What Happened to My Baby?

by Clara Hinton

There is nothing quite like sharing the exciting news that a new baby is on the way. Almost immediately talk begins about where to put the nursery, what kind of crib to buy, and how wonderful the holidays will be with a new baby in the family. Life takes on new meaning, and all talk centers around the excitement of the coming little one.

High on the list of discussions is hearing the baby's first heartbeat. That one event is always a monumental event. Often, many phone calls are made to friends and relatives letting them know how exciting it was to hear the swoosh swoosh sound of the baby's heart beating. Even more exciting is watching the baby's heart on the first ultrasound. There is nothing quite like seeing the rhythmic beating of your own little miracle!

One of the biggest devastations any mother can experience is when she goes to the doctor fully expecting to hear the sound of her baby's heart beating, and instead, the room echoes only silence. There are no words that can come close to explaining the emptiness that suddenly rushes in where just moments before there was only joy. A mother is left asking the only question that comes to mind, "What happened? What happened to my baby?"

Early pregnancy loss is more common than we like to think. Many statistics give a figure of fifty percent of all pregnancies ending in miscarriage. With today's highly sensitive technology, it is possible to detect a baby's heartbeat as early as seven weeks. This means that very early in a pregnancy the level of excitement is running high along with the expectations of holding a baby.

It is an extremely painful grief when a mother has to suddenly and unexpectedly shift gears from joyful anticipation to shattered dreams in a matter of only moments. There is an emotional shock as well as a physical reversal that must be dealt with, and that is certainly no easy task.

It is very common for a mother to slip into a slight depression following the sudden, unexpected, unexplained loss of her baby. She is left with the emptiest feeling ever -- the very life she once supported has ended. Unfortunately, not all people will understand the pain and grief of early pregnancy loss, and the lack of support complicates the grieving process even more. An overwhelming feeling of being alone can soon take over a mother's empty heart.

Experiencing this type of unexpected loss is extremely difficult for a mother. Her body and mind are forced into a quick reversal, and she will be faced head-on with the hard reality of loss. During this time of physical and emotional relocation and adjustment, it is extremely important for a mother to get proper rest, eat nutritious meals, and keep well hydrated.

Very rarely are there any real answers as to why the baby's heart stopped beating, and that adds to the grief and pain of loss. We want answers, and we expect answers, but the fact is that often there are no answers to be found. Fear of future pregnancies becomes a common side effect of early pregnancy loss, and can compound grief issues.

Early pregnancy loss is a difficult, painful loss and requires a lot of hard work to get through the emotional roller coaster. By not rushing the grief process, a mother can deal with the physical and emotional changes taking place. Each day will become one more day closer to healing.

Clara HintonClara Hinton is a Certified Grief Facilitator, founder of The Silent Grief Website, and the author of four books, including Silent Grief. She is the author of a weekly newletter and has contributed to Christian Woman and Church and Family magazines. Clara speaks on college campuses on grief and is a keynote speaker at women's retreats. She has been interviewed on radio stations across the nation and appeared on various TV programs. Clara is a stay-at-home mother of eleven children and wife of 31 years.

Copyright © Clara Hinton. Permission to republish granted to Pregnancy.org, LLC.