There are many, many forms of grief. When you experience pregnancy loss, it is no less a loss than any death in the family. However, in this case, it is also the loss of innocence, a season of life that once seemed natural and inevitable. Suddenly your potential parenting future is up in the air. All of your plans ripped away. All the sweet moments you anticipated are crushed.
Everything was building toward a whole new type of life and family. Now it is out of your hands.
Pregnancy loss leaves you with practical hurdles like unused baby supplies and perhaps a baby shower to cancel. It also presents emotional hurdles. It can be shattering at the moment and the dull ache of sorrow can linger for quite some time. Your relationships may become strained and anxious as you navigate how to talk about the loss.
If you’re dealing with that pain, you are surely looking for ways to cope and heal.
A Silent Form of Grief
Sadly, in our society, pregnancy loss is not widely addressed. Just about everything else about pregnancy and birth is documented and discussed. Yet, suffering a miscarriage can leave you feeling alone and even ashamed. It can also leave your loved ones unsure of how to respond.
It is no wonder then, that women who suffer a pregnancy loss can grieve for months or even years. This is why it’s essential that you do your best to:
- Process the experience
- Create coping mechanisms
- Seek the help you need
The Initial Shock and the Aftermath
Unlike other forms of grief, pregnancy loss changes a woman’s physiology in an obvious way. Hormone levels begin to drop. This can intensify sadness into depression for a few weeks. As time passes, your emotions will likely vary widely — as with any loss. Brace yourself for thoughts and feelings like:
- Blaming yourself as if you did something wrong
- Shame that you let others down
- A fixation on all the medical details to fully understand what happened
Your mind may play tricks on you too. You’ll seem to see pregnant women everywhere — in real life and in TV shows and advertisements. You may feel jealous when you see women with their babies. This is normal but it must pass for healing to begin. Grant yourself time and space to grieve. Lean on your support system. If you need more help than loved ones can offer, look into support groups locally and online. Of course, therapy is a valuable option as well for one on one support.
Coping With the Pain of Pregnancy Loss
Communicate With Your Partner
Some tension and stress are unavoidable. But it is crucial that you open up and talk about your feelings. If your partner is a man, recognize that men grieve differently. Honor each other’s needs and boundaries.
Take care of yourself. This means sleep patterns, getting exercise, and making healthy eating choices. If possible, take time off from work. Allow yourself to step away from your regular routine for a short time period. Start keeping a journal.
Honor Your Baby
Work with your partner to come up with a symbolic way to memorialize your baby. You could plant a tree or establish a memorial plaque or park bench. Consider donations to an organization that holds special meaning for you. Mark the date each year to give proper respect to the life that was lost and a future now postponed.
Talk About Trying Again
The odds of suffering another pregnancy loss are low. No more than 3 percent of women experience a second miscarriage. Find hope in this truth. Use it, if you both choose, as the entry point for conversations about future pregnancies.
You Are Not Alone
You will feel alone at times but help is just a phone call away. You deserve support. Don’t suffer in silence. Working with a counselor is a proven way to recover from such a devastating loss. Your grief will be honored and validated. Together, you’ll do the hard work of processing the loss so you can thrive again. Let’s start things off with more information about individual therapy, such as depression counseling, and a consultation call soon.