Miscarriage is probably the most hidden form of grief experienced by any woman. Statistics suggest that the risk of miscarriage under 12 weeks in known pregnancy is 1:5, increasing to 1:4 in women with a raised BMI. This can frequently lead to anxiety and depression. (Tommy’s)
Women suffering a miscarriage often suffer in silence. Perhaps they hadn’t wanted to share the news of their pregnancy before 12 weeks and although most women do this so that if they do lose their baby, they don’t have to explain to everyone, it also has the impact of a feeling of isolation. Do you share now to explain how you’re feeling or do you keep it to yourself and try to struggle on with your life? There is no easy answer and it’s what works for each individual woman as to how she copes.
Of course, when we think of a miscarriage, it’s often referred to as the process of losing a baby during the early part of the pregnancy. In actual fact, the term miscarriage refers to the loss of a pregnancy in the first 23 weeks of pregnancy. Women losing a baby at a later stage may have felt their baby move and seen significant changed to their body. There is also the consideration of the fact that currently women who lose a baby at such a stage in their pregnancy are unable to register the birth. This brings another emotional aspect to their loss.
The key thing is to recognise that a miscarriage, no matter how early or late, is a loss. There can be an assumption that if it’s very early or occurs not long after finding out about the pregnancy, that it matters less. This is far from the truth. Loss is not measured by how long you’ve known about the pregnancy, how many children you already have, how much you wanted a baby, how long you’ve been trying to conceive or whether it’s your first miscarriage or your fifth.
Women react to a miscarriage in different ways. For some, they will withdraw into themselves and feel like it’s something that they need to deal with alone. For others, they will find it comforting to talk to others, whether it’s their husband or partner, close family and friends or a support group. For some it may come as a relief and this can also bring a sense of guilt that they should feel this way. All women will react differently and there is no right or wrong way because it’s not something that we choose to do. A reaction is just that; something that is done, felt or thought in response to a situation or event. Your friend may have gone through something similar and seemingly moved on quite quickly (although you never know how she’s feeling under the surface) when you feel like you’re struggling with feelings of anger, depression or anxiety.
I once had a client suggest to me that she couldn’t still be grieving about her miscarriage because she ‘didn’t do grief’. We don’t choose to grieve – it just happens.
There are ways to move forward when you’ve suffered a miscarriage but the depth of grief that women can feel should not be underestimated or dismissed. Seeking support in whatever way works for each individual woman is the best way forward and not comparing yourself to others and how they have coped.
There are a number of ways that I can help support you through your grief following a miscarriage. For more information, please contact Catherine today at Catherine@hopebirthandbeyond.co.uk