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Pregnancy Loss and Bereavement

If you have experienced a miscarriage, the grief can be overwhelming, but you certainly aren’t alone. Miscarriages are far more common than you may realize. Doctors believe that women may miscarry between one and two-thirds of all pregnancies. It’s natural to grieve the loss of a pregnancy, and the grieving process can take time, anywhere from a few months to a few years. These feelings of grief can be even more intense for couples who have had difficulty conceiving. Couples may also grieve after they have had an unsuccessful experience with the assisted reproductive technologies like IVF transfers or GIFT procedures. 

After a miscarriage, you may be experiencing feelings of shock, disbelief, anger, sadness, guilt, loss of self-esteem, loneliness or depression. Please be assured that it is okay to feel many or all of these emotions during the grief process. Your partner may also be grieving intensely, but may deal with it differently. Unfortunately, a partner’s grief is often overlooked, but they also need care and compassion during this difficult time. 

Grieving is a way for you and your partner to heal emotionally from a miscarriage. Here are some positive steps that may help you in the healing process:

  • Recognize that your miscarriage is a significant and real loss. Find a way to acknowledge this loss: give a donation or gift to a special charity, have a memorial or religious service, plant a tree or give your baby a name.
  • Understand that you and your partner will feel and deal differently with the loss. Be patient and understanding of each other's feelings. Keep communication open.
  • You may also want to do further reading on this subject or seek professional counseling to help you get through this difficult period.
  • Prepare ahead for "reminder" days, such as your due date, holidays and the anniversary of your miscarriage. Make some gesture of commemoration such as lighting a candle, attending a religious service or making a memorial donation.
  • You may find that one of the most difficult tasks after a miscarriage is facing the people who know you best. Realize that they may say things that are hurtful, even though it was unintended. Often people want to help but don't know how. You will need to let people know how you feel and what they can do to help you.
  • Try to resist the desire to become pregnant again right away. Counselors often suggest that you wait until the feelings of emptiness and pain resolve through the natural process of grieving. Your physician can assist you in preparing for a future pregnancy.

Be sure to take care of yourself as part of the healing process and take all the time you need to grieve your loss. When planning for the future, it’s important for you to know that having one miscarriage does not necessarily mean that the next pregnancy will miscarry, as well. In fact, the chance of your next pregnancy being successful is more than 70 percent, and if the cause of a miscarriage is diagnosed and treated, the chance of success can be 80 percent. Your physician can answer any questions or concerns you may have about future pregnancies.

It can also be extremely helpful for you to seek support from others who have had similar experiences. We invite you to participate in our pregnancy loss support group where you can receive comfort from others who understand what you are going through. For more information, please call 928-336-4777.

 

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