In doing research for my upcoming book I learned that 1 in 4 pregnancies end in a loss.
Loss is more than just a miscarriage.
Loss can be a stillbirth or even termination.
Loss can be the death of an infant after birth and before their first birthday.
While there is some halachic prescriptions to follow for older babies who pass after one-month-old like sitting shiva – the seven-day mourning period, unfortunately – the Torah is very quiet on how to cope with the loss of an unborn child, stillborn child, or young infant.
Wondering why I am talking about this here and what it has to do with organizing?
The reasons why I am including this in my book are many but the main reason is that I believe that many women- starting from well before they are ever in the realm of thinking about babies assume that everything will be ok when they are ready to have one.
They are shocked and deeply saddened because they weren’t expecting that anything could ever go wrong. And if something does go wrong, they think it is their fault, and they think they are all alone.
After talking to at least a dozen women about this, they all said they wished they had known that they weren’t alone and that a pregnancy loss wasn’t their fault. They felt that if they had had support, their depression wouldn’t have been as bad, and they could have moved forward quicker and with more grace.
If you have been following me for a while, you know I take a holistic approach to organizing.
You can’t just look at someone’s clutter and say “I can fix it!” Snap your fingers, and it is done. It can take years to help people with severe clutter problems (or even mild clutter problems), and sometimes they never truly are able to control the clutter.
The emotional baggage that can stay with a family after a pregnancy loss can last for a very long time, and it can send home life into a tailspin, especially when there are children to care for.
The feelings of depression and shifting hormones after a loss can lead to poor self-care habits, poor home care habits, and a general lack of interest in anything leaving a partner, who is also coping with loss to manage, often poorly.
The bottom line is this: loss affects how we cope with life and specifically how we organize ourselves.
While usually there is no way to prepare for loss, there are things you can do to help yourself after a loss. In my book, Organized Jewish Life, I provide lists of things you can speak to your doctors and rabbis about to help you get the answers you need. Oftentimes, in stressful and sad situations, we don’t even know what to ask- this is where an organized list can be a huge help to guide the conversation.
Below I have included 3 things to keep in mind when coping with the loss of an infant:
- Seek support
There is no harm in asking for help.
Ask your healthcare provider about a group or individual options.
- Don’t be afraid to ask a friend to help you
This is what friends are for.
If you need meals, a babysitter, some financial support, whatever, just ask! You can’t get help if you don’t ask! (And don’t feel bad for needing help!)
- Find a way to channel your grief
For you, that may mean just taking a shower every day and putting on clean clothing. For someone else, that may mean going for a 5K walk- whatever it is that will move you forward is worth trying. (As long as you have clearance from your doctor)
It may take some time to figure out the activity that channels your grief, but don’t lose hope – it will come.
If you know someone who has experienced loss, send them a message and tell them you are thinking of them, send over a pizza, or a gift card for a mani/pedi… Do a small gesture to let them know you are thinking of them and you are there for them.
If you want more information on this and other lifecycle events complete with checklists, preorder your copy of Organized Jewish Life today at balaganbegone.com/book