Losing a pregnancy at any stage of pregnancy is an emotionally and physically devastating experience for many women. Even though up to 25% of pregnancies end in loss, women can feel very alone and isolated in their grief after pregnancy loss.
You are not alone. Having a safe and supportive place to talk about your baby, process your loss, and find ways to honor your baby’s memory can be an important step on your journey to healing.
After a pregnancy loss, you may feel the following:
- shock; you can’t believe what happened
- numb; unable to feel anything
- sad and depressed; perhaps sudden bouts of crying
- angry at your own body, your doctor, your partner, etc.
- guilty: feeling that somehow you have brought the miscarriage or still birth on
- anxious or afraid that it will happen again
- yearning and aching for your baby
- envious of other pregnant woman
- overwhelmed with your grief
While grieving, you may feel you are walking around in a haze, processing a loss that no one else can see. Because we do not have rituals around the loss of our unborn children, women are often alone in their grief and can feel very isolated from others. A mother is the only person in the world who had a physical connection with a developing baby that is lost for reasons that are beyond her control.
Miscarriage is an invisible loss to the world around you.
You may feel alone in your grief.
There is no common practice to say good-bye and to mourn our baby or babies.
You may experience higher distress after a pregnancy loss if:
- You desired the pregnancy and enjoyed being pregnant
- You had been trying to get pregnant for a long time
- You were undergoing infertility treatment
- The older you are and the more pressure you feel to get pregnant right away
- The further along in the pregnancy you were
- If you have experienced repeated pregnancy loss
- You feel isolated from your partner, family, and friends
- You do not have children already
Everyone grieves pregnancy loss differently and sometimes mothers and fathers have very different ways of coping with loss.
- Mothers bond more deeply with a baby as it grows in their body. Your partner may recover more quickly from a loss he did not experience in the same way as you.
- Mothers may want to discuss the loss and talk about what happened and what it means for the future while fathers may be more likely to engage in planning and problem-solving right away.
- Differences in grieving can strain relationships if lines of communication are not kept open.
Therapy can help to reduce feelings of isolation. You are not alone.
Benefits of Therapy
- Provides an outlet for your feelings that is safe, confidential, and judgment-free
- Provides a space to process your loss on your own timeline
- Provides tools to help you gain control over your emotions
- Help you plan for an handle situations that may remind you of your baby and that may cause you distress (e.g., your due date, visiting the hospital, your period, anniversary of your loss, baby showers, visiting pregnant friends, friends’ births).
- Improve communication with your partner and learn how to ask for the support you need and to give support in return
- Clarify your values
- Practice radical acceptance
- Learn mindfulness-based stress reduction
- Regain confidence in your body and all that it does wonderfully
Although how you feel about miscarriage may heal with time, research shows that early psychological intervention can effectively decrease emotional distress, depression and anxiety in the first year after a miscarriage.