Coping with Pregnancy Loss

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Losing a baby is one of the hardest things for any parent to go through; thus, the topic of pregnancy loss is always an uncomfortable one to talk about. 

A pregnancy loss is usually classified as a miscarriage or a stillbirth. A miscarriage happens when there is a life loss early into the pregnancy. However, a fetus without any indication of life at 28 weeks or more during delivery is considered a stillborn. 

Why it happens

As much as we don’t want these things to happen, complications arising in pregnancy can result in pregnancy loss. Here are some of the common causes:

Maternal health

Probably the most common and most apparent is when the mother already has ill health. Medical conditions that can cause a pregnancy loss include:

  • Chronic high blood pressure
  • Thyroid
  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • Preeclampsia

Issues with the placenta

It could also be placental problems which can be caused by: 

  • Drugs misuse and other unhealthy lifestyle choices
  • Abdominal trauma, from a fall or blunt trauma
  • Women aged 40 years and above who have a higher risk of developing placental problems

Infection in the body

Bacterial infections can include the mother and baby like:

  • group B streptococcus
  • E. coli
  • klebsiella
  • enterococcus 
  • Haemophilus influenza 
  • chlamydia 
  • mycoplasma or ureaplasma.

Congenital disabilities or birth defects

However, sometimes there is no way of telling why pregnancy loss happens especially when mum is healthy and has no health issues. There is a possibility it could be a birth defect or other underlying congenital disability whereby the fetus would not have survived even at full term. Still, there’s no way of telling unless a thorough examination of the baby or an autopsy is done.

Your Mental Health After a Pregnancy Loss

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As with any life lost, there is always the emotional and mental trauma tied to it. Emotions will run high. At first, parents might be in denial, followed by guilt and self-blame, wondering if there was anything they could have done to prevent this from happening. Some go on to feeling depressed, angry and even envious of other expecting parents as they yearn for their own. Still, it is important not to blame rush yourselves through the grieving process. Here are some suggestions to make your healing a little easier:

Decide what works for you

Loved ones might offer well-meaning suggestions on how to move on from the pregnancy loss or offer encouragement in hopes that parents can get over their grief soon. Know that how you choose to grief is entirely up to you. If you’re not ready to pack up all the baby things away just yet, then take as much time as you need.

Create memories and keepsakes to remember your baby

Most parents would have already named their baby. But if you haven’t, you might want to do so, so that someday you can refer to him or her by name when you tell your children. Some parents also find comfort in owning personalised jewellery, or by planting a tree or having a memorial service in their baby’s honour. Some parents put in a request to the hospital staff to make handprints or footprints while others hire a professional photographer to capture the memory.

Take it slow

Know that there will be good days and bad days. Focus on taking things one step at a time, and try not to get too overwhelmed about the future. Recognise your grief and hold off on making any rash or major decisions until you are more settled emotionally.

Take care of yourself

In Malaysia, it is not uncommon to see mothers opt for a half confinement with some even going as far as to do a full confinement to help their body recover. Despite a pregnancy loss, it doesn’t discount the significant changes in a woman’s body. After expelling the fetus and placenta mum would need adequate rest and eat a healthy diet to regain her strength. Parents need to keep each other in check. Do not resort to smoking or alcohol to drown your pain and remember to take medications under your doctor’s guidance.

Dads get affected too 

Remember that dads grieve too, although they may not cope with grief the same way mums do. Some might want to talk things out, while another might just withdraw and shut down. Always be open and honest with each other during the grieving process. Helping one another along will ensure that the two of you make it through and come out stronger.

Keep a journal

If opening up and talking about it is too difficult, perhaps writing down your thoughts and feelings might help you with your pain. You can even write letters, notes or poems to remember your baby. The decision is yours.

Get support

It is okay to voice out if you need support. Not everyone knows how to approach the topic of life lost, so your loved ones might be inclined to give you your space. Prompt them if you need someone to talk to because unless you speak out, nobody would want to risk hurting you more. 

There are plenty of support groups and counselling that can found on the Malaysian Mental Health Association. The important thing is to find someone you can trust, someone you are comfortable with. Here’s a list of counsellors and therapists in the Klang Valley:

GOVERNMENT SERVICES
1COMMUNITY COUNSELLING CLINIC, UPMAddress: Department of Counsellor Education and Counselling Psychology, Faculty of Educational Studies, Universiti Putra Malaysia, 43400 Serdang, Selangor. Contact: +603-8946 8118 
2COUNSELLING PSYCHOLOGY UNIT DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH FEDERAL TERRITORY OF KUALA LUMPUR AND PUTRAJAYAAddress: Jabatan Kesihatan Wilayah, Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur, Jalan Cenderasari, 50590 Kuala Lumpur. Contact: +603-22687333 
3DEPARTMENT OF PSYCHOLOGY COUNSELLING, HOSPITAL KUALA LUMPURAddress: Unit Psikologi Kaunseling (UPsK), Hospital Kuala Lumpur, Unit Psikologi Kaunseling, Jalan Pahang, 50586 Kuala Lumpur. Contact: +603-2615 6254. NOTE: A doctor’s referral letter is required.
4NATIONAL POPULATION AND FAMILY DEVELOPMENT BOARD MALAYSIA (LPPKN)Address: Bangunan LPPKN, Bahagian Pembangunan Keluarga, Unit Kaunseling, 12B, Jalan Raja Laut, 50350 Kuala Lumpur. Contact: +603-2693 7555
5PSYCHIATRY DEPARTMENT, HOSPITAL TENGKU AMPUAN RAHIMAHAddress: Klinik Pakar Psikiatri (Psychiatry Clinic), 1st Floor, Ambulatory Care Centre (ACC) HTAR, Jalan Langat 41200 Klang, Selangor. Contact: +603-3375 7000 (ex 6273)
6UNIVERSITY MALAYA MEDICAL CENTRE (UMMC/PPUM)Address: University Malaya Medical Centre, Lembah Pantai, 59100 Kuala Lumpur.Contact: +603-7949 2988 | +603-7949 3991 | +603-7949 3598
7UKM HEALTH PSYCHOLOGY CLINICAddress: Clinic of Health Psychology, School of Healthcare Sciences, Faculty of Health Sciences, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, Jalan Raja Muda Abdul Aziz, 50300 Kuala Lumpur.Contact: +603-2687 8198
8UKM HOSPITAL PSYCHIATRIC DEPARTMENTAddress: Hospital UKM, Jalan Tenteram, Bandar Tun Razak Cheras, 56000 Kuala Lumpur.Contact: +603-9173 3333
PRIVATE SERVICES
1ENRICH COUNSELLING & THERAPY CENTREAddress: 17-3, Jalan Puteri 1/6, Bandar Puteri, 47100 Puchong, Selangor. Contact: +603-8061 8061
2FAMILYFIRST CONSULTANCYAddress: TTDI ADINA, Block 1, No 11, Jalan Judo 13/45, Section 13, 40675, Shah Alam Selangor. Contact: +6017-937 5804 | +6019-252 5488
3INPSYCHAddress: 41-3, Jalan 1/137B, Resource Industrial Centre, Off Old Klang Road, 58200 Kuala Lumpur. Contact: +6017-331 1216
4KIN & KIDS MARRIAGE, FAMILY AND CHILD THERAPY CENTERAddress: 10-8, Binjai 8 Premium Soho, No. 2, Lorong Binjai, 50450 Kuala Lumpur. OR A-13-29, PJ Centrestage, Jalan 13/1, Seksyen 13, 46200 Petaling Jaya, Selangor. Contact: +6019-380 0902
5OASIS PLACEAddress: Level 16, Menara Sentral Vista, No. 150, Jalan Sultan Abdul Samad, Brickfields, 50470 Kuala Lumpur. Contact: + 603-2276 9111 
6TURNING POINT INTEGRATED WELLNESS SDN BHDAddress: 10-2 and 10-3, Jalan Puteri 2/4, Bandar Puteri, Bandar Puteri Puchong, 47100 Puchong, Selangor. Contact: +603-8063 8981 | +603-8051 4518 
7REKINDLEAddress: 42-2 Jalan 25/70A, Desa Sri Hartamas 50480, Kuala Lumpur.Contact: +603-6201 7488 | +6019-369 8519 
COMMUNITY-BASED INSTITUTIONS
1AGAPE COUNSELING CENTRE MALAYSIAAddress: 56, Jalan PJS 1/46, Taman Petaling Utama, Petaling Jaya 46150 Selangor. Contact: +603-7785 5955
2CALVARY LIFE MINISTRIESAddress: 4, Jalan Damansara Endah, Damansara Heights, 50490 Kuala Lumpur.Contact: +603-2095 6360 | +603-2095 6361
3GRACE COMMUNITY SERVICESAddress: No. 7, Jalan Dendang 1, Kawasan 16, Berkeley Town Centre, Klang 41300, Selangor.Contact: +603-33414044 | +603-33414055
4HELP UNIVERSITY – CENTRE FOR PSYCHOLOGICAL AND COUNSELLING SERVICES (CPCS)Address: Level 10, Wisma HELP, Jalan Dungun, Medan Damansara, 50490, Kuala Lumpur. OR HELP University, Block B, Level 6, Persiaran Cakerawala, Subang Bestari, Seksyen U4, 40150 Shah Alam, Selangor.Contact: +603-2096 1212 (Damansara) | +603-7849 3200 (Subang)
5KEYS CAREFORCE BERHADAddress: Unit W701, Metropolitan Square, Jalan PJU 8/1, Bandar Damansara Perdana, 47820 Petaling Jaya, Selangor. Contact: +603-7732 7311 | +6012-913 4096
6LIFE LINE ASSOCIATION MALAYSIAAddress: No. 1-3, 3rd Floor, Jalan Jelatek 1, Pusat Perniagaan Jelatek, Setiawangsa, 54200 Kuala Lumpur. Contact: +603-4265 7995 
7MITRA LINE – THAN HSIANG WELFAREAddress: 196, Batu 3 1/4, Jalan Klang Lama, 58000 Kuala Lumpur.Contact: +603-7981 5301 | +603-7981 5300
8NEW ERA COLLEGE COUNSELLING CENTERAddress: Blok B&C, Lot 5, Seksyen 10, Jalan Bukit, 43000 Kajang, Selangor.Contact: +603-87392770 (Ext 6239/6211/6212) 
9YOUNG BUDDHIST ASSOCIATION OF MALAYSIA (YBAM)Address: No. 9, Jalan SS25/24, Taman Mayang, 47301 Petaling Jaya, Selangor.Contact: +603-7805 3030
HOTLINES
1ALL WOMEN’S ACTION SOCIETY (AWAM) – TELENITAAddress: 85, Jalan 21/1, Sea Park, 46300 Petaling Jaya, Selangor.Contact: +603-7877 0224
2BEFRIENDERSAddress: 95 Jalan Templer, 46000, Petaling Jaya, Selangor.Contact: +603-7956 8144 | +603-7956 8145
3DBKL TELECOUNSELLINGAddress: Tingkat 1, Menara DBKL, Jalan Raja Laut 50350 Kuala Lumpur.Contact: 1800-88-2600 | 03-26179905
4TALIAN NURContact: 15999 | [email protected]
5WOMEN’S AID ORGANISATION (WAO)Contact: +03-7956 3488

Hope for the future

In closing, many parents experience pregnancy loss but go on to have successful pregnancies. But when the pain and grief subsides, both of you can talk about whether you’d like to try again and, if so, when. It may seem scary, or both of you may still feel sad for your earlier loss — but you never know when it could be successful. So when you’re ready, do not be afraid to hope for the future.

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