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How do you grieve?

This is a welcoming place for you to ask your questions and share your knowledge and experiences of ectopic pregnancy.
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Posts: 1
Joined: Thu Mar 19, 2020 1:19 pm

How do you grieve?

Post by aew19 »

Hi All,

First post here, 6 weeks post surgery today. First pregnancy, ectopic found at 4 weeks before I even knew I was pregnant.

I've been incredibly stubborn and not taken time for myself to heal; I went back to work full time in the NHS 10 days after discharge from hospital and continued with my university course on the side.
I'm now burning out and realising I'm not able to put my effort into everything.

The reason I rushed back to work was because I wanted some normality in my life - but also because I was going mad just sitting and doing nothing after my surgery. I really thought I was doing fine and coping well but have realised I've been a little bit on auto-pilot, with a smile on my face I don't really mean - and I'm not as OK as I thought I was. My GP and family and friends have said to take time to process and grieve.

But how do you do this? I don't know what the process is to work through what happened to me, come through the other side and be well enough to get on with things. And how do you know you're ready to face things without trying it?

I guess it doesn't help that I encounter pregnant ladies in my job quite frequently, and despite striving for normality the world I knew pre surgery has changed anyway because of COVID-19.

Any tips about how people got through this? I also find it hard to grieve something I didn't know existed even though I feel like I need to.

Many Thanks,

EPT Host 20
Posts: 1791
Joined: Thu May 31, 2012 9:58 pm

Re: How do you grieve?

Post by EPT Host 20 »

Dear Abby,
I am so sorry to hear of your ectopic pregnancy and loss.
I truly understand the desire to want to return to normal, I did too and went back to work a week after having methotrexate injection. I felt I didn't want to let anyone else down, and thought the best thing for me to do would be to return to work and keep my mind occupied. In hindsight this was not the right decision for me, but I continued.
Working for the NHS is often stressful at the best of times without the changes and stresses of Covid-19, throw in a university course and it is no wonder you are starting to feel burnt out.
It is difficult to tell you how to take the time to grieve as we all do this in our own way, but one thing I would suggest is slowing down, so you do literally have the time.
Most people would only be looking at returning to work around 6 weeks after surgery from a physical point of view, it is worth bearing in mind that an ectopic pregnancy and surgery can be a frightening experience and many women need to take time to help them deal with the psychological/emotional impact of the loss of their baby, being diagnosed with a life-threatening condition and undergoing major surgery. Your GP sounds supportive so please speak to them about having some time off work if required.
If you feel this is not needed or you do not want to take time off a few options may be available depending on your role: might there be an opportunity to work reduced hours, increasing them slowly over a few weeks? Perhaps there are certain tasks that you could take on which may entail a change from your usual role or a series of reduced tasks initially? I am not sure whether this is appropriate in your circumstances, but is there anything that you could action from home (which may be different from your usual role but still be of use)?
Can you take any pressure off yourself with your university course? Is there scope to defer or delay any assignments? Perhaps speaking to a tutor to discuss options.
I struggled emotionally for many years after my ectopic and I eventually had counselling, they suggested I take some time for myself, do things I enjoy, walking, meeting with friends etc (slightly more difficult in the current lockdown climate). But anything you can do that brings you some joy will help.

When we experience ectopic pregnancy we are suddenly faced with a life threatening emergency and it's treatment, reduction in fertility, concerns about the future and the loss of our babies. Experiencing any one of these is an ordeal, putting them together is immense and your feelings are completely normal at this stage of recovery.
If you start to feel more overwhelmed however, we at the Trust believe that talking through what happened and your emotions as and when you can helps the healing process. We operate a helpline service and there's no pressure whatsoever but if you would ever like the opportunity to speak over the phone to someone who has been through a similar experience, do feel free to call, details are below. We can take things at your pace entirely and you are free to ask any questions that are on your mind. You can talk about the ordeal you have been through and express your feelings to vent and let off some steam. We can exchange emails too, if you prefer that route. We'll simply be here for you, however you wish and for as long as you wish.

In addition, you can ask to see a GP at your practice and ask them to explore ways in which you can get help and this can include referrals for "talking therapies" or counselling. We have information on our website about finding counselling services.

The charity Mind may also be of assistance. They have local centres and support groups and can offer services on a means-tested basis or sometimes free. You can find your local centre following this link if that may be useful too:

Above all be kind to yourself and allow time to grieve, to heal both physically and emotionally,
Sending much love and warm hugs,
Karen x

The Ectopic Pregnancy Trust
Registered Charity Number: 1071811

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Posts: 19
Joined: Thu Oct 03, 2019 5:42 pm

Re: How do you grieve?

Post by Bld1 »

Hi Abby,

Same thing happened to me but I had always cringed at the thought of having children. When the doctor told me I was pregnant I immediately started crying because I was so upset. I had an IUD and it wasnt supposed to happen. We than had to terminate, that didnt work so 10 days later I had my tube removed with the pregnancy. I was "normal" through most of this and was actually relieved I was no longer pregnant. Than it hit me like a ton of bricks. I was grieving for my unborn baby that I never wanted but someone needed to feel that type of love. I went through all the emotions and spent about 7 months after coming to terms. It's been 10 months now and all my friends have just had babies and it's hard to think I would have had one too. I went onto birth control to stabilise my mood and it has helped and I'm doing better. Doesnt change the fact that now every time I see a young baby I think of mine. I still have sad moments but realizing how I was hurting and talking to ppl about it was and still is necessary when I'm struggling. I think of this like loosing a friend. You will always think of them and never forget what happened but you heal little bit by little at your own pace. I think I still have a ways to go and maybe I'll want a baby someday but for now I know my baby was loved by me more than he/she will ever know and the impact that was left can not be replaced. Horrible experience to go through but it opened my love to a deeper meaning and love in life. I hope you take your time and cry when you need, talk when you need and love yourself as it wasnt your fault! Lots of love

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