GRIEF AFTER MISCARRIAGE
YOU ARE NOT ALONE. In the United States it is estimated that 15%-20% of known pregnancies end in miscarriage. Many women, however, feel alone and grieve in silence. When you don’t receive the sympathy and support you need, your reactions may become more intense and scarier.
You may wonder what caused your miscarriage, and should you tell others. The grief over a miscarriage is just as painful and heartbreaking as the loss of a full-term baby, but often people don’t realize this; they fail to reach out, expecting the mother to recover quickly and “try again”. This can make you even more confused and deepen your pain.
You may question why me? This isn’t fair! You may feel it is very unfair that you should lose a baby that you wanted so badly. You wonder why it seems everyone else can have a baby, so why can’t you?
You may wonder if you caused the miscarriage, and worry that you may be the cause of another one, or that you can’t have another child.
Depression, anxiety, resentment, helplessness, shock, and dread can also be experienced, sometimes at the same time, and can feel like a rollercoaster of emotions.
GRIEF CAN BE PHYSICAL:
You may become physically ill, as your body feels grief nearly as acutely as your mind.You may feel extremely tired, or be unable to sleep.You may feel disoriented, or at times feel as if you’re losing your mind. Behavior changes are common. Your eating habits may change, and you may withdraw from people, or become very irritated or angry with others.
OTHER PEOPLE ARE INVOLVED TOO:
Your spouse will be grieving also, but may do so differently than you. Some people grieve emotionally, others by trying to solve problems. Each may think the other is not grieving ‘properly’ or is exaggerating or minimizing the loss. Different responses do not mean that the loss is more significant for one or the other.
It is hard for people to see you in pain, and their response to you may seem cold or lacking. They may even tell you to get over it or move on and stop talking about your pain. Others may withdraw completely. Their reactions are not about you, but about their own emotions and fear. If possible, try to find a close friend or family member who will listen without trying to fix anything.
YOU WILL GET BETTER:
It will get worse before it gets better. Often the worst grief comes 4 to 6 months after the loss itself. Then is when the numbness and the shock have worn off, and you are feeling the full weight of the loss. This is also the time when most of your friends and family expect you to feel better, and you may need to explain to them that this is a normal part of grieving.
You may need to seek professional help if your grief remains raw or you feel stuck in it. If so, seek a counselor who has experience helping people to cope with grief.
Remember, you will be happy again. The grief never completely goes away, but it changes, becomes less raw and fresh, and is integrated into your life, which can be rich and satisfying.