Now that you have experienced a pregnancy loss, you are probably feeling more sadness then you ever thought
possible. The emotional impact often takes longer to heal than the physical
impact. Allowing yourself to grieve the loss can help you come to accept it over
What emotions might I feel after a
Women may experience a roller coaster of emotions such as numbness,
disbelief, anger, guilt, sadness, depression, and difficulty concentrating. Even
if the pregnancy ended very early, the sense of bonding between a mother and her
baby can be strong. Some women even experience physical symptoms from their
emotional distress. These symptoms include: fatigue, trouble sleeping,
difficulty concentrating, loss of appetite, and frequent episodes of crying. The
hormonal changes that occur after miscarriage may intensify these symptoms.
The Grief Process: What should I expect?
The grieving process involves three steps:
Step 1: Shock/Denial: This really isnt happening; Ive
been taking good care
Step 2: Anger/Guilt/Depression: Why me? If I would have...
Ive always wanted a baby so badly, this isnt fair. I feel such sadness in my
more then ever.
Step 3: Acceptance: I have to deal with it; Im not the
only one who has experienced this. Other women have made it through this, maybe
should get some help.
Each step takes longer to go through than the previous one. There are
unexpected and sometimes anticipated triggers that lead to setbacks. Examples of
potential triggers include: baby showers, birth experience stories, new babies,
OB/GYN office visits, nursing mothers, thoughtless comments, holidays, and
How can I survive my pregnancy loss?
Respect your needs and limitations as you work through your grief and begin
to heal. As you work through this difficult time:
Reach out to those closest to you. Ask for understanding, comfort and
Join a support group.
Seek counseling to help both yourself
and your partner.
Allow yourself time to heal.
Remember, Women and Men Grieve Differently:
Generally women are more expressive about their loss, and more likely to seek
support from others. Men are more action-oriented, tend to gather facts and
problem solve, and therefore do not choose to participate in support networks
that consist of sharing feelings. This does not mean he is not grieving. Often
men bury themselves in work when they are grieving.
Parents experience different levels of bonding with a baby. The bond between
a pregnant woman and the baby growing inside her is unique. A woman can begin
bonding from the moment she has a positive pregnancy test. Bonding for the
father may start as he experiences physical signs
of the baby, such as seeing
an ultrasound picture or feeling the baby kick. However, real bonding may not
develop until after the baby is born. This is why men may seem less affected
when the loss of the baby occurs early in pregnancy. These differences may cause
strain in your relationship as
you try to come to terms with the loss.
You can help your relationship to stay strong
Being respectful and sensitive of each others needs and feelings.
your thoughts and emotions by keeping communication lines open.
differences and acknowledging each others coping styles.
Understanding Your Healing Rights:
Healing doesnt mean forgetting. Healing means refocusing.
You have the right to:
Know the facts about what happened and potential implications for the future.
Seek answers to your questions, look at the medical records, and take notes.
Make decisions about what you would like to do with your maternity clothes
and any baby items that you may have purchased.* Others might try to make quick
choices for you; instead speak with friends or family that can help you figure
out which option is best for you.
If necessary, protect yourself by avoiding situations that you know will be
difficult. Set realistic goals for yourself. Focus on coping through the day
rather than the entire week.
Take time to grieve and heal. There is no set time allotment for healing nor
is it something that can be rushed.
Receive support even though this may not be easy for you. If you feel out of
control or overwhelmed, consider seeking help from a counselor, therapist or
support group to help guide you through the grieving process.
Be sad and joyful. It is okay to feel sad at times but the key is to not let
it control you. Others have survived their grief, and in time you will too. Do
enjoyable things because laughter and joy are healers. Remember that celebrating
bits of joy doesnt dishonor your loss.
Consider this time to be a period of healing. Use it as a time of
self-growth, both in your personal life as well as in your marriage. Be the best
you can be and take satisfaction in the growing process and the step by step act
of moving forward.
*Some communities have a custom to not purchase any items for the baby
before it is born.