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Pregnancy Loss: The Stigma and the Depression

posted Jul 27, 2014, 2:17 PM by AndrewandSarah Witzel   [ updated Jul 27, 2014, 2:17 PM ]
Symptoms of depression, anxiety, or post traumatic stress disorder frequently occur after pregnancy loss (through stillbirth, miscarriage, or abortion). However, due to the stigma surrounding pregnancy loss in our society, women often do not receive the support they need, from either their health care providers, or family and friends.

Even though miscarriages occur frequently, and usually have no discernible cause, they are still considered somewhat taboo. Women are often told to wait to share their pregnancies after the first trimester is past, in case they miscarry. The result of this is that women are forced to grieve alone, and miscarriage remains stigmatized because it is not spoken about.

Approximately 100,000 abortions are performed yearly in Canada, so it is not an uncommon event. But because abortion is a very controversial topic, women are often left with little support in dealing with emotional aftereffects, such as depression.

So what can be done? Support is available online, and through your community. October 15th is recognized as Pregnancy and Infant Loss day, with memorial events planned in many communities. Some cities also have memorial graveyards or shrines designated for miscarried or aborted babies. Rachel’s Vineyard (an international non-profit organization) hosts retreats for women recovering from abortion or miscarriage. Don't be afraid to seek out a support group or individual counselling. See also the PMDA resource page on this topic here.

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