The loss of a child at any point in time is devastating for all members of the family, but suffering a miscarriage early in pregnancy can bring a unique set of issues. Currently, approximately 12% of pregnancies end in miscarriage, and in most cases the actual cause of early miscarriage remains unknown. This lack of a reason can create additional anxiety for the family suffering the loss.
Experiencing miscarriage can bring several phases of grief, beginning with shock, disbelief, sadness and denial.
Some parents describe a feeling of calm or numbness before guilt begins the next phase. “What did I do?,” “What could I have done?” ask most parents who lose a pregnancy. Anger is also common, and typically directed at your partner, family, friends, God or even your healthcare providers.
As the reality of the loss of your baby begins to sink in you may experience depression and a deeper feeling of sadness. You may even begin to exhibit physical symptoms such as tiredness, headaches and an inability to sleep. If you or your partner feel that any of these behaviors are intruding on your life, it’s time to consult your healthcare provider.
Know that your family and friends may be uncomfortable in not knowing how to act around you. They may be unsure of what to say; fearful that something they say may upset you even more. If you’re told, “It’s God’s will” or “Better for this to happen early in the pregnancy rather than later,” it’s important to recognize that people mean well and their statements, while they may seem hurtful to you, aren’t intended to minimize your loss. Rather, they show their struggles to express empathy and support during your loss.
It is normal to feel depressed after a miscarriage occurs—but if these symptoms are intruding on your life or affecting your relationship with your partner—it’s time to consult your healthcare provider.
Often, deciding when to try to get pregnant again can be a decision filled with mixed emotions. Depending on your health and any treatment or complications you experienced with the miscarried pregnancy, your healthcare provider may give you specific recommendations on when to start trying to become pregnant again.
Some couples find that their relationship changes after miscarriage, especially if it’s recurring. Intimacy can become associated with the memory of the loss and cause partners to push apart. During this time, it’s important to maintain open lines of communication with your partner, and talk with other couples who have experienced miscarriage.
Join an online forum for families experiencing miscarriage, or join a local grief support group. Simply realizing you’re not alone in this experience can be comforting. Ultimately, every person experiences the loss of a baby in a unique and personal way and there is no particular defined time that the grief process will take. Recognize that your emotions are normal, talk with your partner and accept the love and support of your family and friends.
Related article: Recognizing miscarriage
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