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You are here: Home - Pregnancy - Pregnancy Complications

Pregnancy Loss: Don’t Suffer in Silence

by Katlyn Joy | November 16, 2014 12:00 AM
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Whether you know it or not, you are not alone. According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, or ACOG, miscarriages occur in some 15 percent of pregnancies. This rate increases to around 33 percent in women over the age of 40. Technically a miscarriage is a pregnancy loss before the 20th week of pregnancy.

While women may heal physically from a miscarriage within as little as a week or two, emotionally healing may take far longer. Despite what some well-meaning, but ill-informed people may say or imply, it doesn't matter how far along you were when you lost your pregnancy. You have a right to grieve no matter when it occurs.

What Pregnancy Loss Grief Looks Like

You may feel judged at times by the way you grieve, or the way you don't. Let it go. You must find your own way through this process and it may encompass anger, resentment, sadness, or desire to withdraw from some time.

Whatever you feel, feel it without apology. If you and your spouse express your emotions differently, you can still support one another. Don't judge your spouse for a lack of outward sadness, because what is felt may run far deeper than you imagine. Some fathers-to-be may not believe it's OK for them to express grief, but assume they must suck it up and be strong for you. Let your partner know it's perfectly fine for him to grieve and lean on you as well. Find a way to support one another, even if you are not in the same place emotionally.

Grief may involve yelling or a short temper, tearfulness, sadness, loss of concentration, physical symptoms such as loss of appetite or headaches, a desire to pull away from loved ones or normal routines, and difficulty moving forward.

How to Heal

Care for yourself.

That means trying to get sufficient rest, eat a healthy diet, get exercise if it's just a walk after dinner, and avoid using drugs or alcohol to ease the pain.

Give yourself permission to grieve.

If your best friend tells you it's time to try again, and forget the miscarriage, explain firmly that you are not ready and when you are ready, you will know.

Honor your pregnancy.

For you, this might mean planting a tree or bush in the backyard in remembrance, or having a special album of mementoes. Some people find it helps to name the baby. If you had the opportunity to hold the baby, you may have photos or footprints. Frame these and create a special place in your home for these memories. Perhaps you can have a special piece of jewelry to honor the baby.

Don't get run over by others' best intentions.

If your mother shows up and starts packing up the nursery, and you feel a pang that you are not ready for that, put a stop to the packing. You have to set the boundaries for your grief and set the timeline as well.

Make the effort to keep your marriage or partnership strong.

Don't allow grief to pull you apart. Talk together, maintain intimacy in ways that are comfortable for you both and spend real time alone together. This can be a bonding time, rather than a divisive one if you learn to support one another.

Talk when you need to talk.

If people seem tired of hearing about it, or appear uncomfortable with the topic, seek out support systems meant to help women who have dealt with such losses. Ask your doctor about any support groups in your area, or check out online resources such as at nationalshare.org.

Get extra help if you think you need it.

You can get a counselor to help you through your grieving process to help prevent depression from taking hold. If you think you are experiencing depression, with darker thoughts and a feeling of hopelessness or unworthiness about life, get help immediately. You will get through this, and the heaviness you feel now will become bearable. Don't suffer alone.

Reach out to others when you have healed.

Pay it forward by showing others the way out of their grief!


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