Why did this happen? These are usually the first thoughts of a woman being given the news about one of the most horrible situations that one could possibly go through during pregnancy. The first thought goes to what you could have done differently. Your mind races about what could have been and what never will be for THIS baby. Whether it is your first or fourth, it will never be easy. It will never be the same. We are here to try and help you through this process of grieving and give you some ways to try and cope after your miscarriage.
The Grieving Process:
No one can tell you how long this process will take. It could be days, weeks or even months. No two people go through it the same and no one person can be pushed to heal quickly. That is why it is a process and one that is very personal to that individual.
Stage 1: Denial
Denial is the first stage of grief. In this stage, you shut out reality and don’t believe that this event actually occurred. This can cause someone going through a miscarriage to feel that this is a bad dream and that you will wake up at any minute. Unfortunately, the reality is that it DID happen and you need to find ways to cope with this.
Stage 2: Anger
Anger is really common, especially in times of loss. You can be angry at yourself, someone else, or with a higher power. You can question why this happened to you and find it completely unfair that it did. Let it out – you are allowed to feel hurt and be angry that this happened!
Stage 3: Bargaining
Bargaining can involve feeling that you can undo what happened if you find a way to negotiate this situation. You may feel that if you had done a better job taking care of yourself that you wouldn’t have lost this baby. But, that is not the case – you did everything you could in order to keep this baby safe and healthy!
Stage 4: Depression
Depression is a feeling of worthlessness and this is a time that living becomes pointless to someone. It can feel so heavy on your chest that you don’t feel you can ever come out of it. You can also deny love and support from your family and friends during this time, all in an attempt avoid further trauma and sadness.
Stage 5: Acceptance
This stage is where you come back to reality and realize that you can deal with the situation. You accept what happened (even if you are still upset and sad) and try and find a way to face the future.
Resources to Aid in Coping
Books that can help
There are several books we recommend reading once you are ready. You may think that a book won’t help with the way you are feeling, but these are about women who have been through a miscarriage at different points of life and pregnancy. It may help to listen to what they felt and how they were able to push through this challenging time.
About What was Lost: Twenty Writers on Miscarriage, Healing and Hope
This book is a a group of essays by women who have been through the unfortunate loss of a miscarriage. Some had planned for a baby and some had not. All went through the grief of losing a baby. Some of these women went on to have more children, some adopted and some decided against having another child (or a child at all). It looks at real life experiences and raw emotions throughout this horrible situation.
Miscarriage, Medicine and Miracles
Written by a doctor and woman who went through the devastation of a miscarriage herself, this book looks at the causes but also the prevention of miscarriage. This wonderful guide includes a compassionate look at miscarriage and ways to help you to carry a baby to full term.
Find a Bereavement Support Groups
This can be a great way to use the support of people who have been through a loss of a baby. You can use one of two types of support – an in-person group or an online support group. In-person groups are very helpful since you can talk face-to-face about your feelings. They allow someone to really connect with your grief and give you help for what you are facing. In online support groups, you do not have to reveal your identity but still get the support you need. Some women would rather not talk about their grief to their family and friends, but do not want to feel alone in this.
Confide in a Loved One
Your loved ones can be an incredible support throughout this difficult time. You may not want to confide in anyone at first, but know that even though they may not understand fully, that they love you and want to help you through this. If you are already concerned about them trying to make you feel better, just let them know upfront that you just want them to listen. Just talking with someone and getting your feelings out can feel like a weight lifted off of you. Let people in and let people help.
Grieve and then Remember
Once you are at the point of acceptance during the grieving process, you can start to think to the future. But, you can also look at the past and remember the wonderful miracle that happened, YOU WERE PREGNANT. You had a baby growing inside you, if only for a short time. Celebrate this and also remember that little baby. Buy something that is special to you so that you can fondly remember the pregnancy of THAT baby. Buy a small pin or ornament in rememberance. You may not want to remove it from its packaging or box right away, but someday you may and you will be glad that you took the time to buy something to signify this baby.
Your partner is there for you
Even though you were carrying this baby, you are not the only one grieving. Your partner will stay strong for you, but is also aching just as you are. Talk with them and express your feelings and let them express theirs. It may be comforting knowing that you are not the only one feeling this way. It also may be helpful for the grieving process; you will be able to go through this together.
Don’t be afraid to speak with a Counselor
Some grieving can get to be too much. When this happens, you can not be afraid to reach out to resources that can aid you in your healing. You are too important to give up on yourself and someone trained in grief recovery will help you to realize that. If this is too much for you to bear, talking with a professional is essential. Make the call to someone that can help.
This is incredibly difficult and you may think that you will never recover. You will come out of this grief someday. You will never forget, but you will be able to go on living your beautiful life. Grief is a very heavy weight to bear, so please let someone in to help you. We are so sorry for your loss and wish you so much luck in finding peace with this situation.
Information about The Grief Process from The Kubler Ross Model
Photo credits: The Art of Making a Baby
Arms crossed over knees photo adapted from Alex (CC by 2.0)
Loved ones holding hands photo adapted from Wrote (CC by 2.0)
Holding hands photo adapted from SuperFantastic (CC by 2.0)