A miscarriage is one of the most devastating experiences that anyone can go through. The loss of a child is unimaginable and the emotional toll that it takes on the parents can be a heavy one. Even for women or couples struggling with an unintended or unwanted pregnancy, miscarriage can still hurt.
Unfortunately, miscarriages are more common than you might think. According to the American Pregnancy Association, 10% to 25% of all clinically recognized pregnancies end in miscarriage.
Dealing with loss
The first thing to know is that everyone deals with grief differently. Some people prefer to grieve alone while others do best when surrounded by loved ones. Grief is a very personal experience. There is no right or wrong way to do it.
But here are some suggestions that women and their partners may find helpful if ever faced with such a situation:
- Reach out to family and friends for extra support
- Try consulting a therapist to talk through your emotions. Counseling is also an option
- If you are religious and want some spiritual guidance, speak to a religious leader
Dealing with feelings of guilt
Suffering a miscarriage produces many symptoms but the predominant one is usually guilt. Women may feel guilty for thinking they did something wrong or assume they are at fault somehow. Nothing could be further from the truth. A miscarriage is no one’s fault, and you can’t prevent it.
Most miscarriages happen because the fertilized egg in the uterus does not develop normally. A miscarriage is not caused by stress, exercise, or sex. In many cases, doctors don’t know what caused the miscarriage.
There may also be a feeling of fear. Women may be fearful of never have a healthy pregnancy or fear that the miscarriage will affect their relationship.
Both of these are valid emotions to have but it is hoped that by talking to people in their support network, both of these emotions can be talked through and overcome.
Where to get help and support
- Professional organizations – These provide emotional support to women going through this difficult time
- Professional help – Despite their best intentions, your family and friends may not understand what you’re going through. If this is the case, getting professional help (eg. speaking to a therapist can be of great comfort). Ask your OB-GYN, midwife, or nurse practitioner to point you in the right direction
- Read literature about miscarriage and bereavement – for some people, learning a little more about the process can provide extra comfort
- The American Pregnancy Association provides a helpline that you can contact
Things to keep in mind if you’re going through a miscarriage
- Give yourself time to grieve and remember that there is no time limit on that grief
- Get help from your caregiver. Your OB-GYN, midwife, or nurse practitioner will guide you through all the phases of this process
- Miscarriage is usually a chance event, not a sign of an ongoing problem. If you have had one miscarriage, your chances for future successful pregnancies are still good
- You can resume your normal activities as soon as you feel ready to do so. Listen to your body
What happens next?
This really depends on you. If you have suffered a miscarriage your caregiver will have talked you through the medical process. This might involve a number of trips to see your caregiver to make sure that your medical health remains stable.
Following this, the next step depends on your personal, physical, emotional and mental wellbeing. In general, if and when you decide you would like to try again for pregnancy discuss this with your doctor, midwife, or nurse practitioner so that they can provide you with the appropriate support.
1) American Pregnancy Association. Miscarriage.