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  • Rebecca Feinglos

We Don't Talk Enough About Grieving And Childbirth

I know women who have given birth in extremely traumatic circumstances (and you do too, whether they've told you about it or not). That trauma might have looked like giving birth to a baby who didn't survive, and now she's grieving that devastating loss. She may have given birth to a healthy baby, but her labor was beyond the levels of physical and mental pain she could have imagined— she's grieving a delivery experience she didn't get to have.

We as a society generally blow past the grief new moms may be feeling from the trauma they've experienced. We want to focus on the joy of the new baby, but when we do that, the new mother's grief has nowhere to go. We want to tell the mom who lost a baby that there's hope for her future, for having more children. We skip over the grief because it's hard to talk about.

When I started The Mother's Day Project, I did it to channel my own grief for my late mother into something constructive. I had no idea that in building an organization focusing on mothers with newborns in intensive care that I would learn so much about other people's grief— I feel naïve for even admitting that, but it’s true. I've never been pregnant, and I've never given birth, so this is one area of grief I've never personally experienced. But in hearing stories from donors to The Mother's Day Project, and from the women who receive our supports, I'm learning that childbirth can be full of grief for so many women— and this grief too often goes unspoken and unheard.

One of my goals for the future of The Mother's Day Project, now that we are established as a nonprofit, is to share stories from mothers who are grieving their neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) experience. For many of the women whose stories are on our website, this is the first time they've ever shared their grief so publicly— or even recognized their pain.

I encourage you to read mothers' stories as we approach Mother's Day, and lift up their voices together.

Grieve on.


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