When you live the postpartum period in mourning

When you live the postpartum period in mourning

BarcelonaEstefania lost her daughter last summer. “You come home and you don't have it, but your body is still like a pregnant woman, you look in the mirror and you don't recognize yourself physically. And you suffer the consequences of all this pregnancy you've been through. It's been carrying around inside you for weeks,” she explains.

In recent years, perinatal grief management has been able to leave the privacy of homes (there are many face-to-face and virtual meeting places or hundreds of associations to share), but what remains taboo is the physical recovery of the mother. Mother “There are many postpartum rehabilitation places with children, but not when you are sad after giving birth. You meet mothers and their children and ask yourself: What am I doing here?”, laments Estefania.

According to the Spanish Society of Obstetrics and Gynecology (SEGO), it is estimated that between 10 and 20% of pregnancies end in pregnancy loss. “If the postpartum period is already a time filled with many emotional ups and downs, then experiencing the postpartum period in mourning, without a baby, is even more so,” says Vicki Gonzalez, a perinatal psychologist. According to the expert, the physical consequences have a very significant impact, as they serve as a constant reminder of the loss. “You're faced with a contradiction, but it's a way to get past it and not look the other way or pretend it didn't happen,” he adds.

One of the characteristics that developed among women who experienced this condition was the feeling of betrayal by their body and that their femininity had been undermined. This is exactly what Trini Lexa, who lost her daughter Yvette at 38 weeks of pregnancy after placental abruption, experienced. She says: “I could not forgive my uterus. I felt betrayed and rejected by my body. I was angry because I had failed.” In fact, Lexa, the president of the Pregnancy Grief Association Dragonfly from the starsHe stresses that although it has been six years since the loss, he has not yet come to terms with his body. “The suffering of perinatal loss has a huge impact on a person’s life. “Although not everyone experiences it in the same way, we cannot deny that it requires a mourning process, a crisis in a person’s life that makes him vulnerable to anxiety or depression,” he says. Gonzalez, founder of the center. Nyuma. Experts say that women who have had such an experience show higher levels of psychological distress. “At first, it's normal to feel disconnected from yourself and your surroundings, but a feeling of unreality is very common. “It feels like we're in a nightmare and we'll wake up soon, but this feeling doesn't usually last over time, it's a protective reaction,” Vicky explains. Gonzalez.

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Induction of labor

Ana Gracia Pérez, an obstetrician and gynecologist at Germans Trias i Pujol Hospital in Cannes Roti, says that advanced pregnancies that end in perinatal death, at the level of hormones, circulation, muscles or pelvic floor, go through the same stages as a viable pregnancy. for life. Bonfils This is why Vicki Gonzalez explained that when there is a perinatal loss the first thing to recover is the physical body: “The body is the house of emotions and the most important thing is to take care of yourself and allow yourself to be that way.” Taking care: eat, rest, get some exercise, get outside…”

In cases of late pregnancy loss (>28 weeks), it is common to induce vaginal delivery. “This almost always means having to undergo labor induction, which is a long process and it may seem like we are prolonging the suffering, but it is a better option than a caesarean section,” explains Gracia Pérez Bonfils. Reasons: Vaginal delivery is safer for the patient, her physical recovery will be better and last – but not least – she will not have a scar on her body that will remind her every day of the loss she has suffered.

In fact, induction of labor is a practice that is estimated to occur in 20-30% of pregnancies, although in the case of births due to perinatal death, it occurs in almost all, and it has no adverse effect physically. More than is the case in other cases, but it has a profound psychological impact.

The physical monitoring of postpartum grief is the same as monitoring a viable pregnancy. “A quarantine visit is performed where the condition of the perineum or pelvic floor is assessed. In addition, if an autopsy and/or genetic study is performed, she will be called for a consultation to hand over the results and clear up doubts, and if she wishes, she will be given advice regarding future pregnancies.” “. Gracia Pérez-Bonfils According to data from the Hospital Clinic de Barcelona, ​​a cause is found in two out of three cases. “Public Health provides a psychological support service and patients are referred to associations set up by families who have gone through similar situations,” explains the gynecologist.

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But Estefania did not experience it that way: “The hospital was very helpful to us during the pregnancy and birth process, follow-up and support groups. But now, with the postpartum period, I noticed a certain deviation. “..this has already happened, you are no longer pregnant, we will examine you.” After 40 days and that's it,” he comments, regretting that the focus is only on the emotional part, because the physical part is also there. “Seeing” that your body returns to what it was in one way or another, makes you see that life goes on, whether you like it or not, regardless of what happened. “It continues and does not wait for anyone. You have to be physically fit because your body is the only thing that will always accompany you.”

Breastfeeding in grief and helping and assisting each other

Many scientific studies have proven that breastfeeding is a protective factor against depression. Breastfeeding in grief or astral donors is one way to improve the mental health of the mother. “We must explain to the mother that if she wants and feels comfortable, she can continue breastfeeding instead of systematically preventing it,” explains Ana Gracia Pérez Bonfils. “On the one hand, specifically, in the separation of milk, there are many hormones that are well connected,” she adds. “On the other hand, the milk can be donated to a milk bank. “Many women claim that they feel fulfilled and comfortable in being able to help other children,” she adds. However, this procedure is still not widely used in health care, which generally encourages the suppression of breast milk in the bereaved mother. “No one gave me the possibility of choice,” Trini Lexa explains. In the same vein, Estefania claims that she was not He learned that she could be a milk donor and that she might have agreed.

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According to a survey conducted by Umamanita, an organization that helps manage perinatal bereavement, of 734 mothers (who lost their babies after 15 weeks of pregnancy) on what they would have done if they had been informed, 34% answered 'yes'. “Definitely or yes, maybe,” they would have given their milk. “Since I haven’t had the opportunity to feed my daughter, I know there are other people’s needs that can be met and I would have liked to have at least that option so I could make the decision,” Estefania says regretfully. Benefit Premature babies from breast milk donations, especially those who weigh less than 1,500 grams or who are younger than 32 weeks of gestation, and who may suffer from health problems as a result of digestive or intestinal diseases, immunodeficiency or fragile health condition, when their mother cannot Breastfeeding them. It is also used in the recovery of the digestive system after surgeries, as breast milk is easier to digest and facilitates the restoration of intestinal health, significantly reduces serious infections and prevents intestinal necrosis, which is a major cause of death among newborns.

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