Pregnancy loss, no matter the stage, can cause grief. This is often compounded by the fact that people may not have known you were pregnant so they can’t empathize with your loss.
Feelings after a miscarriage may include:
• Blame and guilt (thinking "is it something I did?")
• Not wanting to do anything, feeling numb and lethargic
• Feeling jealous of other women who have babies
• Loss of sex drive (or the opposite -- wanting to get pregnant again straight away)
There is no one correct way to feel and no rules about how long you should grieve for. Some women are upset and disappointed but then recover after a couple of weeks, others can take longer. If the baby was an IVF baby or the couple tried for a long time to conceive, this can be particularly hard to go through.
Some women recover but then are reminded of their miscarriage every anniversary or when the baby would have been due. This is normal.
Ways to Make Grief Easier
• If you have had a scan and seen your baby, ask to have a scan picture. It can be very therapeutic. I did this for my second and subsequent miscarriages and I keep the scan pictures in frames next to the pictures of my other children.
• Some hospitals run memorial services for miscarried, medically terminated or stillborn children. Ask your hospital if they have a service like this. Some hospitals have a special book you can write your baby’s details in, where you can leave flowers and teddy bears if you want to. These are donated to the children’s wards.
• If there is no service at your hospital, you can do your own in your back yard or if you attend church, you could ask your pastor to say a few words about your baby during a service.
• Joining a miscarriage group can help as you will meet other couples who are going through the same thing and you can talk about it together. People who haven’t lost a baby often feel awkward and don’t know what to say, which can be lonely.
• Lighting a candle for the baby can help. I light my babies’ candles on the days they would have been due.
• Some people name their babies as it gives them an identity which can help with the grieving process. If you don’t know the gender of your baby, you can choose a unisex name.
Your grief will ease in time and you will eventually feel normal again. However, if you don’t think your mood is improving, you could speak to your doctor or go to a qualified counselor, as you may need help in coming to terms with your loss.
Your Feelings after Miscarriage, Miscarriage Association. Web. 14 September 2011.
Coping with Miscarriage and Pregnancy Loss. About.com Miscarriage/Pregnancy Loss. Updated August 02, 2009. Web. 14 September 2011.
Joanna is a freelance health writer for The Mother magazine and Suite 101 with a column on infertility, http://infertility.suite101.com/. She is author of the book, 'Breast Milk: A Natural Immunisation,' and co-author of an educational resource on disabled parenting.
She is a mother of five who practised drug-free home birth, delayed cord clamping, full term breast feeding, co-sleeping, home schooling and flexi schooling and is an advocate of raising children on organic food.
Reviewed September 14, 2011
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith