On Pregnancy Loss

Twenty percent of women experience a miscarriage at some point in their lives. Many women take on feelings of blame or guilt for this natural, yet random, event. You try to make sense of what happened, but it is challenging to accept uncertainty. Sometimes there are no answers—we simply just don’t know.

Feelings of sadness and anger may take over. You start to experience obsessive thoughts about what you could have done differently. You throw yourself back into work to avoid addressing your feelings. You feel paralyzed to get out of bed. You feel as if you are going to lose control when pregnancy reminders pop up on social media or you see a pregnant woman. A lot of women report feeling badly about how they handle this loss. Remember these feelings are normal and there is no one way to grieve.

We live in a culture of silence and often hide our grief. In some cases, we try to open up but others respond with hurtful, insensitive responses, unintended or not. The truth is pregnancy loss is a major loss, no matter how far along you are. It takes time to heal, both physically and emotionally. The attachment to the pregnancy can last for some time, and anxiety and fears for future pregnancies can take over. It’s ok to talk about it. Say out loud the unspeakable. Take time to grieve and explore the meaning of this loss in the context of your life plan.

Having a miscarriage is an experience that is difficult to understand if you haven’t gone through it. The loss of a pregnancy after infertility can add to the distress. October 15 is National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day, however it takes more than one day to acknowledge this complex loss. Find someone with whom you can share your miscarriage experience and express your feelings and concerns. The more we talk about it, and express the pain of pregnancy loss, the more we help ourselves and others to heal.