Nearly every parent's worst fear is the loss of a child — even those babies who haven't been born yet. The pain and grief suffered by moms and dads who have lost babies to miscarriage is just as real as the grief of those who lose children later in life. If you or someone you love has suffered a miscarriage, how do you begin to heal from your sadness and grief?
Don't blame yourself. The most common reasons women miscarry are missing pieces of genetic information in the fertilized egg or improper implantation of the baby into the uterine lining. Women don't miscarry because they ate something they shouldn't have, or didn't take folic acid or get enough rest. Though it may feel like it, miscarriage is not a punishment.
- Accept your grief. You may feel tired, depressed, anxious, isolated — there is a whole range of natural emotions. Your readjusting hormones can contribute to your painful feelings. Give yourself time to heal. And don't be surprised if the emotions continue to resurface. The death of a child is a tremendous loss no matter when in the child's life it occurs.
- Talk about your struggles. Tell your partner how you feel. Though he may express his emotions differently, he has experienced the same tragic loss you have and is suffering from many of the same feelings. Share the story with friends as you feel comfortable; you'll be surprised how many similar miscarriage stories you'll hear that you never knew about. And if you feel you need more help, ask your obstetrician about pregnancy loss groups in your area or consult a licensed therapist.
- Memorialize your child. Giving your child a name, holding a memorial service at home or writing the day your child went to heaven on your calendar are all ways you may choose to help deal with your grief in a tangible way. Some families create memory books or contribute to online memorial websites to make sure their child will be remembered. Marking your loss in a permanent way can help you to recover.
- Don't be afraid to try again. Having a miscarriage doesn't mean you'll have another. In fact, your odds of having a miscarriage don't increase after you've had one; they're just the same as they were the first time around. Wait until you're emotionally ready to plan for another pregnancy, then consult your doctor to find out if your body has had enough time to heal. Most women who have lost a child due to miscarriage go on to experience healthy and happy pregnancies.