Throughout our lives we experience the loss of loved ones and friends. But there is no greater loss than that of a child. And it doesn’t matter what age that child was, the loss is profound.
If you’ve experienced a pregnancy loss, you are most likely feeling more sadness and grief than you even thought possible. While your body may have healed, your heart will take a while to catch up. It’s important that you allow yourself some time to grieve and feel all your emotions. And you will, at times, feel a rollercoaster of emotions ranging from disbelief to anger to guilt, sadness, depression, and numbness.
You may also experience physical symptoms as a result of this emotional stress. These symptoms can include fatigue, trouble sleeping, difficulty concentrating, loss of appetite, and frequent episodes of crying. The hormonal changes that occur after miscarriage may intensify these symptoms.
The Grieving Process – What to Expect
There are three main stages of the grieving process after a miscarriage.
Stage 1 – Shock/Denial
You can’t believe the loss has happened. It shouldn’t have happened. You took great care of yourself and your body. You did everything right. Why is this happening?
Stage 2 – Anger/Guilt/Depression
Thoughts and feelings of shame and inadequacy can take over your life. You begin to study every detail of your pregnancy over and over to find what it was that you did wrong. You may feel guilty that you weren’t able to give your partner a child, or your parents a grandchild. The sadness is overwhelming, and most days you can barely function.
Stage 3 – Acceptance
You recognize that you are not alone, and that many other women have experienced a miscarriage. You also begin to remember the other responsibilities in your life, perhaps you have other children who need more of your attention, and you decide to accept what’s happened and move on with your life as best you can.
It’s important to understand that the grieving process is cyclical, not linear-you may believe that you have moved past an experience or emotion and then discover that in fact you have not when it is triggered again at an unexpected moment. And there can also be setbacks. You may think you have finally accepted the situation, when you go to your friend’s baby shower and find yourself sneaking off to the bathroom to cry.
Be aware that men and women grieve differently. Usually women are more expressive about their loss, whereas men are often more action-oriented in their coping mechanisms. Understand that your partner is grieving, even if you don’t recognize the way in which they grieve.
Your path to healing will be benefited by both of you being sensitive and respectful of each other’s needs and feelings during this time. Accept your different coping styles and always keep those lines of communication open.
It’s also important that you seek help. This could be from a loved one who’s been where you are now, or a therapist who can guide you through your grieving process and give you tools to help you cope with your emotions now and in the future.
If you or a loved one has experienced a miscarriage and are overwhelmed with emotions, you don’t have to go through it alone. Please contact me and let’s discuss how I may be able to help.