What Happens After Miscarriage?
Pregnancy can be an exciting, joyful time for parents who are looking forward to welcoming a new life into the world. However, for the estimated 10 to 20% of mothers-to-be who experience a miscarriage, the unexpected loss of a pregnancy is often a heartwrenching event with long-lasting mental health effects. While it may take more than a month to physically recover from having a miscarriage, the emotional impact can last much longer. Some people grapple with complex feelings like guilt, shame and grief even many years after delivering a healthy baby.
October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month, an observance of the thousands of parents who have experienced the devastating, unexpected loss of their babies. In 1988, President Reagan declared this monthlong tradition to recognize and support the many families who have suffered such a tragic event.
The Psychological Impact of Miscarriage
The idea that a baby could suddenly stop growing in your womb can be agonizing to face. You may carry a terrible burden of guilt that you are somehow responsible for your miscarriage, questioning everything you’ve done leading up to your pregnancy loss and assuming you did something to cause it.
It is crucial to understand that miscarriages hardly ever happen because of specific actions you took or failed to take. The most typical cause of early miscarriage is chromosomal abnormalities in the baby, which happen entirely by chance. Other issues that might cause a miscarriage include problems with your uterus or cervix, which are also outside your control.
Raising Pregnancy Loss Awareness
Many expectant parents begin imagining their child’s future as soon as they know they are pregnant. You may have started picking out names or thinking of nursery decorating ideas. It takes time to mourn your baby’s loss and all the hopes and dreams you lost at the same time. However, some people might not understand the sadness and shock that happen after a miscarriage or respect your right to grieve an unborn baby.
Societally, it is becoming less taboo for people who have experienced one or more miscarriages to speak out about what they’ve gone through. In her memoir Becoming, Michelle Obama wrote about undergoing a miscarriage, calling it “lonely, painful and demoralizing.” Though talking about your miscarriage can help bring much-needed perspective to the issue, you may still worry that others will judge you. Even the word miscarriage has such a connotation of failure and shame that some people have suggested changing the terminology.
When you experience a loss, social support is essential to your healing process. The belief that you need to deal with your grief in silence may prevent you from hearing the stories of others who have been through the same pain and lived to tell the tale. Don’t let the stigma surrounding pregnancy loss convince you that you have failed or that there is something wrong with your body.
At Pine Grove, we have created programming specifically to help women address their mental health concerns. If you are struggling with issues such as the unexpected loss of a pregnancy, we are here for you. Reach out to us by calling 888-574-4673 or contacting us online.