In March of last year, my dog died. He was only three years old, so it was quite unexpected. I’ve lost pets before, so I know it is possible to get through it, but this time was different. I was also pregnant at the time.
I looked all over the Internet and the pregnancy magazines trying to find an article that would reassure me that my grief would not affect my pregnancy negatively. I found nothing. Everything written about pregnancy and grief seemed to focus on the loss of a pregnancy.
Of course, when you are pregnant, all you do is pee and go to the doctor, so I was able to talk to my midwife first to reassure myself and second to find out whether she knew of any resources. She also drew a blank, even looking in the specialized medical literature. (Note to obstetric researchers: This is a topic you could differentiate with.)
Now that I knew that my negative emotions and stress would most likely not cause complications for my baby, I looked ahead to find ways to process my grief. Like most writers who lose a beloved pet, my first instinct was to write an essay about Aries and how amazing he was in his short time with us. And I did that, but I did not look at that essay as a publishable item. That was just for me.
Instead, I decided to tackle the topic no one had and write an article about how women can cope with a loss during pregnancy that is not related to miscarriage.
I found other women who had experienced loss of a parent or a pet while they were pregnant. They told me about how they, like me, felt guilty when they were excited about their pregnancy. They shared their sadness that their child would never know the person or pet who had died. And they talked about how they processed their grief. Some focused on their little bundle of joy. Some looked to maintain the connection between their baby and their lost loved one. And some found amazing ways to honor their fallen through action.
I found experts to talk about how women could process their grief and maintain a healthy emotional balance. In the process, I created a resource that all women can use to help them handle a negative situation that happens during their pregnancy.
Read it on Pregnancy360.com, then come back here and let me know how you have used your life experiences–positive and negative–to influence your writing. We talked a little bit about this last week, so this week, let’s drill down and give some specifics. Links to your work online are appreciated!