Sarah and her husband are bubbling over with excitement. Today is the day they will see their little baby on an ultrasound for the very first time. They have been anticipating this moment for weeks and now the day is finally here. The technician squeezes the conduction gel onto Sarah’s belly and gets to work locating the baby with the ultrasound scanner. Suddenly, the technician notices that something is wrong. She checks, double checks and quickly realizes that the baby’s heart is not beating…the baby is deceased. Sarah and her husband are devastated to learn of the loss of their child.
Over 25% of pregnancies will end in the first trimester. Doctors will tell you that there is nothing that could have done to prevent it and that miscarriage just happens sometimes. The loss of a pregnancy, at any stage, can be gut-wrenching but the grieving process associated with such a loss is not often discussed. While the topic isn’t as taboo as it once was, millions of women suffer in silence. They aren’t sure what they should be feeling — after all, they never held their precious baby — so, many of them wonder if their feelings of deep grief are even valid. Yes! Yes! Yes! Whatever you are feeling when you experience a miscarriage is valid, it’s real, and hurts beyond belief.
Today, we are specifically discussing grief over a miscarriage but losing a baby whether it is though miscarriage, stillbirth, SIDS, or anytime actually, is one of the most excruciating experiences one will endure.
You might want to check out these resources for support after losing a child:
Still Standing: http://stillstandingmag.com/
Compassionate Friends: https://www.compassionatefriends.org/
Here are some things you need to know about grief after a miscarriage.
- Some women can move on from a miscarriage more quickly than others. They may express a desire to start trying to get pregnant again, as soon as their doctor gives them the “okay”, and it can seem as though they don’t even need time to grieve. Just because someone seems okay right after a miscarriage, doesn’t discuss it, or wants to put it behind them quickly and start again, does not mean they aren’t grieving their loss. Everyone handles loss differently. Some people can put on a brave face but in private they may allow themselves to grieve. Even if they don’t, it is not for anyone to judge one way or another. If you feel ready to move on after a miscarriage, then that is valid; if not that’s totally normal too.
- After a miscarriage a woman not only goes through the sadness of her loss, she also has a ton of hormones rushing through her body which can add to depression, anxiety and grief. This is a very normal occurrence — but if you are feeling hopeless or severely depressed you should consult your physician right away. Postpartum depression is very real and can happen at any stage. It is also treatable, so do not suffer in silence.
- Just because you didn’t get to hold your baby in your arms, doesn’t mean you aren’t a mother. Many women who miscarry feel this way. You are not alone. You are now the mother of an angel and they will be with you for the rest of your life.
- Part of your innocence is gone. When you first got that positive pregnancy test you may have called everyone you knew to tell them. You might have run out and purchased a bunch of baby items and maybe even started decorating the nursery. You’re on cloud nine, never even imagining that a loss could happen to you — but when it does that carefree feeling may turn to worry. The next time you get pregnant you might wait a long time before you start sharing your good news. You may worry constantly, maybe even to the point where it is difficult to enjoy your current pregnancy. This is also normal, and most women find that if they get past the point of where their pregnancy ended in miscarriage, they start to relax a bit more. Try not to worry because it doesn’t do you any good — but it can be hard not to.
- Don’t forget about your partner. If talking about the grief associated with a miscarriage is uncommon in general, it is even more difficult to talk about the grief fathers deal with. Miscarriage doesn’t just affect the mom — dads grieve too. While he may seem strong because he’s trying to be the “rock” you need, he could be falling apart inside. What you can do, is to lean on each other during this difficult time. Let him know that you are there for him. You might also want to encourage him to talk to his mom or other family members about his feelings. Chances are, he won’t talk to his buddies but he needs to know he does.
Do you have any tips or advice for those who have suffered a miscarriage? Feel free to comment below.