coping with miscarriage

Coping with miscarriage is a very rough process that pushes you, your partner and relatives over the edge.

No matter what you've heard about it or how emotionally strong you are, you can never be ready for miscarriage. The loss of a baby, after pregnancy has been confirmed, is always devastating; once you get a positive in a pregnancy test, your life changes at all levels as you get all excited about your baby's arrival. It's so easy and normal to picture yourself with him or her, imagine how he or she is going to look like, what he or she will be like... along with a 'thousand' things to plan (from picking a name to getting the house ready to welcome your child). Every single detail falls apart when you receive such terrible news, which is very hard to accept. 

Dealing with miscarriage takes time and requires understanding. You'll experience so many emotions, and there isn't much to do about it. Yet, we want to offer some guidance on how to approach it in a better way, so that miscarriage recovery feels a little less tough.

 

Coping with miscarriage: Feeling guilty and grieving

After being initially in denial, women who’ve had a miscarriage tend to develop an irrational sense of guilt. It doesn't matter how healthy and careful they've been after knowing that they had a baby on the way. They usually take the blame as a 'punishment' for not being able to save their little ones, despite not being their fault at all and not having any medical options to avoid such a tragedy. You have to remember that pregnancy is a very complex process, and sometimes things don't turn out as they are supposed to. Guilt is often followed by a grieving stage that includes many feelings, such as:

  • Anger: “life is unfair” is one of those phrases that might get stuck in your mind. Indeed, expect to feel angry at everything and everyone, from yourself to the midwife. The truth is that it isn't anyone's fault, but nature being capricious once again.
  • Inconsolable sorrow: unfortunately, depression is often part of coping with miscarriage. You may feel that your dreams have been taken away and you find no pleasure or relief in any of the things you like.
  • Confusion: it's normal that you find yourself looking for answers that you'll never get. “Why did it happen to my baby?” is the typical question that won't stop bothering you.
  • Anxiety: you may also show physical symptoms caused by your intense emotions. Don't be surprised if you have an upset stomach or shortness of breath.
  • Tiredness: you may lose appetite and have trouble falling asleep, which can make you feel exhausted.

You won't necessarily experience all of these feelings. You may skip some, while you could have setbacks with others that you had already got over.

 

Coping with miscarriage: When to get help 

All pregnant women who experience a miscarriage will be offered a follow-up appointment with the doctor, no matter at what stage the loss of the baby takes place. This visit usually happens a month after miscarriage, and it's aimed at checking both your physical and emotional recoveries. Professionals are supposed to be very cautious when approaching the issue, even if it happens very early on your pregnancy (which is very common). If miscarriage occurs after 12 weeks pregnant, which is meant to be very hard to handle, you may get help from an obstetrician and a bereavement midwife.

Needless to say, if you have a friend who just had a miscarriage, you can help her too by avoiding certain clichés, like comments that intend to be of help and are loaded with good intentions but that aren’t actually any consolation: “time heals all wounds” or “you will be able to have another baby”. They just lived through a tragedy, and it needs to be acknowledge as such. Instead, make her (them) feel like you are there for everything they need. It's time for actions rather than words!

 

Coping with miscarriage: Together, as a family 

Coping with miscarriage will be different for each member of the family. Some women get annoyed when their partners don't react the same way, but everything needs to be put into context. A future dad doesn't keep the same link and attachment to the baby-to-be as you do, for obvious natural reasons, but that doesn't mean he doesn't feel the loss, although he may not show it openly (he may deal with it in his own way, and his sadness may turn into other feelings, like frustration). 

And what about kids? Couples who already have children and had told them that they'd soon have a brother or sister, need to have an open conversation about what's going on. If the kids are too little, you can try to use metaphors that may help them understand better or make a story out of it. They need to be aware that it's a sad situation, and that's why you are feeling down.

 

Coping with miscarriage: Getting better, getting closure

There are no rules for closure when coping with miscarriage. Some people feel the need to do something as a farewell 'ritual', but that should happen naturally. Forcing any event or trying to move on emotionally just because “they have to” won't help them at all. You'll know when the right moment is to do so, so focus on feeling better and getting as much support as you can from your loved ones. Don't stay at home, try to go out with your friends, do physical activity and, above all, keep your mind busy.

 

It may seem that part of any miscarriage recovery consists in looking for another baby. That's not good advice, though, because the point here isn't about replacement. You should first grieve the loss and, only when you have moved on, consider getting pregnant again. Of course, Dad has to be on board as well! Once the decision is shared, schedule an appointment with the doctor to ask him or her for advice. Generally, it takes about two menstrual cycles for your body to settle down after a miscarriage.

 

Coping with miscarriage isn't easy. There are women who can't even think of that possibility and, when it happens, they get totally lost. Miscarriage is a loss, and losses have such impacts on our lives. The point is to understand that impact, come to terms with it, and move on. If you’ve had to go through this, don’t lose hope. You can do it!