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Coping with a miscarriage

For couples who lose a baby by miscarriage, the grief is very real, even though the loss can often go unnoticed by those around them.

Coping with a miscarriageAt least one in five pregnancies ends in miscarriage. For most couples the chances of a subsequent successful pregnancy are good, but however tiny the baby was, their loss is still great and there will be a grieving process to go through.

Common responses

There is no ‘right’ way to deal with having a miscarriage, and every situation and circumstance is unique to the person experiencing it, but if you have suffered a miscarriage you may have some of these common feelings:

  • You may find that not only are you grieving for the loss of a baby, but also the loss of the hopes and dreams that you had for the child, as well as for your own role as parents.
  • A miscarriage can cause anxiety or uncertainty about the future. In addition to your grief, you may have added concerns about whether you will be able conceive again, or be worried that something may be physically wrong or that you might suffer another miscarriage in the future.
  • Miscarriage takes it toll on a woman’s body and, in addition to the emotional impact you could also feel physically ill.
  • People around you may not know about the miscarriage and so you can feel isolated and very lonely as you struggle to come to terms with what has happened.
  • It can be hard for others to understand or relate to your miscarriage, even if you decide tell them about it. You may feel misunderstood or upset if people respond inappropriately or are insensitive.
  • You may feel at some stage like you ‘should be over it by now’ or, if you continue to feel very upset, wonder whether you’re response is ‘normal’.
  • If you have lost a baby before it is very distressing to go through a miscarriage again, and a subsequent miscarriage can bring back the compounded sadness of previous losses.
  • The feelings of sadness may last longer that you expect. Be aware that there is no set time limit on the grief you may feel.
  • Difficult days may come out of the blue – when someone announces their pregnancy, for example.
  • It can be hard to be around other people who are pregnant or who have new babies. You may feel envious or jealous of others who seem to have had a straightforward route to becoming parents.

Responding to each other

The impact of a miscarriage can put your relationship under strain, but if you are able to keep communicating with each other and take the time to deal with the challenges you both may be facing, the shared experience can actually bring you closer as a couple.

Individuals respond to grief very differently and couples can find that their differences make it hard to communicate with each other about how they are feeling. Women may feel the loss more acutely due to the physical nature of a miscarriage, and men can feel as though they have to be the ‘strong one’ or that their feelings are ignored. If you find this to be the case it is vital to make sure you keep the channels of communication open between you. Try to be patient with one another and recognise that grief may be affecting you in different ways.

Sex can be difficult after a miscarriage and it is important to talk to each other openly and honestly about how you feel about this. It is also important to be sensitive to each other as you begin to discuss when you both feel would be the right time to start trying for a baby again.

Depending on the timing of the miscarriage you may find it helpful to commemorate your baby in a special way. You may want to hold a memorial service, plant a flower or tree in the garden in memory of the baby, or buy something special to keep and remember them by.

The impact of a miscarriage can affect people deeply. If you’ve suffered a miscarriage and would like to find out how you can get further support, you can get really helpful information from the Miscarriage Association.

This information is supplied in good faith, but Care for the Family cannot accept responsibility for any advice or recommendations made by other organisations or resources.