Her words brought to life my greatest fears, that somehow I was responsible for my loss and that I could end up losing this baby as well.
I had a hard time during my Pregnancy After Loss (PAL). I was anxious, and sad and later learned that I had Antenatal Depression (Depression during Pregnancy). In an attempt to try and help with the difficult emotions I was feeling, I made an appointment with a Counsellor through my work.
I sat in her office crying, explaining to her how nervous I was about my son’s “safe” arrival.
She advised me to simply “try not to think about your last baby, be happy about this baby.”
When I responded “I am terrified believing that this baby will not get to come home with me,” my Counsellor said the most damaging 9 words I had ever heard:
“Have you ever heard of the Self Fulfilling Prophecy?”
The moment she spoke those words I could feel the ache in my heart and pit in my stomach grow, as my eyes began to well.
For those who are not familiar with this prophecy, it is when a person “unknowingly causes a prediction to come true, due to the simple fact that he or she expects it to come true.” (Study.com)
In my situation, I understood it to mean that my fears of losing another baby would ultimately make that fear become a reality.
I sat there trying to understand why she would say something so cruel. I tried to tell her that it wasn’t something I wanted to happen or expected to happen, it was my worst nightmare. I tried to listen as she explained that my line of thinking was not helpful in this situation. However, all I could do was cry and think that no words had ever hurt me so deeply before.
Was it my fault?
If I am being honest, there were times after my loss that I felt like it was my fault. It took me a long time to forgive myself and accept that there was nothing I did or could have done to prevent my loss.
But those 9 words uttered by my Counsellor took away every piece of acceptance, self love and forgiveness I had worked so hard to build and ripped them right out from under me. Her words brought to life my greatest fears, that somehow I was responsible for my loss and that I could end up losing this baby as well.
I left her office devastated, and I never went back.
Finding The Right Support for Me.
I am grateful to say that after this incident I was referred to the Perinatal Mental Health Program in Sudbury. I began seeing a wonderful Nurse Practitioner with specialized training in Perinatal Mental Health and over 35 years’ experience. She helped to heal me. I spoke about all of the fears and anxiety I was struggling with and rather than tell me not to worry about them she gave me a safe space to express them. She validated my fears and ultimately became one of the pillars of my wellness.
If you are experiencing a Pregnancy After Loss please know that your feelings are valid. Your worries are understandable and your fears are there because you love your baby (ies) so much. Also remember it’s not your fault and just because you are scared, nervous or anxious does not mean it will happen again.
You are brave and courageous, and beautiful mama, you got this! <3.
Wow Meg, I’m so sorry you had to hear that. What an awful thing to say to you, well to anyone really. I’m glad you found the support you needed I the end. PAL is so hard…we really shouldn’t have to face this kind of stuff. Hugs.
What an awful things to say, and from someone whose very profession is to support and be understanding of people’s feelings. I would make a complaint, she could really cause a lot of damage and guilt for her patients.