How Do You Grieve After a Miscarriage?

Anyone can miscarry. 

A miscarriage (spontaneous abortion) is a traumatic and emotional time for both women and their partners. It may be a common event – but that doesn’t lessen the enormous grief you may be going through.  You need to keep reminding yourself that this is not your fault.  

Aside from the emotional impact, you will also feel the physical impact of the loss of your baby.  

Dealing With Your Emotions 

This isn’t your fault and you should not think that you have failed as a mother.  

Many women will blame themselves after a miscarriage. You might think that if you had done anything differently, your baby would be alive. However, many factors beyond your control can lead to miscarriages. It’s estimated that 10 – 20% of known pregnancies end in miscarriage. If miscarriages which occur before the first missed period are factored in, this number could be as high as 40 percent. 

Allow Yourself to Grieve 

The first step in the loss of a life, even the life of a fetus, is grieving. Elizabeth Keepler Ross described the five stages of grieving as denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and finally acceptance. You may find yourself going in and out of these stages of grieving. This is normal.  

  • You might feel anger, guilt, sadness, and emptiness during these times. All the emotions you are feeling are normal stages of grieving.  
  • Rely on your friends and loved ones to help you through your grieving process. Let them become a support system for you. Allow them to help with daily tasks, but also talk with them about your feelings as you work through the states of grief described by Ross. 
  • There are many support groups available both online and in communisites for those who have had a miscarriage. You might feel more comfortable sharing and comparing your experiences with those who have gone through the same thing.  
  • If you feel extreme sadness, depression, or anxiety, you should consider talking with your doctor. If your doctor thinks you need help moving through the grieving process, your doctor  can refer you to a grief counselor or a therapist to help you cope with your loss. 
  • Lastly, don’t be afraid to share your pain with your partner. Both of you have lost someone important and this can alter your relationship. It is easier to work through your grief if you can open up to the person who has also suffered a loss in this miscarriage. 

 

A beating heart is the line in the sand.  

Miscarriage before there is a beating heart is common and usually from a chromosomal mutation. These miscarriages are not preventable. Whatever the mutation is, the resulting egg cannot develop into a viable fetus. The miscarriage before the detection of a beating heart has a low risk of recurring. 

Once there is a discernable beating heart, there are a number of possible causes of miscarriage, and these causes can mean repeatable miscarriages in some women. Bacterial infections. Clotting disorders.  

If you have had a second miscarriage, it’s time to ask your obstetrician to look for possible causes. After one miscarriage, I recommend checking for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and clotting disorders. 

Trying Again 

One precaution: always remember that after miscarriage, getting pregnant again is often very easy. Some providers say wait for three months before getting pregnant again. I always suggest waiting for one regular period before getting pregnant again. It can then be determined with more accuracy when you are due. In addition, having a normal period signals you are done with the miscarriage. 

Books

Dr. Alan Lindemann

Obstetrician-Gynecologist (OB/GYN)​

He is an obstetrician and maternal mortality expert with 4 decades of medical practice beginning in Minnesota and presently in North Dakota. He has delivered around 6,000 babies with zero maternal deaths.