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EXCERPT: Pregnancy Loss

Navigating the LAND of IF: Understanding Infertility and Exploring Your Options (Seal Press 2009)

by Melissa Ford


If you have experienced pregnancy loss, the best way to help yourself is to let others know your expectations and needs.

If you want to be left alone, explain to people that you’d rather not have visitors or go out to events. On the other hand, if you want company, let people know that, too.

If you don’t want others to talk about it to anyone else, let them know. It’s also okay to let them know not to try to discuss it with you again unless you bring it up yourself.

On the other hand, if you do want to talk about it, remind them that it would help you immensely if they asked about it from time to time. With some friends or family members, you may need to be firm and ask them not to change the subject when you bring up the loss.

What Did I do to Deserve This?

Such things as “negative thoughts” or “telling people too soon” or “punishment for having a morning cup of coffee” are not listed as reasons for pregnancy loss. Nevertheless, this kind of magical thinking affects some people, burdening them with a great deal of guilt.

Because the general public understands so little about why pregnancy loss occurs, those who experience it often think they could have done something to prevent it, and worry that they are personally responsible for the death of the embryo or fetus. This, of course, is not true. With the exception of a few situations, loss is generally outside the parents’ control.

Pregnancy loss happens to good people. It happens to some not-so-good people, too. Pregnancy loss happens even if you do everything right, attend church twice a week, and eat only organic food. And it’s important for you to hear this message: You did nothing wrong. Sometimes terrible things just happen.

Sometimes our hearts won’t listen to our brains. If the guilt of pregnancy loss is eating you up even if you rationally understand the prior paragraph, please turn to some of the online and face-to-face groups listed in the Resources section.