Belfast Telegraph

Did baby loss spur panic attacks?

Northern Ireland's number one agony aunt Fiona Hurley answers your problems

Dear Fiona, I’m a 33-year-old who gave birth to a stillborn. It hasn’t affected me as badly as people thought it would.

It’s not important but I also got pregnant at 16 and my parents made me get an abortion but even that didn’t really affect me badly.

I’ve always been strong but I’ve been having panic attacks lately.

Why have I changed?

PR, Belfast

Dear PR,

But if something’s ‘not important’, why mention it? Your lack of emotion in relation to these saddening events and referring to your babies as ‘it’ are common strategies for dealing with trauma.

Your first bereavement was at 16 when you were practically a child yourself but you haven’t yet grieved for your loss as doing so would mean accepting possible guilt and pain.

Did you ‘expect‘ to lose your babies because you feel you don’t deserve another child?

Please give your babies names so you can grieve for them. Also, write a heartfelt apology to your first baby, explaining your reasons for termination and asking for forgiveness.

They may seem like futile exercises but they will be therapeutic, initiating the bereavement process which is necessary for healing and closure.

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