Coping with Grief After Pregnancy Loss

What the Grieving Process May Look Like After a Miscarriage
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women must grieve after a pregnancy loss

Pregnancy loss is devastating no matter the circumstances. The future you were envisioning is suddenly gone. You may find it’s difficult to cope with your feelings or to relate to others. You deserve time and space to mourn the loss of your pregnancy after a miscarriage or preterm birth while moving toward healing.  

Grieving Process

The spectrum of emotions you might feel are not limited and are unique to each individual after experiencing loss. People commonly experience five stages of grief:

Denial

You might be in disbelief about your loss. Denial is a defense mechanism that tries to buffer the shock of your loss. “How could this have happened? This can’t be true.” 

Anger

You might experience intense guilt or search for blame. You might blame yourself, your partner, your doctor, or a higher power. “I hate myself for letting this happen, it’s all my fault.” 

Bargaining

The "what if…" stage. Bargaining allows a temporary escape from the pain of your loss and gives people an opportunity to adjust to the reality of the situation. “What could I have done differently to prevent this from happening?” 

Depression

Symptoms of depression are appropriate responses to a loss. You might experience a loss in motivation, change in sleep schedule, or extreme sadness. “I don’t know how I’ll get through my day.” 

Acceptance

Acceptance does not mean you are okay with your loss, but it means you accept the reality of the situation and that nothing can be changed. “I understand that this loss is difficult and I see it for what it is.” 

How long will I grieve the loss of my pregnancy?

How can I move forward?

There is no time limit on grief and the emotions you will feel. It is key that you allow yourself time to heal and move toward going forward. There are steps you can take to make your healing process easier. 

  • Take it slow
  • Take care of yourself
  • Talk with your partner or loved ones
  • Join a support group
  • Remember your baby

Although grief healing is necessary in finding an acceptable way to live with your loss, it doesn’t mean that you should forget your memories or that they are insignificant. Remember that celebrating joy in your life moving forward does not dishonor your loss. Memorialize your baby and be reminded of your strength.  

Looking for resources? 

The Village Family Service Center strengthens individuals and relationships across North Dakota and Minnesota through behavioral services such as Mental Health Counseling and Pregnancy Options Counseling. Call 1-800-627-8220 or request an appointment online

Sources: Mayo Clinic and American Pregnancy Association

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