Pregnancy loss or miscarriage is one of the most devastating circumstances a woman has to face. The loss hurts on so many levels: emotionally, physically, spiritually and more. Perhaps more than anything else, it’s the connection a would-be mother has with her unborn child. Even though mother and baby never got to enjoy each other’s company on a personal level, there was still a bond that existed – a bond that only a woman who has experienced pregnancy loss can explain.
Time Heals All Wounds?
As the well-known saying goes, “time heals all wounds.” But does it, really? In this case, some women never truly “get over” a pregnancy loss. And that’s OK. I personally know a lady who has endured a pair of miscarriages. Every year, she marks the dates of her losses with a special tribute to her children – the children she never had. Thousands of women all across the country deal with their grief in similar ways.
Everybody handles their emotions differently, but there’s a common link among all recoveries from pregnancy loss. Before looking at different ways to cope, let’s look at four common stages of recovery.
Coping with Grief – HOW It Happens
There are typically four stages of recovery. Each stage can last for days, weeks, months or even years. Pregnancy loss, like other severe trauma, usually proceeds along this path:
Denial. This initial phase is when a woman says, “Why me?” To deal with the loss, denial puts a wall up for extra protection.
Frustration. Once the denial phase is over, anger sets in. And that frustration can be directed at anyone or anything – a spouse, significant other, self-induced anger or on a spiritual level.
Depression. Following the highs and lows of the anger period, despair can overwhelm a woman who has experienced pregnancy loss. This depression is focused on what happened, and also what might (or might not) happen in the future…for instance, “Will I ever have a successful pregnancy?”
Acceptance. This is different than forgetting about a pregnancy loss. Instead, acceptance is the realization that, however difficult it may seem, life must go on. This is often the most challenging time period after a miscarriage.
5 Ways to Cope with a Pregnancy Loss
Here are a handful of useful things that may help:
- Understand it’s not your fault – and that you’re not alone. Resist the temptation to look in the mirror for someone to blame. Pregnancy losses are tragic occurrences that happen quite often.
- Seek spiritual guidance and support. In a time of overwhelming grief and devastation, prayer and meditation can have positive benefits.
- Realize that not everyone around you will grieve the same way. Your partner or spouse has their own timeline, and so does everyone else in your extended family. Often times, recovery happens at a staggered pace – your process will not necessarily match everyone’s, or even anyone’s.
- Find something to do. Coping with a pregnancy loss isn’t about closing yourself off from society 100% of the time. While some measure of “me time” is absolutely necessary, there is tremendous benefit in taking a walk, rediscovering a hobby or any other enjoyable activity.
- Remember your child. It’s OK to commemorate the child you never knew. Personal reflection, a small ceremony with family & friends, and annual reminders are all appropriate ways to acknowledge your baby.
If you’re in the San Diego County area and are dealing with pregnancy loss, the Turning Point Pregnancy Resource Center offers pregnancy counseling for early pregnancy situations, including miscarriages. Our counselors and medical professionals provide a safe haven to talk about your pregnancy, all in a non-judgmental environment that women feel confident in. With TPPRC, you always have a free, confidential and understanding voice of reason to confide in.
For more about our pregnancy loss resources, or to speak with a pregnancy counselor, please call the TPPRC at (858) 397-1970. Plus, we also feature a mobile pregnancy clinic in the Clairemont neighborhoods. Contact us today!