First of all, if you’re reading this, we are so sorry for your loss.
The loss of a child in pregnancy is a terrible tragedy, something which can never un-happen. When you get pregnant, you’re excited and cautiously optimistic only towards others, but in your head and in your heart, you’re preparing your life, your body and your heart for this baby. Truth is, your life was altered from the moment conception took place; you are a mom and it’s heart-breaking that you can’t hold your baby in your arms.
Being part of the “invisible moms” club was not something you’ve signed up for, right? Know that you’re not alone and that this is something that happened to you, not something you did. Did you know that 15 to 20% of all pregnancies end in miscarriage? Fact is, there is very little about pregnancy loss that women can control. Biology takes over and, in a way, you’re along for the ride.
So, where to from here? How do you survive this? There are no easy answers, but these strategies may help:
Take your time to grieve the loss of your child. Don’t anticipate a certain length of time before you feel “normal”. Go with what works for you. There’s no “one-size-fits-all” here. Gather your girlfriends around you. Friends or relatives; it really doesn’t matter – you need women you can cry with, because no matter how sympathetic a man is, a woman will understand you in a very different way. Ask for help. Lighten your day-to-day responsibilities. You’ll need time to heal physically as well as emotionally.
Include your partner. He is grieving, only in a different way. He may want to try to fix everything and choose not to participate in sharing his feelings. Keep the lines of communication open and accept his coping style. Be sure to tell him how you feel and recognise his pain. Also, seek professional help for the both of you if need be.
Take care of yourself. Grief can swallow you whole. You need to eat, you need to wash, and you need to get up in the morning. And remember, it’s okay to be sad and joyful. Celebrating bits of joy doesn’t dishonour your loss. Healing doesn’t mean forgetting or making the memories of your baby insignificant. Also, expect a wave of emotions later on. The arrival of the date on which your baby was due, or the anniversary of the miscarriage may bring powerful emotions for you and your partner. This is perfectly normal.
Expect sex to be a little weird at first. Don’t beat yourself up if your attitude towards sex changes radically for a while. Explain to your partner that it’s not about him and that you love him. Back this up by showing him lots of physical affection in other ways if sex is too much for you to manage at the moment. If you’re afraid for all of this to happen again; know that only 1 in 100 women experience recurrent miscarriages and more of 60% of these women go on to have a successful pregnancy.
Miscarriage is bereavement, it will take time. However, know that the peaks and troughs will gradually even out to a place where you’ll be able to look back on them with a small, sharp tug on the heartstrings, but no longer that panicked, howling anguish.
DISCLAIMER: The information on this website is for educational purposes only, and is not intended as medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. If you are experiencing symptoms or need health advice, please consult a healthcare professional.