Coping with pregnancy loss
Couples will deal with the emotional aspects of pregnancy loss differently, and men and women may also experience different emotions, at different times. There is no "right" or "wrong" way to feel.
Some people are not deeply affected, and will be able to put the pregnancy loss behind them and move on relatively quickly.
For others, however, a pregnancy loss is a blow to themselves, their hopes and intentions about the baby-to be and their thoughts about "starting a family". Many couples can clearly recall their decision to start to "try for a baby", a decision that brings their hopeful intentions into clear focus.
When a pregnancy is lost, intentions are thwarted and the hopes, even fantasies, about the planned baby are dashed. There is often little chance to prepare oneself emotionally for such a loss. For some, the loss is so sudden it is impossible to prepare for it. For others, the loss occurs after a period of bleeding where hope may still be held that perhaps the pregnancy might go on. In either situation, the grief can be very intense and disabling.
The intensity of the grief relates to the meaning and the significance of the loss. When the pregnancy has occurred after either a lengthy period of trying to conceive or following infertility treatment, the sense of hopelessness, the despair over ever being able to have a baby, is usually overwhelming.
Grief after pregnancy loss is often poorly understood by others. Well intentioned but inappropriate comments (which convey this poor understanding) can add to a sense of isolation in one's grief. If the pregnancy loss occurred early in pregnancy, there may be little, if any real acknowledgement of the loss. If the pregnancy enters the second trimester and fetal movement is experienced, the "baby to be" becomes a baby even though a pregnancy loss under 20 weeks is not considered in law as the death of a baby.
It is important to emphasise that miscarriage is a very major loss for many couples and it is normal to grieve such a loss. It is also normal (but often bewildering) to experience a range of other emotions as part of one's grief including sadness, anger, guilt, helplessness and despair. Some women experience clinical depression as a reaction to losing the pregnancy.
We offer a counselling service for couples who have experienced pregnancy loss, to help them through this difficult time