“I just suffered a miscarriage 3 days ago. I was 9 weeks. We’ve been trying for a while and were so excited for the baby to join our family. I know my husband is grieving, but he won’t talk to me about it. I don’t know what to think. I don’t know if he’s mad at me or what. One minute I’m mad at him, the next I’m angry at myself or blaming the doctors for letting this happen. I know it’s nobody’s fault but that doesn’t change that I want someone to blame. I feel like I’ll never be able to have a healthy pregnancy again. I’m so depressed. We want a baby so badly, but it’s hard just “waiting” to see how things will work out. I want to believe we’ll have a baby, but it just seems so far away right now. How can we move on and build the family we so desperately want?”
So many hopeful parents have experienced similar heartbreak and can echo these very same words. When a couple has been waiting and pleading for a child, the joy that accompanies a little, pink, plus sign is something special. It warms their souls and leaves them with a feeling of contentment, even if it’s accompanied by morning sickness and moodiness. But when the life growing inside the mother ends prematurely, there can be emptiness as exquisite and strong as their original joy.
American Pregnancy Association studies show that 10 to 25 percent of clinically recognized pregnancies will end in miscarriage, which makes it the most common type of pregnancy loss.
Just because a miscarriage is quite common, it does not diminish the fact it can be devastating. Other’s that have not experienced a miscarriage themselves, or even a partner, may not completely understand the feelings you experience, or know what to say or do to help. Many people who have experienced this loss ask the same question, “How can my husband and I overcome a miscarriage and try to have another child?” Although the situation and feelings are not the same for everyone, the following four things may help in mending hearts, so you can continue to grow your family.
1. It’s Okay to Grieve.
First, it is normal to grieve. It’s important to recognize that everyone grieves differently, and in their own time. Respect your partner’s grieving process. Be a support, rather than a drain. The five stages of grief and loss include:
It is normal for everyone to experience each of these stages; however, they do not always happen in a specific order, and there is not a prescribed amount of time for each stage. The ultimate goal is to come to some acceptance regarding the miscarriage. Acceptance does not mean that it will never hurt again; it simply means you can face it and move forward with purpose, courage and optimism. It can be helpful to find a professional counselor to help you and your partner move through the grief process and manage sorrow and pain.
2. Have Perspective and Recognize Distorted, Negative Thoughts.
As people grieve, they often have distorted thinking, not based in reality. They seek someone to blame, or endlessly search for the reason this happened to them. They become angry at their partner, or make deals with God, or themselves. They generalize the miscarriage and think that because they miscarried, they will never have a family. It can be very difficult, but very helpful, to count your blessings at these times. Seek to see your life and your partner’s life as a whole, rather than thinking only about your loss.
Because things don’t happen the same way for everyone, it’s important to talk to your spouse about how you are feeling, what you want and need, and why. It can be hard to not become easily offended or defensive. However, times of trial and conflict can be times of growth for our closest relationships if we communicate and seek to understand each other’s point of view.
An old technique, often taught in relational communication, is to use “I messages.” I messages are often misunderstood, though. The purpose of I messages is to take responsibility and ownership for your own feelings, without blaming others or manipulating them into doing what you want them to do.
4. When You and Your Partner are Ready, Stop “Trying.”
“Trying” to have a baby can be stressful and place unrealistic expectations on things outside of you or your partner’s control. After you and your partner have grieved and are comfortable following through with your plans to grow your family, just enjoy each other. If it happens, it happens. Let this be a time for your relationship to blossom and grow.
One mom recounted in retrospect her journey from the sadness of miscarriage. She said…
“I lost my first child at 8 weeks and it was hard because I had just announced that I was expecting… then I had to make sure to let everyone know that I lost the baby the next day. It was so hard for a while when someone didn’t know I had lost the baby and would ask about me being pregnant. Now I have a beautiful baby boy who is a week old today.”
Family planning is not a perfect science, and neither are human relationships. Life throws us a lot of curve balls and loss – of many kinds – and can make us feel like we have struck out. But, life is not a ball game; it’s life! Each experience adds value and strength to us personally and our relationships. If we take the time, care for ourselves, and care for those we love, we will see our love, our life and our families blossom and grow in time.