Learning To Cope With Pregnancy Loss
The joy of an impending birth can quickly turn to sadness when the family involved is faced with a pregnancy loss. A dream come true for many women, a miscarriage or other form of pregnancy loss can come as a devastating blow.
First and foremost, it’s important for you to know that you are not alone – a miscarriage occurs one in every five pregnancies. Whatever your circumstances, coping with a pregnancy loss may seem an insurmountable feat, but with time, patience, and love, you can move forward.
Allow Yourself To Grieve
Though you may have never held their hand or sung them to sleep, suffering a pregnancy loss is akin to losing a friend or a loved one, and you may be surprised to find yourself going through a similar grieving process.
You will likely experience a range of emotions: sad over the loss; anger and resentfulness that it could happen to you; withdrawn from friends and family members, especially those who are pregnant or just had babies. You may find you have no appetite, or trouble sleeping. You may cry a lot, or not at all. These reactions are among the many, natural and healthy responses to a pregnancy loss, and no two women will experience it in the same way.
Allow Your Partner To Feel
Though there is no telling how your partner will react in the event of a pregnancy loss, you may be surprised that their reaction is not on par with yours. There is no right and wrong way to deal with grief, and while it may upset you that your partner doesn’t cry or doesn’t appear to be as upset and hurt as you, that doesn’t mean that they don’t care. Try to remember that this time is difficult for both of you, that you have each other for support and that you can get through it, together.
Talk About It
It’s common to shy away from friends, family and social obligations when you experience a loss, and pregnancy loss is no different, but while talking about the loss is hard, it’s also a necessary step in acceptance and eventually letting go. While the idea of talking about the trauma you’ve just experienced may seem like an impossible feat, especially in those cases where friends and family were aware of the pregnancy, during times of extreme sadness it’s important to reach out to others for support. Turn to friends, family and support groups with women going through similar issues. If you feel like you are struggling on your own, seek professional guidance.
Take Care Of Yourself
While we wouldn’t begrudge you a little downtime in the beginning, you need to remember to take care of yourself – eat, shower, brush your hair, play with your pets or your other children. Though these activities may seem pointless, keep going, even if you’re just going through the motions. You will eventually feel normal again, and you will be glad you stuck to your routine when you do.
Take Your Time
That said, don’t rush yourself or let anyone force you to rush the healing process. Grief affects everyone differently, and no matter how hard you try you won’t be able to predict how it is going to affect you, and for how long. Though the pain may lessen over time, you can’t and shouldn’t try to anticipate when you’ll feel “normal” again.
It is tough to move on from any loss, and you should give yourself permission to do what feels right for you to say goodbye. A small ceremony, a farewell letter, a touching family portrait – or even nothing at all – can help to give you a feeling of closure so that you can move on.
Though it may be tempting to give yourself over to grief, this loss is but a chapter of your life that has now closed, and you still have many more experiences and opportunities ahead of you. Practice self-care and self-love to get you through this tough time so when it’s time to try again, you’ll be ready.