14 Sep Support Following a Miscarriage
More than 1 in 5 pregnancies end in miscarriage, around 14,000 women in Ireland each year experience the loss of their baby at some stage throughout their pregnancy. Many women are not well informed about why a miscarriage happens, which can make the whole situation frightening and more distressing.
The emotional recovery of miscarriage can be the most difficult aspect to overcome and you should take the time you need to recover. Everyones grieving process around miscarriage is different, and it’s not helpful to judge or compare the emotions felt by one another from miscarriage. The loss of a pregnancy is painful, regardless of how many weeks a pregnancy lasted.
Miscarriage is not just about the physical facts it can be a very distressing and emotionally challenging time to lose a pregnancy and there is no right or wrong way to feel. Some people may feel why me? Some may feel relieved if the pregnancy was not planned. Others may have experienced this loss after struggling with infertility. Every story is different.
You may experience a range of emotions:
Guilt; you may blame yourself although it is very unlikely that you caused the miscarriage.
Emptiness; no longer feeling pregnant, that your baby is no longer there.
Loneliness; especially if you feel others around you do not understand your emotional distress.
Sad and tearful; you may cry without any obvious reason or trigger.
Shock; perhaps you had no signs something was wrong.
Numb; you may not seem to have any feelings.
Angry; you might be angry at the hospital, at others being pregnant.
Jealous; when you see other people pregnant or babies.
You may experience a bereavement period feeling tired, loss of appetite, difficulty sleeping or sleeping more than usual. The length of time you need for emotional recovery is different for everyone as everyone grieves in different ways. For some people they may struggle to cope with everyday life and daily activities; a loss of sense of control. If you have previously experienced depression or anxiety the miscarriage could trigger some of your symptoms.
If you find you are in urgent need of mental health support or you feel suicidal you can call 999, you can attend your nearest A+E department or you can contact the Samaritans on Freephone 116 123
You may not have told anyone about your pregnancy yet – you may wish to choose those who you would have told first to share about your loss so that you can have emotional support from your loved ones. It is also okay if talking about your loss is too painful or traumatic for you.
Remembering your baby
To lose a baby through miscarriage can mean you have little or nothing to mark the presence of the baby in your life. The Miscarriage Association of Ireland have a specially commissioned Book of Remembrance in which to commemorate lost babies. You can ask to take your baby home – you may wish to bury your baby within your own garden (check with your local council regulations) or bury your baby in a planter with a beautiful plant or flowers to remember them. You may wish to name your baby or purchase a piece of remembrance jewellery.
What about partners?
At Baby Academy we are inclusive and use this term to describe all partners; same sex, transgender or any other supporter
Partners may struggle to come to terms or also understand their grief. You may have already picked a name or felt your baby move and may experience a deep sense of loss. You may feel left out as you were not carrying the pregnancy and therefore no-one has asked how you feel. You may feel relieved if the pregnancy was not planned.
Supporting your partner through a miscarriage can be really tough; you may feel helpless as you cannot control the situation or the sight of blood may be distressing to you. You may be worried about sharing your feelings with your partner as you do not want to cause her further distress; but sharing your emotions can help you to grieve together for your loss.
Resuming intimate relationships and thinking about another pregnancy
Many will wonder when it is okay to have sex again; as long as your miscarriage symptoms have completely stopped then when you feel physically and emotionally well enough then you can resume your intimate relationship. You may wish to start off slowly and explore other ways of being intimate first. Many will be worried about having another miscarriage but for most women a miscarriage happens once and they will go on to conceive and have a healthy term pregnancy. Recurrent miscarriage (more than 3) happens to around 1:100 women and investigations will be started at this time.
If you do not wish to have another pregnancy then a barrier method of contraception such as condoms is recommended until you can have a discussion with your GP about a long term method of contraception which right for you.
My friend has had a miscarriage I don’t know what to say?
It’s difficult to find the right words when you are supporting a family member or friend during a pregnancy loss grieving period. The important role you have to play is being available to listen; saying ‘I’m sorry’ will validate the loss they have experienced and the grief they are currently feeling. It is also okay to say ‘I don’t know what to say but I am here’. Touching base in our technology driven world is easy – send a text, an email, a whatsapp message, a card, flowers. If she wants to have visitors then bring a meal to share together. All these actions will help your friend to know that you are are thinking of them and want to provide emotional support.
Some things not to say;
‘At least you’re young’
‘It’s probably for the best’
‘At least you can have another baby’
It may seem like putting a positive angle on the loss could help but most women report they find this to be tfurther distressing.
The Miscarriage Association of Ireland http://www.miscarriage.ie
Pregnancy and Infant Loss Ireland https://pregnancyandinfantloss.ie
Feileacain: Stillbirth and Neonatal Death Association of Ireland https://feileacain.ie