The grieving process for pregnancy loss looks different for everyone, but there are some feelings that are commonly associated with this significant and personal experience. Grief is sometimes described as a process that happens in different ‘stages’ of emotions.
According to Mayo Clinic, stages of grief include feelings of shock, denial, guilt, anger, sadness and depression, jealousy, and yearning for a lost pregnancy. It’s normal for women who have experienced a miscarriage to feel some or all of these emotions. There also isn’t any particular order or length to these feelings; women may experience any of these difficult emotions, in any order, for any amount of time.
Ways to heal
People cope with loss in different ways, and what works for one person might not work for another. But there are a few things that might help women as they grieve a miscarriage.
- Find support: There are online and in-person support groups for mothers who have experienced a miscarriage. Many women find these groups to be immensely helpful while they grieve. If you’re interested in finding a support group, your healthcare provider will be able to provide you with more information.
- Ask for help: In most cases, people want to offer their help, but those who haven’t experienced a miscarriage won’t know exactly what they can do to make things feel better for a grieving individual or couple. It might be uncomfortable at first, but women who are grieving should let friends and family know what they need, no matter how small or big it seems.
- Allow yourself to grieve: At any point in pregnancy, miscarriage can have an intense emotional impact on a woman. No pregnancy is too short to grieve after a pregnancy loss. Grief can’t be controlled; it can only be managed healthily as someone moves forward in life. Women who have had a miscarriage should embrace whatever feeling comes after the experience in order to process the loss.
- Move at your own pace: Everyone heals at their own speed, and there’s no amount of time that is ‘too long’ to be sad about a miscarriage.
- Chat with a professional: While friends and family are a wonderful resource, sometimes talking to a trained counselor can be most helpful. Your primary care provider or OB/GYNs can recommend a psychologist or mental health counselor for you if you need. Even just going to one or two sessions can sometimes provide healing and clarity to women who are struggling with loss.
- If daily life gets too difficult, talk to your provider ASAP: Sometimes grief can overcome a person and make it hard for them to do daily tasks or take care of themselves. Women who start to feel hopeless about the future, who are struggling with their emotions, who feel depressed for long periods of time or who think about harming themselves should talk to their healthcare provider. He or she can help find a therapist or a psychiatrist who will support these women on their healing journey.
Every case is different
It’s impossible to know in advance what will best help someone heal. It’s also completely okay for someone to try a few different things before finding out what makes them feel the best. Over time, things will get easier, and healing will continue to happen.