next pregnancy.  You may find yourself reluctant to even announce your pregnancy until you're much further along in your pregnancy than you were the first time.  Consider it 'normal' to want to schedule more frequent appointments with your doctor than you did the first time, have more frequent scans, read more about pregnancy, be guarded about plans for welcoming the child.  Your brain doesn't want to be taken by surprise again.  Your brain wants to be able to predict what's coming next.  Your brain is trying to protect your emotions from disappointment.  Understanding that all these reactions when you're trying again are to be expected may help you.  Take control of everything in your life that you can control - get enough sleep so that you are at your coping best, get enough fun so that you're not thinking about the pregnancy all the time, and get enough emotional support that you don't feel you're going through this alone.  Please find at least one or two people in your life that you can talk to about your concerns.  Every fear is worse when you're lying in bed alone in the darkness than when you're talking about it out loud in the sunshine. 

  • Thank you so much for joining us today, @DrWitkin. Your insight and advice is very valuable to our community, and we truly appreciate you taking the time to talk to us.
  • Sad I missed this but thank you for the great advice on this thread. It is very helpful.
     Rainbow baby Savannah born 5.13.16 at 30 weeks    
    Baby Cadence born still 3.24.15 at 28 weeks 

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