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The Baby Is Still Kicking
Written by Clara Hinton   |  Sep 20, 2001
Nobody likes to talk about it. It's one of those silent unmentionables, yet it exists and mothers must deal with it daily. How helpful it would have been to me to be able to read about, talk about, and understand that I wasn't going crazy at a time when I already felt so out of control.

One of my losses occurred during week 25 of the pregnancy. I noticed the baby was not as active as he had been. I mentioned that fact to my husband several times, as well as to the doctor. I was told that not all babies are real active. Some even find a cozy spot where you can't always feel the kicking, so I did not get overly concerned at first.

Unfortunately, in my case, the baby had died. Instead of inducing labor, I was left to go into spontaneous labor that did not happen for more than two weeks after the baby died. During those weeks, I actually felt the baby kick! I would place my hand above the baby and feel him moving around many times throughout the day and night.

The "false kicking" continued for several weeks after delivering this stillborn child. I truly believed that I felt the baby kicking several times. Having been pregnant before, I knew what a baby's kick felt like, and I was completely sure that I felt movement.

Because stillbirth is an extremely sensitive, emotional loss, I did not share my kicking episodes with anyone until much later. My emotions were running wild, and some days I was in total denial about having delivered a stillborn child. I still felt like I was very pregnant.

Almost a year later, I had the courage to talk to my doctor and to do some research. I explained to the doctor that "during the weeks of carrying the baby, knowing full well that he had died, I still imagined that I felt an occasional kick. Sometimes, I would wake up and feel my large belly and believe that I still carried a healthy, living baby." (Silent Grief, page 19)

It was explained to me that grief was the culprit behind these false kicks. It is not unusual for a mother to feel phantom kicks, aching arms, full breasts, and nausea for several weeks or months following the abrupt ending of a pregnancy such as with miscarriage or stillbirth.

Often it takes weeks for the mind to process and accept what the body has gone through. During pregnancy loss, it is not uncommon for a mother to insist she feels the baby kicking. She is not "losing it", as some would think, but she is experiencing deep grief. A mother needs time to work through this difficult loss. Realistically she knows the facts, but emotionally she may not be ready to deal with them yet.

Don't be afraid to talk to your doctor! You will be encouraged to know that these false kicks are just one more part of the normal process of grieving. Be assured that this will not last forever. You will steadily move forward in this difficult journey of grief, but you will do so in your own time.
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