Fetal anomaly and miscarriage can be a life-changing experience and is different for everyone.
There is no right or wrong way to feel or act during this time. Whether you are overwhelmed with emotions or experiencing none of them at all, you are exactly where you are supposed to be. A wide range of feelings is normal, and it is important to take good care of your emotional needs.
You may be seeking advice and support, or you may not need any more information right now. There are many tools and support options available that can help you and promote healing. On this webpage you will find materials that other women and families have found helpful in their healing process.
We recommend the resources listed here, which are concerned with supporting your emotional health during this difficult time. Some post-abortion and fetal anomaly support you might see advertised on the Internet may be more concerned with promoting the view of their organization rather than helping you with your own situation. We understand that this may feel different from an abortion that is performed for other reasons, but many of the resources for abortion support also are very accustomed to offering support to women who have had miscarriages or abortions for abnormal or high risk pregnancies.
Some women prefer to work through their grief process after suffering a pregnancy loss on their own.
These resources allow you to work through grief and confusion at your own pace, in your own way. Below is a list of resources that aim to support you by allowing you to take on your healing process in an individualized manner.
- Exhale – ExhaleProVoice.org
- First Candle – FirstCandle.org/Grieving-Families
- Silent Grief – SilentGrief.com
- A Heart Breaking Choice – AHeartBreakingChoice.com
- Miss Foundation – MissFoundation.org
- March of Dimes – MarchofDimes.com
- New Mexico Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice – NMRCRC.org
- Forever our Angel by Hannah Stone
- Silent Grief by Clara Hinton
- Sopa de Lagrimas (Tear Soup, Spanish Edition) by Pat Schwiebert and Chuck DeKlyen
- Miscarriages Hurt Men Too by Peter Burdon
- The Burden of Choice by Georgina Pearson
- A Time to Decide, A Time to Heal by Molly Minnick M.S.W, Kathleen Delp A.C.S.W and Mary Ciotti M.D
- Unspeakable Losses: Understanding the Experience of Pregnancy Loss, Miscarriage, and Abortion by Kim Kluger-Bell
Finding Professional Help
Asking for outside help is not a sign of weakness or an inability to cope with your emotions.
It requires a degree of courage and bravery to seek out support when you need it most. How are you feeling emotionally, mentally, and physically? If you have questioned whether or not you need professional support during this time, do not hesitate to reach out to those who wish to help.
If you find yourself unable to eat or sleep and are crying uncontrollably, around the clock, six weeks after the procedure, immediately seek out professional, medical support. These physical symptoms are associated with severe depression and require medical intervention.
First Candle is funded in part by the Maternal and Child Health Bureau, Health Resources and Services Administration, and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. First Candle, along with others who have traveled this road before you, are here to help you through the difficult time.
Grieving parents or family members may request one free grief packet by calling 1.800.221.7437.
Grief Counselors are a phone call away – they are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Services are available in English and Spanish. Please contact a counselor at First Candle if you, or someone you know, needs help.
If you do not wish to seek out in-person counseling, there are a number of free talk lines available, so that you may discuss your emotional concerns from the comfort and privacy of your own home.
- Exhale is a free national talk line providing emotional support, resources, and information to women who have had abortions, as well as to their partners, friends, families, and allies. Their service is available in multiple languages including English, Spanish, Cantonese, Mandarin, and Vietnamese. 1.866.4.exhale or 1.866.439.4253
- Backline is a national talk line for women making or having made a pregnancy decision. 1.888.493.0092
- Connect & Breathe is an after abortion non-judgmental talk line. 1.866.647.1764
- Faith Aloud has trained counselors that are clergy of various religious faiths: Roman Catholic, Jewish, Unitarian Universalist, Protestant Christian, and Buddhist. Persons of no particular religious faith are equally welcome to receive services. You will reach a voicemail. Leave your first name and phone number and a counselor will call back. 1.888.717.5010
Discovering Religious and Spiritual Resources
Some women find themselves struggling with questions and religious and spiritual concerns when dealing with the aftermath of an abortion.
Below is a list of websites to help encourage you toward a place of acceptance, understanding, and healing.
- The Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice offers many spiritual and religious resources for individuals facing contradictory feelings about their religious faith and personal lives. State affiliates of the organization may offer counseling and referrals to clergy. This site has been recommended by a variety of individuals, from a multitude of religious faiths, for those struggling with religious concerns about and after abortion.
- Catholics for Choice is for pro-choice Catholics and takes stands on all kinds of reproductive freedom. If you are Catholic and struggling with the aftermath of your abortion due to fetal anomaly, this website offers information to help support both your religious faith and personal freedoms concerning your individual health. They publish the magazine Conscience as well as other helpful literature.
- WATER is a global network, an educational and spiritual space, and a center for discussion on feminism, faith, and justice. WATER connects activists, religious leaders, students, scholars, and allies who are using feminist religious values to create social change and discuss the issues women face within our culture.
- Guided Meditation creates a safe, supportive, nurturing space, in which you can be present with all of your thoughts and feelings, working to validate and empower your individual choices. It was developed to help encourage spiritual understanding by helping you find empowerment and peace with your choices and with yourself during difficult times.
Honoring Your Pregnancy
Grief is the process of remembering, not forgetting.
Many families have found creating tangible memories to be helpful and comforting as they grieve the loss of their pregnancy. Rituals and keepsakes that speak to your personal experience can help bring about closure for those who wish to say goodbye. Below we have included a handful of ideas that other families have used to honor the pregnancy.
Heritage Memorial Services
17712 Beach Blvd.
Huntington Beach, CA 92647
Fairhaven Memorial Park Mortuary
1702 E. Fairhaven Ave.
Santa Ana, CA 92705
220 E. Main St.
Tustin, CA 92780
Dignity Memorial Mt. View Mortuary and Cemetery
570 E. Highland Ave.
San Bernardino, CA 92404
Desert View Mortuary, Crematory and Memorial Park
11478 Amargosa Rd.
Victorville, CA 92392
Planned Parenthood of Orange and San Bernardino Counties is not able to coordinate memorial services. Please contact any of the above locations for more information before your scheduled visit.
Planned Parenthood of Orange and San Bernardino Counties provides a complimentary Remembrance Box ideal for storing mementos, comfort cards and special trinkets.
Other Memorial Ideas:
- Write a goodbye letter.
- Plant a tree or name a star.
- Find a pendant that is two halves of a heart. Wear one and bury the other.
- Do something for a child in need. Volunteer, lend a helping hand, or give a gift to a child or an organization.
- Create a blog or memorial site.
- Commemorate your expected due date or the anniversary of your loss by burning an candle.