After a miscarriage, women experience a range of feelings, such as disbelief, anger, guilt, sadness and depression. Even if the pregnancy ended early, the mother-child bond is still very strong and no matter what month miscarriage occurs, it is still a devastating loss. But although thousands of women miscarry each year, many of them feel completely alone. The reality is that each year:
- approximately 15-20% of confirmed pregnancies end in miscarriage;
- the United States’ rate of stillbirth is documented as 1 in 160-200 pregnancies; and
- in the United States, approximately 11,300 infants die within 24 hours of their birth.
Unless you have suffered a miscarriage, you may find these statistics depressing. But for women who have gone through this extremely personal and painful experience, it is comforting to know that miscarriage is more common than they thought. The reason for this is that most women tend to suffer silently and this taboo subject is rarely discussed. At The Fertility Institute, we thought it may be helpful to let women know which emotions and feelings may be triggered by this tragic event:
CALENDAR OF DATES
After a miscarriage, the hypothetical calendar dates do not go away. As you are dealing with the loss, you may still find yourself noting what would have been your baby’s due date and birthday. Holidays will be particularly tough, as you will think, “This would have been our first Christmas”. The missed birthdays, anniversaries, milestones will always be there in the imaginary calendar.
Although you may think, “I am not the jealous type”, jealousy will still creep in. Of course, you want to be happy when one of your friends gets pregnant, but it may be harder than you think. If seeing someone holding a baby upsets you, try not to be so hard on yourself. Give yourself time to grieve.
Second guessing yourself, regarding what you could have or should have done, will only lead to more angst. Although it is natural to wonder if there was something you could have done differently, make sure you don’t start reliving every moment between conception and miscarriage. If you start down this road, the questions will be endless. You will start asking yourself, “Was it that extra cup of coffee that I had each morning?” or “Did I exercise too much?” Because there are many factors that go into a miscarriage, the more you educate yourself, the less guilty you will feel.
Another thing you may question is your womanhood. Women, who have experienced a miscarriage, describe these self-doubts as the hardest to process. These feelings of inadequacy may sometimes lead to a deep depression. If you find yourself questioning whether your body is up to the task of carrying a child to term, ask your doctor’s opinion before you let self-doubt prevent you from trying again.
Unfortunately, after a miscarriage, fear will always be in the back of your mind as you wonder if it could happen again. As you go through your next pregnancy, you may ask yourself, “Are these the same symptoms I felt last time?” Although some women consider the month they miscarried as a milestone to overcome in next pregnancy, the reality is there is no guarantee that pregnancy will result in conception. The best thing to do is to overcome your fears by asking your doctor questions and staying informed at each stage of your pregnancy.
If there was a magic potion to take away all the pain and negative emotions associated with miscarriage, it would be called “hope”. Although every woman deals with the loss of miscarriage differently, one thing women agree on is that no two pregnancies are alike. So instead of letting yourself wonder about all the things that may go wrong, try to focus on what could go right. Joining a support group either on line or in person can really help you to find the hope to continue in your journey to motherhood.