About 10 to 15 percent of known pregnancies end in miscarriage. When yours is one of them, there's no right or wrong way to feel. You might feel angry, guilty and sad all at once, or feel empty for some time. Some women even feel a sense of peace or relief. Nothing but time and a sympathetic sounding board can help you come to terms with your loss.
miscarriage is an unfortunate blip in their pregnancy history, while for others
it is a huge and devastating loss," says Ruth Bender-Atik, national
director for The Miscarriage
Association, located in
the Yorkshire in England.
You may go through the five stages of
grief, a process first described by
psychiatrist Elisabeth Kübler-Ross. Denial: Disbelief that your pregnancy has
ended. Anger: ... At yourself, your doctor, your partner, God or anyone else
you can find to blame. Bargaining: Feelings of guilt, asking yourself
"What if?" questions like "If I'm kind to everyone, can I wake
up and find this was a dream?" Depression: Deep sadness over your loss.
Acceptance: You don't feel "over" the loss, but can accept that it
has happened and there's nothing you can do to change that.
You may go through these stages in order or not experience them at all. It may
take days to cycle through them or take months.
Other feelings you may experience include: Envy of other women's healthy
pregnancies or of the families you see with healthy babies. Loneliness: You may
feel like no one understands your feelings, or miss the company of the baby you
once carried. Overwhelmed: Dealing with the whirlwind of emotions can be
draining. Anxiety: Worry over telling people about your miscarriage or about
what will happen during future pregnancies. Relief: even if you wanted the
pregnancy, you may feel some relief that it's over or that you're free of some
financial burdens of parenthood.
It may be hard
to focus on your partner's feelings when you're dealing with so many of your
own, but your miscarriage can have all the same emotional effects on him as it
has on you. Because he didn't have the physical bond that you had with the
baby, your partner may not feel the loss as strongly as you do, but he may
still go through through the stages of grief or have the same physical reaction
that you do. You won't necessarily grieve at the same pace or feel the same
emotions at the same time, though.
Your partner may also be uncomfortable talking about his feelings with you, or
act as though everything is fine. The Miscarriage Association's leaflet
Too may help yours feel comforted and less alone.
Coping After Miscarriage
is different and has to find the way [to process a miscarriage] that's right
for them," Bender-Atik says. "Some people want to talk about it,
others don't. ...There are no right or wrong ways to feel, but in all cases it
can help to have someone to talk to: someone who will listen, without making
judgements or trying to cheer you up." Talking to a friend or working with
a therapist, even for a short time, may help you sort through your feelings.
If you feel able to verbalize your needs, try telling the people closest to you
what they can do and say to help, as well as what not to do. "Comments
like 'Well never mind, there was probably something wrong with it anyway'
really don't help!" Bender-Atik advises. The Miscarriage Association's
leaflet Someone You
Know can give your family and friends tips for helping you cope. Joining a local or
online support group of women who have experienced miscarriage may also give