In medical terms, miscarriage is described as the spontaneous ending of a pregnancy before the twentieth week of pregnancy. In reality, it can be a devastating experience for a woman and her partner. Understanding the feelings and emotions involved can play a large part in the healing process.
It’s Alright to Mourn
Mourning is a natural response to a loss, even the loss of a child that has never been held or seen. When a woman falls pregnant, dreams and plans are built up around the expected child. When a miscarriage takes place, the dreams are dashed and pain and grief result. It is important to acknowledge these feelings and allow them to run their course. Unexpressed grief will rear its head sooner or later – often during a subsequent pregnancy.
A Deep Sense of loss is Normal
Some women feel guilt at the great sense of loss they experience. They feel that their reaction is too great; that they have no right to mourn the loss of a child that was more a dream than a reality. Don’t allow these thoughts to creep in. Miscarriage can be a very painful time and may take many months for recovery.
Create a Memorial
It can be helpful to have a memorial service or set up some kind of remembrance. This can take many forms. Consider a prayer, a song or the planting of a tree. Some people frame a pair of booties or a romper that had been bought for the child. Others erect a cross or some kind of a memorial in their garden. Any of the above can include a private ceremony or close friends or family can be invited.
If the grief is too much or depression sets in, consult a doctor or professional counsellor. Someone who has personal experience of miscarriage will also be able to extend an understanding ear. Searching for a support group on the internet or at home can also be a great help.
Depending how many weeks along the pregnancy was, a D&C may be required to empty the womb. This is done under general anaesthetic which tends to cause lingering tiredness. Extended bleeding can lead to anaemia and hormonal changes can have major emotional effects. The key is time; time to heal and recover.
Recovering from a miscarriage is a process – both physical and emotional. It often takes months and needs to be worked through for complete healing to come about. Don’t try to rush the process and remember that the pain will eventually pass.