What is reproductive loss?
Reproductive loss is grief or loss after a miscarriage and abortion. Some things you many not realize about reproductive loss in the US:
- One in four pregnancies ends in a miscarriage
- One in 80 pregnancies ends in a stillbirth
- One in six couples will experience problems with infertility
- 20,000 domestic infant adoptions each year
- One million elective abortions each year
- One in four women will have an abortion by the time they are 45
I've experienced reproductive loss, where can I turn?
Experiencing reproductive loss can be very difficult. Although, you may feel isolated in your experience, you are not alone! But your experience is unique - there isn't a right or wrong reaction or set of emotions, and there isn't a set timeline for processing emotions, grieving and healing. But there is always hope as you make your own journey towards healing. If you are experiencing difficulty you may need some support which could include:
- Talk to someone you're close to, like your partner, a family member of friend
- Talk to spiritual or professional counselor
- Attend a bereavement support group such as Seasons of Hope or the (annual) half day retreat for pregnancy and reproductive loss- both here at Saint Brigid.
- Miscarriage - anonymously visit a miscarriage website called miscarriagehurts.com.
- Abortion - For women and men affected by this loss: anonymously visit an abortion website called abortionchangesyou.com. Hear stories as I sit here in quarantine from women during this time... Other resources include the abortion recovery hotline at 866-482-5433 or visit Rachel's Hope which provides after-abortion healing and reconciliation for Catholic women in San Diego and Imperial County.
- Men and Reproductive Loss: Strong, Silent and Invisible- Help for grieving fathers- click here
- Honor the pregnancy loss - many find creating a memorial can help; explore eight simple ideas of how many have done this.
I care - what do I do if someone shares their story with me?
Because this subject is rarely talked about, it's normal for those being confided in to feel confused about what to do or say. You may worry about 'saying the right thing." However just by communicating with someone sensitively and compassionately, you can be a source of healing and understanding. Here are some things to keep in mind:
- Acknowledge loss and emotions
- Listen and resist temptation to 'fix it'
- Keep it confidential
- Don't try and force healing
- Be honest if you can't provide support but offer other support resources
- What NOT to Say
- 10 Terrific Things to Say
Letter from Fr. Steve
Recently 12 staff and parishioners went through a morning of training on reproductive loss with an organization called Life Perspectives. I became aware of this wonderful organization years ago at the diocese when they made a presentation on the resources they offer online to help women, men, family members, and friends who have been touched by abortion.The training had three goals:
- Broaden our understanding of grief & loss after miscarriage and abortion
- Explore how to be a safe place for hurting women & men
- Provide healing resources to help those in our community
Grief by those who have suffered reproductive loss is not something that is culturally acknowledged in our society. As a result, countless numbers of affected people carry their pain in isolation, often not addressing it for many years with destructive consequences in their lives. The workshop was tremendously helpful in providing us a better understanding of what grieving looks like for someone affected by reproductive loss and the various dimensions of the healing process. The parish staff is committed to continuing the conversation and exploring ways that Saint Brigid Parish can be a safe place where people impacted by reproductive loss can grieve and heal.