It is typical for couples to respond differently after a pregnancy loss. Suggesting that anyone is not sad enough or that they are too sad will only add additional stress to an extremely difficult time.
It may be difficult to think that somebody who deals with grief differently feels grief as deeply as you. It might help you to understand that although grief follows some common patterns, every person’s reaction is unique.
Typically, there is an expectation that acute grief will come with tears, as well as powerful expression of emotion. It is considered typical to express feelings, cry, and to process grief as you adapt to this loss. It’s referred to as intuitive grief.
An equally valid yet less accepted way of handling grief is referred to as instrumental grief. In this case, someone will take charge and emphasize being “strong.”
Often, we relate such grieving with males. It may pertain to anybody, however, particularly if he or she is usually a problem-solver. Individuals who grieve this way often discover that they have a type of restlessness or nervous energy that helps them get things accomplished.
Instead of withdrawing from activities or crying, individuals suffering instrumental grief will work upon taking care of business and attempting to master their emotions. For these individuals, taking care of practical matters might not be a distraction from the truth but a consolation.
In contrast, somebody who deals with grief by focusing on their emotions might discover that dealing with practical matters is almost impossible, and an uninviting reminder of their loss.
Most people react to grief with a blend of these two approaches.
Communication is critical for couples to get through their grief healthily. They should try to understand one another’s point of view.
I recommend sitting with your spouse and discussing how he or she feels, as well as what helps him or her. It’s okay if these things are different.
If you are an intuitive griever, but your partner is not, you might consider participating in a support group or locating a trusted confidant. Discuss this with your partner. It might mean that you can get support, express yourself, and revisit memories in a way that helps you, without conflicting with your partner’s way of handling his or her grief.
Everyone wants to support their loved ones through hard times. With the loss of a baby, it can be difficult to figure out the best way to do this.
Here are some ideas.
Send a card
A card conveying your sympathy for the loss of a pregnancy can be more meaningful than a text or phone call because it takes more care and effort. Don’t forget to address your card to both partners.
Spend time with the couple
Don’t think that you need to stay away! Pay a visit. It is surprising how many people back off from their friends and loved ones in situations such as miscarriage or illness, not because they don’t care, but because they don’t know what to say or how to handle the situation.
If you can’t visit in person, find other ways to stay in touch. Contact them regularly to see how they are feeling. Keep in touch, even if there is no response. They will get back to you when they are ready. Even if they are not ready to see you, they will appreciate that you care.
Send a gift
Maybe you could send a thoughtful gift to help physically brighten their day. Home baked cookies, fancy chocolates, or perhaps some comfy PJs to wear while they are recovering may be good choices.
There are also small gifts you can buy to commemorate the child that has been lost. You could give a tree or flower to plant and grow; or maybe a small, personalized item, or a name a star certificate.
Think about the people involved and what you think they would appreciate so that, where possible, your gift is personal.
A miscarriage is a physical as well as emotional process. Grieving is exhausting. Help them create the space and time to do this. Perhaps you can look after other children for an afternoon or take on a few extra chores or responsibilities to help them out.
A home-cooked meal is always appreciated. This is a great, practical way to be kind. Or perhaps you could assist with simple household tasks such as laundry, vacuuming, or grocery shopping. Make sure they have everything they need to be comfortable.
Suggest going out – at the right time
The intensity of the grief is likely to ebb and flow. Perhaps during less tearful times, you could try and get them out of the house for a change of scenery. It can be beneficial for the couple to take a walk, grab a coffee, or catch a movie.
Being persistent is not the same as pressuring the couple. Suggest that they go out, but let them do it when they are ready.
Miscarriage and grief are personal to the individual. Whether you choose to share this with others is 100% your decision.
There is no easy way of sharing this news. It will be difficult whether or not you have already announced the pregnancy.
You should not feel obliged to share this news if you’d rather not. If you have already announced your pregnancy, however, it may be better to tell people about your miscarriage before they ask. If you’d prefer, you could ask your partner, a friend, or a family member to let people know.
Should I tell my family and friends about my miscarriage?
Even if you don’t want to share this news widely, you may want to tell your immediate family and close friends. It might be a good idea to tell one or two select people so that you can benefit from their love and support during this difficult time.
Do I need to tell my co-workers about my miscarriage?
You may not want to announce your miscarriage widely in your place of work. It may be beneficial, however, to tell your line manager or HR person, so that they can be understanding of your needs.
You may need to take time off during the miscarriage itself. And it’s normal for women to take time off to recuperate physically and to come to terms with the news.
Perhaps there will be times when you struggle upon your return to work. Having at least one or two people who are aware of what happened can be useful.
Sharing the news
If you choose to share the news of your miscarriage with others, you may find that once you start telling people, you will be overwhelmed by how many people have been through the same thing and are keeping this a secret.
Sharing the news of a miscarriage by talking about it with trusted friends and colleagues has helped some women deal with returning to work during this difficult time. Some have also found that they helped other people who had secretly been in a similar situation.
Still, if you don’t want people to know, it’s okay to put your needs first. Sharing the news may be painful, especially in the immediate aftermath. While sharing can be helpful, don’t feel pressured to do so if you will feel very uncomfortable, you think it will affect your work, or you are not ready.
For those that it affects, a miscarriage is as sad as any death. It is also one of the most difficult situations in which to grieve as there is no body to bury nor a personality to mourn, just the considerations of the person that may have been.
How can I support someone who has had a miscarriage?
While you can’t take away the pain, there are things you can do to help your loved one through this awful time.
Don’t be afraid to acknowledge what has happened
Tell them you are sorry about their miscarriage. Don’t be afraid to acknowledge what has happened. Cards are generally appreciated and are a more thoughtful way of expressing your support than a text or email.
Allow them to grieve
Don’t try and cheer them up or ignore what has happened. Allow them to cry, be sad, and be angry for however long it takes. These emotions are normal following the loss of a pregnancy.
Ask them how they are feeling and don’t be afraid to discuss their grief with them. Of course, if their behavior gives you cause for concern, you should consider the benefits of them seeing a health professional.
Care for them
Think about small acts of care you can carry out that may help them through. Perhaps offer them a home cooked meal, a plate of home-made cookies, or flowers to brighten their home.
Reassure them that the miscarriage was not their fault
It may sound obvious to us. In many cases, however, people can’t help but blame themselves for a miscarriage. They will spend hours over-analyzing their every movement, and the food and drink they consumed.
Reassure them by telling them outright that this is not their fault.
What not to say to someone who has had a miscarriage
There are a few common phrases that people tend to roll out when they know someone has had a miscarriage. In most cases, they say these things with the best of intentions.
You can expect to hear: “At least it happened now before they are born” or “You can get pregnant again and have another baby.”
Rest assured that this is in no way helpful to the person grieving. A better approach is to acknowledge their situation, tell them you are sorry and be there to listen to them.
If you know a couple dealing with the aftermath of a miscarriage, don’t be afraid to reach out to them. A few comforting words and a willingness to listen will go a long way.
Finding out that you are pregnant following a miscarriage
Finding out that you are pregnant is generally a time of elation. Finding out that you are pregnant following the loss of a previous pregnancy can bring with it a whole range of emotion.
Your worry and concern may prevent you from feeling the pure joy that this news can bring. It may be a while before you relax and feel free to enjoy being pregnant again.
First trimester of a new pregnancy following a miscarriage
If you’ve had a miscarriage, the first trimester of a new pregnancy can be an especially difficult time. It is likely to be fraught with a variety of emotions. Since 80% of miscarriages happen within the first 12 weeks, it can be a time of great uncertainty.
Fearing that you will lose this pregnancy is common and the feeling is natural. You may feel that you can’t enjoy the new pregnancy until you are past the point of the earlier loss.
A new pregnancy following a miscarriage may bring about mixed emotions
As well as stress and concern for your unborn baby, you may feel a great variety of emotions.
You may detach yourself from the pregnancy as a coping mechanism. Alternatively, you may feel guilty that you are moving on from your previous pregnancy.
Women describe this time as like being on an emotional roller coaster, sometimes happy, sometimes sad, fearful, afraid. Despite these feelings, please don’t lose hope.
Taking care of yourself when you are pregnant following a miscarriage
Recognize/accept your previous loss
Recognizing and accepting your previous loss may help you move forward. If you haven’t done so already, planning a small ceremony or act of remembrance – whether it is just for you as a couple, your family, or yourself – may help you move on from your previous loss.
A small token such as writing a letter, lighting a candle, or saying a prayer can be meaningful ways to remember your child.
Grieving for the loss of your child is normal. Accept that your body and mind are going to be affected by grieving. There’ll be a feeling of overwhelming sorrow, anger, guilt, and of course, numbness and shock.
Many women are unable to sleep after a miscarriage, despite feeling exhausted. Your routine daily activities might seem meaningless. You might discover yourself eating when you’re not hungry, or not eating at all.
Within this phase, fatigue, grief, depression, shock, are all understandable feelings. It is also common for women to feel a sense of failure. Occasionally, it’s more difficult to deal with the feeling that some individuals give you sympathy instead of comfort.
Amid all of this, what’s important is to permit yourself to feel what you’re feeling. Miscarriage is the loss of a loved one. Grieving is normal. Permit yourself to feel sad, but understand that you are not to blame. And if you miscarried during the first pregnancy trimester, know that this is common.
Talk about your feelings with your spouse. At the same time, give one another space to mourn. Tell your spouse what you need. You may not feel like you deserve special treatment, but it’s important to take care of yourself. People around you will want to help.
After experiencing a miscarriage, allow yourself to take a little time off work. This can be extremely helpful, physically and mentally.
Getting ready for another pregnancy
According to health care providers, women should wait before attempting to conceive again.
Physicians recommend waiting for a complete menstrual cycle before attempting to conceive again. Women who didn’t go through treatments or tests to discover the cause of the miscarriage might wait for two or three menstruation cycles prior to attempting to get pregnant again.
For women who are extremely emotionally wounded, it is wise to give the emotional healing process as long as it needs. This might be months, a year or more. Everybody is different. If the emotional pain is severe for many weeks, it is worth talking to a nurse or a mental health professional experienced with miscarriage and bereavement.
Having had a miscarriage will promote fear for another loss within pregnancy, but most women who have had a miscarriage can experience a regular pregnancy. For those who didn’t have any infections, their bodies might be prepared to ovulate again two to four weeks after a miscarriage.
After a miscarriage, it is vital to look after yourself. Whether or not you are considering a future pregnancy, give yourself time to heal physically and mentally, and use the resources available to you, including friends, family, libraries, and professionals.
Living with parental grief might seem overwhelming, but it’s possible. It is important that you try to be optimistic yet realistic. You’re not expected to forget the loss of your child. However, you’ll survive it, even as it changes you.
As you undergo each season, each holiday, each sad or happy occasion that triggers an additional wave of grief, you’ll gain strength and better tools for handling the pain.
Do not hide from feelings of guilt
After the loss of a child, you are likely to be experiencing feelings of guilt. These are normal. It is helpful to confront and confess them.
Assess the reality of how the pregnancy was lost, as well as your real actions and intentions at the time. In almost all cases, people gradually see their actions and reactions in a more realistic and, therefore, positive light. You should acknowledge but forgive yourself for any ways in which you may not have been perfect.
Take baby steps
After the loss of a child, it’s critical that you break down the future into increments. If necessary, do this one day or one hour at a time.
Concentrate on activities. Do the laundry. Feed the cat. Focusing on normal, everyday activities will very gradually help you bear the grief.
Acknowledge your feelings
Think about creating a journal in which you can write about your pregnancy and the hopes and dreams you had for your unborn son or daughter. You may consider writing a poem addressed to him or her, or simply acknowledging your current feelings.
You might not feel prepared to do this immediately, but know that some people find comfort and release in doing this kind of thing in the earlier days after a miscarriage. Every person is individual. If something is not right for you, it’s okay to stop or look at another area.
If you don’t like the idea of keeping a journal, it’s worth considering joining a support group, talking to a professional, or family and friends. The important thing is to acknowledge and share your feelings. This can be transformative and set you on the long path to healing.
Surviving the loss of a child means making a commitment to live your life. You must make a new dedication to living, as impossible or difficult as it might seem. This doesn’t happen all at once. Keep going, one day at a time. You’ll not only survive this, but the experience will make you stronger.
When a pregnancy ends in stillbirth or miscarriage, children may have to deal with deep emotions. Like the parents, their existing children will also have suffered a loss. While you might be reeling with very painful feelings, it is critical to give your youngster permission to grieve, and to provide understanding and loving support.
Parenting specialists encourage parents to involve their kids in getting ready for a new child’s arrival. Assuming you’ve followed these suggestions, your youngster has already felt an emotional bond to the pregnancy. The loss of a baby is bound to bring distressful feelings, as well as curiosity.
Here’s your best policy: attempt to get your kids to open up in regard to their feelings as truthfully as possible.
It is important that you provide your youngster an honest account of what happened to the brother or sister they had been expecting. While you don’t need to provide the details, being honest can help keep things simple. Where possible, it is recommended to state the truth and avoid euphemisms for the death that can confuse kids.
Kids are literal. Generally speaking, it is healthy to give them bad news forthrightly. This means telling your children that the pregnancy ended, and that while he or she is no longer with you like before, you will all always remember and feel love for him or her.
Direct explanations are helpful in getting your youngster to assimilate the sad truth, the initial step in the process of grieving. Tell your child that it is normal to feel sad.
Offer your youngster a listening ear for all questions he or she might want to ask. The younger a child is, the more likely it will be that there will be questions asked several times. Each time, repeat the responses, and over time you will see a deepening of comprehension.
It may be very painful to address the same subject repeatedly, but it’s important to do so for your youngster. Your openness, patience, and honesty are essential to his or her ability to cope with the challenging idea of this loss.
The grieving process sometimes is so deep that you feel your child requires more help than you’re able to provide. This type of help might come from additional family members, social workers, close friends, mental health care specialists, or teachers.
If you think that you need support, don’t hesitate to get in touch. There is no need to go through this alone.