Miscarriage is one of those dreaded words, something that you didn’t want to think about, something that you feared, and now you’ve experienced it.
Though it’s the most common pregnancy complication (according to the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists), one that happens in 10 to 25% of confirmed pregnancies (according to the American Pregnancy Association), when miscarriage happens to you, the frequency of occurrence doesn’t lessen the physical and emotional impact. Not in the least!
But it’s important to know the science behind early miscarriage in order to counter superstition and especially the guilt that a woman may feel: “If only I hadn’t gone for a run.” “If I’d just stayed hydrated.” “If only I hadn’t gotten so stressed out over that presentation.”
The truth is that those things will not cause a miscarriage, according to the experts. Dr. Zev Williams, at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in NYC, says that even the term “miscarriage” imputes blame, implying that the woman didn’t carry the baby correctly, when she didn’t do anything wrong. The science of early miscarriage is that the vast majority are caused by chromosomal abnormality, so the body naturally aborts the embryo that isn’t viable. Your body hasn’t failed and neither have you! Nothing can be done by a mother or a doctor to prevent a pregnancy that isn’t chromosomally viable.
Because there’s so much dread and superstition associated with miscarriage, many people feel they can’t talk about it with others. They feel a sense of isolation and may suffer alone.
A man may feel that he can’t talk with the woman about what it means to him, because she’s experiencing all the physical effects, on top of the emotional ones. A woman may feel that she’s disappointed her partner, that the miscarriage is her fault—and she has the hormonal stew fueling these irrational thoughts.
And in these days of omnipresent Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter, you may have happily broadcast the pregnancy on social media platforms the moment the pregnancy made it through the first trimester. Now what do you do?
There may be depression and lack of interest in activities that you may have enjoyed together and separately. Sex, which may have previously helped the two of you feel close, may be freighted with all sorts of negative emotions, and you may not be able to engage in it now, even if you wanted, depending on whether or not you needed to have a medical procedure as part of the process. Your sexual desires may be particularly “out of sync” at this time.
Instead of pulling together through the loss, you and your partner may feel alone in the relationship and feel that not only can’t you talk about the loss with your partner, you can’t talk about it with your families and friends, especially if the miscarriage happened before you had started announcing the pregnancy or because some of your friends and family members are also pregnant and scared to even hear the word. You and your partner may feel a sense of helplessness or hopelessness.
The aftermath is physical and emotional
Some of the physical symptoms you may be dealing with are physical cramping, pressure, and pain; loss of appetite; fatigue and sleep disturbance; and bleeding.
You may feel the emotional impact of the miscarriage, or it may be weeks before your feelings break through your numbness. Some of the heightened emotions you may be feeling are grief, guilt, shock, anxiety, depression, and anger. And you may be cycling among them at lightning speed, thanks to your fluctuating hormones. Then there are your fears: You may be scared that you won’t be able to get pregnant again. You may fear that if you get pregnant again, you’ll have another miscarriage. Once you’re pregnant again, your fear may leave you feeling that you’re holding your breath for the entire pregnancy. You’re waiting for more bad news, and may interpret every ache and pain of pregnancy as a sign of impending miscarriage.
You may be someone who was previously a “cool customer” in your everyday life, but this event has left you questioning everything you thought you knew in life. You may feel like a plant that’s lost its turgor. You’re just limp in the face of this loss.
Compassionate help is here!
I’ll help guide you through this tender time in your life. I’ll provide the supportive therapy you need to deal productively with the physical symptoms, encouraging you to get all the medical help you available to get through the physical stress. I’ll also take on the deeper work to help you deal with the emotional and psychological stress, combat the hopelessness and helplessness you may be feeling, and develop the resilience you need to be able to heal and move forward in your life.
Your partner may feel completely impotent in trying to help. I can work with your partner to deal with those feelings and the loss, so that your partner can help you productively, instead of doing things that leave you feeling more alone and leave your partner feeling even more ineffective.
I’ll help you and your partner face the pain together, mourn together, heal together—and move forward together. A combination of sessions as a couple to discuss things and to strengthen your relationship and individual sessions may be helpful. I’ll determine what will be most helpful as we go along together.