Going through a miscarriage can be a traumatic experience for a woman. If you have been through the ordeal of miscarriage, you are probably well aware of the emotional impact it can have. You have to deal with both the physical and the emotional aspect.
Today we will look at the emotional impact of miscarriage and how to cope in healthy ways. If you are ready to try conceiving again, click here to read Conceiving after a Miscarriage.
A miscarriage is defined as the spontaneous loss of a pregnancy before 20 weeks (Mayo Clinic). Many miscarriages happen due to genetic or chromosomal abnormalities. It could be that the embryo did not implant correctly into the uterus, etc. Your doctor will be able to tell you what the most likely cause is for you. Oftentimes the cause is unknown and this can create feelings of anger and resentment for the mother. Why me?
Though we are focusing on emotional pain here, it may have been scary for you to go through the physical pain as well. You may have had painful medical procedures, or gone through different tests. The physical part can be tough on you too.
Going through a miscarriage can be scary and saddening. You may have simply gone ahead with trying to conceive, not at all expecting to lose a pregnancy. All of a sudden you now have to deal with this loss. You may feel shocked, or wonder whether you did anything to contribute to the miscarriage. As mentioned above, many miscarriages happen due to some abnormality and not due to the parents at all.
You may feel empty and depressed. If you have been trying to conceive for a long time or are having fertility issues, the loss might be especially painful for you. Perhaps you had started getting the nursery and the crib ready, or started gathering items of clothing for your little one. It might distress you to see these things in your home.
Many women feel that their life plans get put on hold. They may have assumed that starting a family would be straightforward, but now things are more uncertain. It may cause them to re-evaluate other things in their life like their career, etc. Having a family might take precedence over other things, and they might want to pour extra energy into it and cut down on other things.
People may try to comfort you citing the fact that it’s ok since it was so early on in the pregnancy. If this brings you some reassurance then well and good. However, just because it was an early loss does not diminish it’s importance. Don’t force yourself to brush it aside or minimize it. It’s natural for others to try and make you feel better, but you need to be true to your feelings.
You may even feel a bit relieved if your pregnancy was unplanned. The relief may leave you feeling guilty, however, be assured that there are no right or wrong feelings here.
Some women are able to get over their loss fairly quickly, however, others go through a lot of anguish and heartache. Grief and emotional healing after a miscarriage is a personal experience. You can’t predict how long your grief will take. It depends on how long it takes you to accept the loss and move on. No need to push yourself. Taking time to grieve is healthy.
Give yourself time to grieve especially if you have experienced the loss intensely. Feelings of shock, disbelief, anger, sadness and resentment are common. Do note that grief does not happen in a neat and tidy manner. You may feel nothing one day and feel awful the next. Some women also report that even after having a healthy child, the previous loss still haunts them. Ride the ups and downs rather than resisting them, and know that you will manage it better each time.
With other types of death, burial or other rituals are routine to publicly mark the loss. However, the same is not true for miscarriage. Many couples have trouble finding closure. Saying goodbye is important. Therefore, some couples find it helpful to do something meaningful in memory of the life lost. Some examples are planting a tree or making a donation to a children’s fund. You may choose to have a burial with a religious service. This will help you mourn the loss and have a way of saying goodbye.
Take special care of yourself. Get plenty of rest, keep a healthy diet and do some light physical activity.
Pay attention to what kind of emotional support you need – it may change from day to day. Some days you may want to talk it out with a loved one. Other days you may want some alone time.
Certain days like Mother’s Day or baby showers might be difficult for you. Seeing other people’s babies may even cause you to feel envious. It’s alright for you to stay away from situations that trigger your grief. You will be able to join in at a later time once you are better.
Try and find a support group. If you cannot find one where people meet physically, try looking online. Many women have experienced the pain you are going through and you may find it encouraging to hear their stories of loss and how they came out of it.
A Note About Fathers
After a miscarriage, most of the focus is on the woman. However, prospective fathers may also feel the loss intensely. Again it depends on the person. Some men do not feel much bond with the baby and are able to get over the loss quite fast. Others already have a lot of hopes and dreams of a baby and may feel as devastated as the woman. Don’t be alarmed if your partner does not feel the loss as intensely as you. You need not be in the same place emotionally. Just know that grief is personal and support each other through it.
According to Mayo Clinic statistics, about 60 to 70 percent of women who had unexplained and sometimes multiple miscarriages, still ended up having a healthy pregnancy. So don’t lose hope.