The unexpected loss of a pregnancy in the first 20 weeks is a shocking and devastating experience, especially for those who have struggled with infertility. It is important to remember that the pain you are feeling now will not be anywhere near as intense a few months from now, and that grief is a natural response to the loss, even though people around you may not understand that.
“The pain you are feeling now will not be anywhere near as intense a few months from now.”
Although the awareness of the emotional impact of pregnancy loss is beginning to be more widely understood, there are still people who regard miscarriages, especially early ones, as not being that big a deal and who think that those who are deeply affected by these losses are over-reacting.
It may reassure you to know that most people do go through a grieving process following a miscarriage that follows a somewhat predictable course. In the early days following a loss the following experiences are very common:
- Emotional numbing
- Difficulty eating, sleeping or focusing
- Guilt (and obsessive thoughts of what you should have done to prevent the loss)
- Intense Anger (towards yourself, your body, your partner or your doctor)
- A sense of feeling punished for something you did wrong
- Fearing more losses (e.g. anxiety that your partner will get into an accident)
- Unpredictable waves of intense sadness and tearfulness
If you can, it’s a good idea to take some time off work and reduce your normal activities for a week or so to recover both physically and emotionally. Staying open to your feelings and not burying them or avoiding them is an important step in working through your grief. Writing or talking about your feelings can be helpful. Doing art work, keeping an art journal or writing a poem or song can be very healing as well.
The main thing to remember is to treat yourself gently and do what you need to do to support yourself through this process so that you can eventually accept the loss and begin your preparations for another pregnancy or another way to grow your family.