Still-birth or Full Term Loss {Miscarriage and Pregnancy Awareness}

Most U.S. sources define stillbirth as a loss after the 20th week of pregnancy in which the baby dies before being born (a loss before 20 weeks is a miscarriage). According to, this tragedy occurs in 1 in 200 pregnancies, with the majority of stillbirths happening in full-term or close to full-term pregnancies.

I personally do not know many people who have had a full term loss. Until I was connected to a group of strong mamas that would forever change my life I knew none. But now that I do know these moms I have a tiny bit of insight into what a mother experiences when they go through a late loss. Now I am not in any way saying that the pain of a woman who has gone through a late loss is any greater than a woman who has had a miscarriage but I do know that in some ways it's different.

Most mothers who have experienced a late loss are either expecting it due to an illness or genetic disorder or they have no idea that there are any problems whatsoever. When a woman finds out that they are pregnant they are offered (or allowed to request) a first and second trimester screening. In these screenings the chances of their baby having a genetic disorder are ruled out. Some women, when given the news that their baby does have a disorder or other problems, choose to carry out their pregnancy to term (or as long as they can until the baby passes). Other mothers have the choice to be induced and deliver their baby earlier than full term.*

Late Loss Due to Grim and Fatal Diagnosis
One mother in particular that I've been blessed to know is Stacy Delisle. She lost her beautiful son Isaac after having only 16 precious minutes with him after his birth. She has written a heart-felt blog that not only documents her life but the life of Isaac. She even posted letters that she wrote to her beautiful boy here in a blog for him. Not only has Stacy lost her beautiful son too soon but she has also experienced two miscarriages as well. One recent and one before Isaac. And she is currently pregnant with her third child.

So if you are going through a late loss or have a similar story to Stacy I am here to let you know that it's ok to reach out! You may be surprised by how many other women out there are going through some of the same feelings you are going through as well. Stacy has shared a website on her blog that leads women who have chosen to carry their pregnancy onward even when given a grim diagnosis for their unborn child. You are welcome to visit the site for support and answers.

Unexpected Late Loss
Some late losses are sudden. No warning, no preparation. The mother feels less movement; no kicks to count. Or you go in for a routine appointment to find no heartbeat. No matter what the cause of the loss, a later loss is hard for all involved. There is nothing in the world that a mother can go do to prepare for the loss of her child. And when it comes suddenly there is a lot to process at once. Not only does the mother still have to go through the birth of her child and feel the physical pain but she also has to deal with the emotional and mental pain that come with the loss of a child. And this can all sometimes prove to be unbearable.

One thing that a mother needs to know is that it is ok to grieve. Just because your baby didn't live on the outside doesn't mean that a deep bond wasn't formed in utero. And try not to forget about the spouse. They, too, have formed bonds with the unborn child and are sometimes forgotten in the grieving process. Everyone copes differently with stillbirth, but many women find that tactics such as keeping a journal or attending support groups can be therapeutic in coping with pregnancy loss.

Reaching Out
Sadly there are many women who have gone through the loss of a child before they were born. And some of these women want to reach out to others who are going through the same thing. Being able to connect with someone else who has gone through a similar tragedy can be therapeutic. Allowing yourself to open up to others and talk about your experience will continue the grieving process and will help with healing. It will also give you an outlet to remember your child as well. Too many mothers have commented that the
 one thing they are most sad about is that the memory of their child seems to be forgotten over time. And they need to know that their child is not forgotten. Their child lives on with them and the memories they formed while carrying that child.

If you or someone you know has experienced a late loss, do not hesitate to reach out and find or offer support. I did not suffer a late loss but found much help and hope through online forums such as TheBump's Miscarriage/Pregnancy Loss board. And if you need someone to talk to I am more than willing to help lead you to a mother who has gone through something similar.You are not alone.

* Out of respect to the women that I love and care for I choose not to label this form of pregnancy loss as abortion

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