Planning to start trying to get pregnant is an exciting time. As previously mentioned in a past post, fertility issues plague many couples. Once a woman gets pregnant, challenges may still arise. A miscarriage, the loss of a pregnancy is an extremely difficult experience and can have significant emotional and physical impacts on our lives.
Sadly early miscarriages are common, and according to statistics, “it’s estimated that miscarriage occurs in about 15% to 25% of pregnancies”. Happiness is quickly turned to devastation when a miscarriage is confirmed. Unfortunately no one prepares us on what to do and how to feel. Women struggle with feelings of shock, guilt, grief, sadness and a sense of failure which are all common and normal reactions. We think about what we could have done differently, but the reality is that most often the reason for a miscarriage is unknown. Fortunately a miscarriage doesn’t necessarily impact your ability to get pregnant in the future, and it’s important that you find ways to cope with the feelings that a miscarriage may stir up.
Here are some coping strategies:
Talk to your partner
As a woman, you may take the burden and responsibility of the miscarriage upon yourself. It’s important that you talk through your feelings with your partner as they are probably having similar feelings about the loss. Talk about how you both can support each other through this difficult time, and make sure you remain on the same page. You both may have different ways of coping with the loss, but as long as you understand where the other is coming from it’ll make this difficult time a bit easier.
Focus on the “what is” vs. “what ifs”
A piece of advice that I have always found helpful is to focus on the “what is” vs. the “what ifs”. If you are feeling anxiety about the future and getting pregnant again, you have to remember that every pregnancy is different and there is no way to predict the future. Focus on what is, meaning taking action over that which you have control.
Give yourself time to grieve
Similarly to any loss, you need to give yourself time and space to mourn the loss of the pregnancy. There is no right or wrong way to grieve, but time is recommended. Immediately after your loss, you will go through many emotions such as denial, anger, bargaining, depression and at some point acceptance. It’s important that you talk through the feelings and reach out to support from friends and family.
Manage your feelings of guilt
Guilt is one the most common emotions after experiencing a miscarriage. For some reason we blame ourselves for the miscarriage and struggle with the idea that we could have stopped it from happening. It’s important to manage the feelings of self-blame by reminding ourselves that the cause of miscarriages are often due to chromosomal abnormalities which is something that we cannot control or change. Rather focus on what you do have control over, like your physical and emotional health.
A study completed in 2011 revealed that 15% of women who experienced a miscarriage struggled with anxiety and/or depression. It’s important that you seek support to help cope with this difficult time before it overcomes your life.