Are You Grieving A Miscarriage? Here Are 3 Ways To Heal

There’s a combination of joy, fear, and uncertainty that comes with finding out you’re pregnant. Maybe you’ve been trying to get pregnant for months, or maybe your pregnancy has come as a bit of a surprise. Regardless of the circumstances, you begin to get excited. But then, all those emotions turn to grief when you find out you’re having a miscarriage.

By Juliana Morehouse Locklear3 min read

You began to dream about your baby. You told your parents and siblings about their newest family member on the way. You talked about names for a boy or a girl. You discussed moving to a different house. You brainstormed design ideas for a nursery. You anticipated all the difficult and incredible ways your lives were about to change. 

Then, you may have started having some physical symptoms that seemed concerning. You went to the doctor, and you heard the dreaded word: “miscarriage.” A sharp sadness coupled with a feeling of numbness overcame you. Despite likely being early in the pregnancy, you already loved the baby growing inside you. So this begs the question: How do you grieve the child you never met but already loved?

Having a Miscarriage 

The Mayo Clinic says, “About 10% to 20% of known pregnancies end in miscarriage.” Typical signs that point to a miscarriage are light bleeding, lower back cramping, a decrease in other pregnancy symptoms, dizziness, and heavy bleeding. These symptoms should prompt you to see a doctor, who will usually do a transvaginal ultrasound and a blood test to determine if you’re having a miscarriage. 

Depending on the type of miscarriage and how far along the pregnancy is, you may need to have a dilation and curettage, otherwise known as a D&C. This is when a doctor removes tissues after a miscarriage, which can mean treating heavy bleeding or cleaning the uterine lining. 

Much of miscarriage can be a mystery, often leaving couples feeling unresolved and confused. 

Some common causes of miscarriages are chromosomal abnormalities, structural abnormalities in the uterus, infections, injuries, and unknown reasons. Much of miscarriage can be a mystery, often leaving couples feeling unresolved and confused. It’s not a woman’s fault when she has a miscarriage. You may want to blame yourself, but really, it is beyond your control. 

Allow Yourself To Grieve 

It’s difficult to really understand the layers of emotion that come with a miscarriage. While we can have great compassion for women who have had miscarriages, it’s difficult to understand the complexity of it until you experience it yourself. Having one puts you through a strange set of emotions. Maybe you had been trying to get pregnant for a while, and you were elated to see that positive pregnancy test. Maybe your pregnancy was a surprise, and you were still processing what it would look like to bring a child into the world. Regardless of the circumstance, hearing the word miscarriage from your doctor feels devastating.

Grief is part of the human experience. Every person will encounter hardship in his or her life. In regards to grief, a miscarriage is unique because it’s intangible. You likely had not grown a pregnancy belly, nor was the baby developed enough to start kicking you. All you knew was that your late cycle, some morning sickness,  and a pregnancy hormone in your blood were signaling that there was a little human growing in your uterus. So, when the devastating emotions overcome you, you may question if you are even allowed to feel that way. You’re deeply upset over something you couldn’t touch or see. But you have to allow yourself to move through your emotions and to grieve the baby you lost. So, to the woman out there grieving the loss of her unborn child, let your feelings be an indicator of just how much you loved your baby. Your sorrow is honoring his or her life.

Don’t Forget About Your Husband 

As a woman having a miscarriage, it can be easy to take ownership of the tragedy. Because you’re having physical symptoms and hormonal fluctuations, you might feel like it’s only happening to you. While it’s understandable that this might be a woman’s first inclination, it’s important that you also consider your baby’s father.

Even though it may not have felt real yet, you became a parent the moment your child was conceived.

While a woman’s experience with a miscarriage is unique, so is a man’s experience. Even though the man doesn’t have any physical changes when expecting his child, he becomes excited and begins to dream about his future as a father. Men often become especially attentive to their pregnant wives as they know their wives’ bodies are about to do something incredible, and their future child is living inside them. So, when the shock and excitement of a positive pregnancy test turns to upsetting news, don’t forget to console your husband. While husbands need to invest their energy into comforting their wives, they also need the favor reciprocated. Yes, only your body has experienced something traumatic, but you and your husband have both experienced great loss. Respect your husband’s right to grieve his child and love him along the way. 

Honor Your Lost Baby 

Grieving the death of someone you never met can be confusing. You’re grieving someone who you had imagined but whose face you never saw and whose personality you never knew. Even though it may not have felt real yet, you became a parent the moment your child was conceived. So, embrace your role as a parent and celebrate your child. Whether it’s a baby early in development, a toddler, a forty-something year old, or a senior citizen, human life is valuable. It is to be celebrated. So, just as you would properly honor the life of someone who was out of the womb, choose to honor the life of your baby. This could mean writing your baby a letter, celebrating your baby’s due date, naming your baby, or praying for your baby. You could buy a memento like a special ring or create a memory box. How you choose to honor him or her is up to you, but it’s worth the effort.

Closing Thoughts 

Miscarriages are common but nonetheless devastating. It’s a type of grief that some may classify as being in a gray area, what’s known as disenfranchised grief. Not many people knew about the person you are mourning, yet your pain is deep. You’re healing physically and emotionally. You may fear losing another baby in a future pregnancy. You wonder about who your child would have been and what he or she would have done. You mourn losing the opportunity to nurture your child while on earth. How do you grieve the child you never met but already loved? You celebrate being able to get pregnant at all. You let yourself cry. You rejoice about having been his or her parent. You love your child. 

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