Coping with Grief After Miscarriage

Grief after a miscarriage is inevitable, and it requires time, self-compassion, and support. We'll tell you how to get through this time.
Coping with Grief After Miscarriage

Last update: 02 August, 2022

Every loss is painful, but those in which our suffering doesn’t seem legitimate become much harder to overcome. This’s what happens to many couples when dealing with grief after miscarriage: Their environment doesn’t seem to understand or support their pain. Silence, clichés, or minimization of what has happened can have a profound effect on these parents, so if you’re going through this difficult situation, we would like to offer you some recommendations.

It’s estimated that around 20% of confirmed pregnancies end in miscarriage. This considerable figure contrasts with the little social attention that this event receives. Although a large number of women face the loss of their unborn children, they’re generally forced to experience it in silence, in solitude, and even with guilt or shame because they feel a sadness that’s ignored them from the outside.

Grieving properly is fundamental to preserving the psychological well-being of the woman and the couple. Also, so that subsequent pregnancies can be dealt with appropriately. In this regard, there are some points to be taken into account.

Grief after miscarriage takes time

First of all, listen to yourself and take your needs into account. Every emotion is wise and serves an adaptive function: In the case of sadness, it motivates us to slow down, rest, take care of our bodies, reflect, and take care of our inner selves. This process takes time that you give yourself. Be patient and compassionate with yourself and don’t rush.

For the same reason, keep in mind that this isn’t the best time to make decisions. Don’t try to figure out right away what to do with the items you bought and let time pass so that your mind and heart can settle first. Take some time off if necessary, as mental health is a priority.

You may feel the need to get pregnant quickly or, on the contrary, you may feel a great rejection towards the idea of trying to become a mother again. In either case, don’t act in haste, allow yourself to heal first. No child should come into the world as a replacement for a life that has been lost. Each of your children is unique and must have their place.

A woman sitting on a park bench with her head in her hands.
Sadness and pain are normal, expected, and necessary to go through this difficult stage that you have to experience. Respect your grief and don’t repress your feelings.

Emotions need to be felt and processed

At this difficult time, emotions are likely to well up inside you and overwhelm you. It’s natural to experience sadness, anger, fear, guilt, frustration, disappointment, or rage. Whatever you feel, remember that it’s okay. You need to allow yourself to experience these emotions, not to repress them or fight them, but to accept them for as long as they need to be with you. In reality, they’re helping you to move on after what happened.

An important point to consider when dealing with grief after a miscarriage is the need for symbolic and meaningful rituals. When a loved one dies, we have a series of social traditions that help us process and integrate what has happened, such as a wake or a burial. In the case of miscarriage, these rituals aren’t present, but they’re still necessary.

Therefore, it may be helpful to create your own. Choose a name for the child you’ve lost (if you didn’t already have one), write a letter to them, say goodbye, and save a space in your heart to belong to them forever. Pretending that the pregnancy never existed, avoiding the subject, or silencing what happened will only make the pain more entrenched.

The environment plays a fundamental role

Social support is extremely necessary during the mourning after a miscarriage, although it’s not always received. Your loved ones may make the mistake of minimizing your loss or underestimating your grief. They may say things like “you’re still young,” “you can keep trying,” or “at least it wasn’t born yet. These statements can be very painful, so don’t allow them to override your emotions, and don’t be afraid to set boundaries when this happens.

Your friends and family may not know how to react or how to help you; explain to them what you want or need. Often, just being there, listening, and understanding are enough.

At the same time, it’s key to take care of the couple’s bond in these delicate moments. In the need to look for blame, feelings of anger or rejection towards the partner may arise, silence and emotional distance may set in, or, on the contrary, constant arguments may begin. But in reality, you need to act as a team now more than ever.

Communicate with your partner, express how you feel, and listen to their feelings. Lean on each other instead of confronting positions; finally, they’re the person who can best understand your pain.

A man comforting his crying partner.
Although the mind looks for culprits, the heart only needs to heal the wounds to regain balance. Therefore, accompany each other in this process.

Seek professional help to deal with grief after miscarriage

Suffering a miscarriage can be experienced as a traumatic event and lead to psychological problems such as anxiety, depression, and even symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. For this reason, professional support can be very necessary.

If you’re going through this situation, seeing a perinatal psychologist can help you process the pain and avoid major complications in the long term. Remember that you’re not alone.

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