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Dealing with losing your baby through early miscarriage…

Counselling — admin @ 4:47 pm

We have decided this week to take a look at the experience of miscarriage and how it affects women who go through it. Although fifteen per cent of all pregnancies end in spontaneous miscarriage, the emotional effect of this goes largely unrecognised socially. As a result, a woman can be left feeling lonely and isolated at this very distressing time. This is particularly true if a woman miscarries prior to having a visible bump, usually less than twelve weeks. It can be difficult to mourn a baby who was not yet visible to the outside world. Even if family and friends have been aware of your pregnancy, it is often the case that people avoid the subject so as not to upset you further. People often feel it is a private matter and probably best left alone. It can be even more difficult for women if they are faced with unhelpful comments like “Sure you can try again….” Inevitably, some people will get it very wrong in how they approach you.
How then can you as a woman who has suffered the most intimate loss, talk about your feelings of guilt, anger and sadness? It is very difficult to share the rawness of how you feel if there is little of no understanding of your loss. Other women who have shared a similar experience can be of support but every woman’s experience is unique to her. Because we all cope with grief in different ways, what works for one may not work for another. Every woman has to grieve in her own way for her baby and in her own time.
One of the biggest questions you may ask is if there was anything you did to make the miscarriage happen, if you were in any way to blame. Most miscarriages are unexplained and there is no evidence to support that lack of rest or physical activity causes miscarriage. If you feel you were in some way to blame and are carrying this guilt, it would be helpful to talk to a medical professional to clarify and reassure yourself that you didn’t do anything to cause it. It is not unusual for a woman who was unhappy about being pregnant, to feel enormous guilt at somehow ‘wishing for a miscarriage’.
As with other losses in life, women need support and understanding to get through this difficult time. While the physical healing can take place within weeks, emotional healing takes much longer. It can feel like this unbearable pain will never go away. In many relationships your partner will be grieving too and you can be a comfort for each other. However, problems can arise in relationships when your partner can’t relate to what you are feeling and seems able to get on with life. It has to be remembered that he will not have had the same awareness of being pregnant and also of the intrusion of physical exams like internals and possibly a D&C that you may have had to face. Doctors and nurses involved in your care may have found it difficult to engage with you at an emotional level and may stick with the facts, coming across as cold and detached. This can be very difficult and emotionally isolating.
The loss associated with miscarriage is individual and can be huge, regardless of the number of weeks. This is one of the areas were difficulty arises and other people’s opinions (including partners, family and medical professionals) can cause hurt. Believing that the lesser number of weeks pregnant should mean less upset can be hurtful. A woman losing her baby at 4 weeks pregnant can be equally as upset as a woman losing her baby at ten weeks. There are so many variables in the woman’s loss that is unique to her. It is a loss that has to be grieved. As you move through the different stages of grieving for your baby, there will come an acceptance of your experience. It is not that you forget and move on, rather that you accept and incorporate this loss into your life experience. Expect to be sad around the date that your baby was due, possibly for many years. It is quite normal to feel this way. Expect to feel very apprehensive about future pregnancy. There would be something wrong if you weren’t. Expect when you are seventy years old to still remember that baby you lost way back then.

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