After a miscarriage, women and men alike experience a range of feelings, such as disbelief, anger, guilt, sadness, and depression. No matter what month a miscarriage occurs, it is still a devastating loss. Women may experience this loss more sharply due to the physical loss and bond, but men are also deeply impacted. Due to this, it’s important to speak openly about the challenges of miscarriages, and the fears and feelings we don’t discuss.
After a miscarriage, it’s vital to remember that you are not alone. It was not your fault. And, there is still hope.
The reality of miscarriages
Although thousands of people miscarry each year, many of them feel completely alone. The grief, sadness, and loss feels singular. 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
- 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. For those who have gone through this extremely personal and painful experience, it is comforting to know that miscarriage is more common than they thought.
Unfortunately, this taboo subject is rarely discussed and those who suffer from it tend to suffer in silence. At The Fertility Institute, we thought it may be helpful to let those who have gone through a miscarriage know which emotions and feelings may be triggered by this tragic event.
We’ll discuss some of the other feelings and thoughts that crop up after a miscarriage, but this one is important to be aware of first. According to one study, nearly “20% of women who experience a miscarriage become symptomatic for depression and/or anxiety; in a majority of those affected, symptoms persist for 1 to 3 years.”
To work through this grief, reach out for help and support. You’ll be surprised to hear others share their other miscarriage experiences. Find a support group who can help, or reach out to a professional therapist for help. If you’re struggling, the Crisis Text Line is always available for free 24/7 by texting 741741 (in the U.S./Canada).
Second-guessing yourself about what you could have or should have done better will only lead to more grief.
Although it is natural to wonder if there was something you could have done differently, try not to relive every moment between conception and miscarriage. An estimated 60% of miscarriages result from chromosomal irregularities that occur during conception. For the majority of cases, there was nothing you could have done differently to prevent a miscarriage.
Because there are many factors that go into a miscarriage, be kind to yourself. Talk to your doctor for more information about the causes of miscarriage to give yourself more peace of mind.
Another thing you may question is your ability to have another child. Women who have experienced a miscarriage describe these self-doubts as the hardest to process.
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. They can help calm your fears and run fertility tests if needed.
Grief on certain calendar 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. The missed birthdays, anniversaries, milestones will always be there in the imaginary calendar.
For some, developing a type of ritual or ceremony for the loss can go a long way towards helping you heal. Some plant a tree in honor of the loss, while others donate to charity.
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. There is no set time for healing to take place.
After a miscarriage, fear may always be in the back of your mind as you wonder if it could happen again, or you may consider the month you miscarried as a symbolic milestone to overcome in your next pregnancy. However, the reality is there is no guarantee that any 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. Also, be aware that the emotional healing after your miscarriage may take longer than the physical process.
If there was a magic potion to take away all the pain and negative emotions associated with miscarriage, it would be called “hope.” As we noted in an earlier post about common miscarriage questions: “More than 85 percent of women who have had a miscarriage will eventually get pregnant again and deliver a healthy baby.”
If you do try again, remember that no two pregnancies are alike. Instead of letting yourself wonder about all the things that may go wrong during your next pregnancy, try to focus on what could go right. Joining a support group either online or in-person can help you find the hope to continue on your pregnancy journey.
Find fertility support
If you’re suffering after multiple miscarriages, or want to find fertility treatments that can help, our team at The Fertility Institute is here to support you. Contact us today to learn more.