Emotional Aftermath of Miscarriage

10 Ways to Cope with Loss

Though there's nothing you can do to "rush" the mourning process, there are simple ways you can take care of yourself as you heal.

1. Ask for help in breaking the news. If you're feeling too fragile to talk about your miscarriage or to deal with other people's reactions, ask a friend, relative, or coworker to tell others so you don't have to discuss it.

2. Don't take hurtful comments to heart. Many people don't realize how profound a loss miscarriage is and may say things like "Don't worry, you can always try again." More often than not, though, people don't mean to be insensitive -- they're just unaware of how you're feeling and can't fully comprehend your pain.

3. Help others understand. If you feel up to it, educate the important people in your life about pregnancy loss. Suggest, for instance, that they read a book on the subject, such as A Silent Sorrow -- Pregnancy Loss: Guidance and Support for You and Your Family by Ingrid Kohn, Perry-Lynn Moffitt, and Isabelle A. Wilkins (Routledge).

4. Don't apologize for your pain. During your healing process, friends and relatives may pressure you to "move on," "get over things," or "return to life as usual." But don't feel as though you need to comply until you're ready. Your pain is a normal response to the profound loss you've suffered, and you needn't blame yourself or apologize to anyone for how you feel.

5. Seek support. After a miscarriage, it may help to talk with someone who's been through the same experience, or to join a support group that meets regularly. SHARE, a national organization for couples who've experienced miscarriage, may be able to put you in touch with a support group in your area.

 

6. Seek professional help. During pregnancy and after a miscarriage, a woman's hormone levels change rapidly. As a result, many women experience mood swings and/or depression. If you're having trouble dealing with these emotions, speak with your doctor, who can refer you to a counselor if necessary.

7. Ask for household help. As you recover from a miscarriage, ask friends and relatives to help with household chores, like laundry, errands, or cooking. You'll need time to physically and emotionally heal, and it can help to lighten some of your day-to-day responsibilities.

8. Be mindful of your feelings. Immediately after a miscarriage, you may find it hard to be around friends and relatives who are pregnant or have babies. If it feels too painful to see them, give yourself permission not to visit. Tell them that you still hold them dear, but that this is a difficult time for you and it's just too hard to see them now. Also, think about how you feel before accepting any invitations to a baby shower, baptism, or first birthday party.

9. Think about anniversaries and holidays. Anniversaries, such as the date the pregnancy was lost or the due date, may also be painful, and you may feel sadder than usual at these times. If you need to, take the day off, attend a religious service, or mark the date in some special way. Holidays may be difficult after a miscarriage too. If you're grieving, think about quietly observing the holiday at home or attending festivities only briefly.

10. Consider the future. If you and your partner have been through more than one miscarriage, you might begin thinking about how much loss you can bear. At some point, you'll need to discuss whether you want to continue trying or consider adopting a baby, or if you can feel comfortable living your life without children.

Sources: RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association; The Couple's Guide to Fertility by Gary S. Berger, MD, Marc Goldstein, MD, and Mark Fuerst (Broadway); SHARE

All content here, including advice from doctors and other health professionals, should be considered as opinion only. Always seek the direct advice of your own doctor in connection with any questions or issues you may have regarding your own health or the health of others.

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