Dear Therapist,

About a year ago, my wife gave birth to a stillborn baby. It was devastating for both of us, but I feel that I have dealt with my anger and disappointment, and I have decided to focus on our living children. My wife, on the other hand, is still completely devastated. She talks about what happened on a regular basis, and I still catch her crying. I was finally able to convince her to start therapy about a month ago. She says that it is helpful, but still feels jealous of women with healthy pregnancies and babies. Her therapist and I have tried to tell her that she is not alone, and it would be good for her to meet others who have gone through similar experiences, but she is hesitant to go. Do you have any ideas?

Worried Husband

Dear Worried Husband,

What a heartbreaking story! I am so sorry to hear about your family's ordeal. I can see how hard it is for you to watch your wife try and process what has happened. Know that these feelings are normal and part of the healing process. It's excellent that your wife agreed to go for individual counseling as this step can often be the hardest. I trust that her therapist will monitor her depression and assure both of you that her feelings are within normal range. If the therapist is concerned, h/she should refer your wife to a competent psychiatrist who can prescribe medication.

Since your main question was about a support group, I will take the remainder of the letter to focus on the benefits of joining one. Support groups are a wonderful tool for people craving social connections. By processing her feelings in a group setting, she will lessen her anxiety as she will have others support her working through them.

It is not uncommon for women to feel isolated after such a trauma. It can be overwhelming for your wife to feel as though she is the only woman to have dealt with such a tragedy. Meeting others would sooth her soul, as she may no longer feel singled out in this challenge. In addition, hearing the stories of others will help her see there is a process people need to go through when they experience a loss. Listening to others may unexpectedly put her in a position to comfort others. By being put in the comforter role, she may become imbued with renewed inner strength.

I would like to tell you about a client of mine named Chanie. Chanie unexpectedly gave birth to a baby at 25 weeks. Her son lived for three weeks in the NICU before passing away. Chanie had a tremendously hard time with this, and she too felt very alone and depressed. She had medical problems from the delivery, so she was constantly at her OB's office to clear up the issues still plaguing her. One day in the office, she noticed that the woman beside her was obviously pregnant, and had a few young children crowded around her. She assumed, based on her estimations of the children's ages, that this women had no pregnancy issues, that she had babies whenever she wanted them, without suffering. Chanie began to get more depressed.

In walked a young mother pushing a stroller. Chanie glanced at the baby, guessing the baby to be about 18 months old. Chanie concluded that this woman must be coming for an early prenatal visit. Chanie thought that the young mother would never know the sorrow Chanie experienced. This young mother engaged Chanie in conversation, and Chanie unexpectedly revealed that she is overcoming a medical issue, and that the doctor had been incredibly helpful.

The young mother asked about the issue and Chanie told her sad story. The young mothers' jaw dropped as she revealed that she, too, was there for a postnatal check after losing a baby in the 25th week. And, unbelievably, the pregnant woman on the right overheard the conversation, and shared how she, too, lost a pregnancy in the 25th week a year earlier. Chani's heart ached for these women, but, she realized that G‑d was sending her a message that, no, she was not alone. Meeting other women helped Chanie begin the slow process of crawling out of her shell, reaching out to others and reclaiming her life.

As her husband, I would encourage you to reach out and help her. Find a support group for couples, so you can better understand each other. By joining together, she will be able to draw strength from you and hopefully move on from this tragedy, but not forget.

I wish you luck, and I want you to know that your wife is lucky to have such a caring husband.