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Support for Miscarriage
A miscarriage is a shock, no matter how early in the pregnancy it happens. You may learn about the pregnancy loss only when a routine ultrasound indicates that there is no longer a heartbeat. Spotting, cramping or heavy bleeding that indicates or accompanies a miscarriage can be frightening. It is common to experience a series of emotions ranging from disbelief, anger, sadness, and grief. Partners often respond in different ways at different times. Men may feel they have to be strong for their partner and as a result do not allow their feelings to surface. As a result, the woman may think that her partner didn’t care about the pregnancy as much as she did.
Pregnancy is an intimate, physical experience for women, and losing a pregnancy is devastating. Suddenly breasts return to normal and you don’t feel fetal movement. When bleeding stops, you may feel you are back to square one. If you had a D & C (dilation and curettage) following the miscarriage, you will need to recover and may have to wait up to three cycles before trying to conceive again.
Not only have you lost the joy of a pregnancy (and sharing a pregnancy with your partner) but you also have lost a baby you dreamed for. If it was a later miscarriage, it is important to have some mementos from the pregnancy, including pictures of the baby if possible. Memorial rituals or services are often healing and help to make the loss real.
An early pregnancy loss may feel invisible. Women usually resume their normal daily activities, and the sadness and grief is hidden. Family and friends may be surprised to learn that you were pregnant if the miscarriage was early. They may focus on the fact that you were pregnant rather than the fact that you lost a pregnancy. Anniversary dates (of the conception, when you learned you were pregnant), your child’s projected due date and the birth of other babies on that due date can be difficult.
Your innocence about being pregnant in the future will be lost. With a subsequent pregnancy you will always monitor your body, check for spotting on visits to the bathroom, and never feel quite safe until a healthy baby is in your arms.
Although miscarriage is common — approximately 1 in 6 pregnancies end before 12 weeks — it does not take away the fact that it is a traumatic experience.