You can Survive the Grief of Miscarriage or Still Birth
- Are you feeling overwhelmed and sad after experiencing a miscarriage or still birth?
- Are you devastated due to losing a baby late in pregnancy?
- Did you have a failed embryo transfer that felt like you lost your baby?
Losing a baby at any point during pregnancy can be a physically and emotionally devastating experience. It can feel like your whole world has fallen apart
You are not alone.
You may feel like you have lost a part of yourself, Your dreams and hopes for the future have been shattered.
Although miscarriage is a fairly common experience, it doesn’t make it any easier. It is estimated that 10-25% (or one in 4-5) of pregnancies end up in miscarriage.
In spite of its prevalence, however, few people understand what it feels like to lose a baby in pregnancy.
After a miscarriage you may feel:
- shock; you can’t believe what happened
- numb; unable to feel anything
- sad and depressed; perhaps sudden bouts of crying
- angry at your own body, your doctor, your partner, etc.
- guilty: feeling that somehow you have brought the miscarriage or still birth on
- anxious or afraid that it will happen again
- yearning and aching for your baby
- envious of other pregnant woman
- overwhelmed with your grief
While grieving, you may feel physically and emotionally exhausted and unable to get anything done.
You may feel like you are out of tune with the rest of the world, like you are living in a haze.
The worst of all you may feel that it will never end.
If you have experienced still birth your grief may be even greater.
In fact, studies show that women who have had a pregnancy loss are up to three times more likely to experience depression.
Why is Miscarriage so Painful?
- Miscarriage is an invisible loss to the world at large.
It is a very real loss to you and your partner, but it may be unrecognized by other people. Although it feels like a death, there is nothing tangible to mourn as your baby was never born. This can make it difficult to comprehend your grief.
There are no common memories of time spent together, only a lost dream and hopes for your future with a child
- You may feel alone in your grief.
Your family and friends my not fully appreciate the extent of your loss and how difficult it is for you. They may feel uneasy around you, uncertain how to respond and may even avoid you because they don’t know how to deal with your grief.
- There are no rituals to mourn miscarriage.
Unlike other losses, there are no established rituals such as a memorial or religious service to help make the loss more tangible and to help you say good bye to your baby.
Research shows that higher distress after pregnancy loss is associated with the following factors:
- if you liked being pregnant and your baby was desired
- the longer it took you to get pregnant the harder the loss may be
- a lengthy period of infertility and numerous infertility treatments you may have needed in order to get pregnant
- the older you are, the more pressure you may feel due to your biological clock running out
- the more advanced the gestational age of the fetus, the greater the grief
- if you had one or more miscarriages in the past the loss may be especially painful
- if you had a history of other problems, especially depression
- if you feel isolated from your partner, family and friends
- if you don’t have children already
Mothers and fathers grieve differently.
- Men and women tend to bond with their developing fetus differently.
As a woman, you may feel the loss more deeply as the baby was growing in your body. Your partner may feel it was only a setback and may recover more quickly.
- Mothers tend to be more open and expressive about their loss.
Mothers tend to want to discuss their loss. Fathers on the other hand, tend not to share their feelings so much. Men often believe in taking action and solving the problem. They may burry themselves in work, for example, and they tend to return to their normal routines more quickly.
Differences in Grieving Styles, can Strain Your Marriage
Fathers may question why their partners continue to grieve intensely for a longer time and may think their partner is overreacting. Mothers may think the father is not caring sufficiently, which can increase their feelings of being alone.
Studies show that a year after a miscarriage one third of women say they felt distant from their partners, while one third felt their relationship had improved.
The facts that some couples relationships improve shows that miscarriage and stillbirth don’t have to cause problems in your relationship.
You don’t have to go through your loss alone.
If you are feeling stuck in feelings of sadness, anger or guilt due to miscarriage or still birth, counseling can help.
Counseling can successfully reduce sadness, depression and anxiety and help you resolve your grief more quickly.
Benefits of counseling:
- ease the pain of your loss, and help you heal faster
- gain control over your emotions
- prepare you for situations that may remind you of your baby and that may hurt you (e.g., your due date, a visit to the hospital, your first period, or anniversary of the miscarriage or still birth)
- discover how to communicate with your partner and support each other through this troubled time
- ensure that your relationship survives by overcoming gender differences in grieving and improve your relationship with your partner
- feel good about yourself again
- regain confidence to experience another pregnancy
As a Counseling Specialist in Miscarriage and Still Birth I Can Help
As a psychologist, specializing in reproductive and pregnancy related issues, I know how to help you get through your sadness and other intense feelings. I can help you find your way to feeling good about yourself and your life again.
Over the last 15 years I have been fortunate to work with many women and couples who were able to regain their strength after miscarriage or still birth to try again.
I have also helped couples to communicate better about their loss. They improved their relationship and stated that their loss brought them closer together and made their relationship stronger.
Although how you feel about miscarriage or still birth may heal with time, research shows that early psychological intervention can effectively decrease emotional distress, depression and anxiety in the first year after miscarriage or stillbirth.
Therefore, if you are suffering, the sooner you seek help the sooner you will feel better. You can prevent becoming stuck in some of these feelings if you get help now.
As a counselor and psychologist with expertise in the area of pregnancy loss or infant death, I can help you move through this time more easily and to regain the strength to embrace new pregnancy if you desire to try again.
Many woman and couples have survived their grief of losing a baby and so will you.
If you are ready to feel better call me for a free 10-minute phone consultation at 281-267-1742
Dr. Irena Milentijevic is a psychologist and therapist who specializes in helping women and couples cope with infertility and also in helping parents with young children. Her therapy offices are in Houston and in the Woodlands, Texas.