There are a number of different emotions that you may be experiencing if you have gone through a miscarriage. An important part of coping with your miscarriage is allowing yourself to feel these emotions, openly and honestly.
Shock and Grief: Immediately after a miscarriage, many women enter into an initial state of shock. Miscarriages are often sudden and unexpected, and therefore yours may have left you feeling as if you have been hit by a bus. Though an awful feeling, this shock is a natural part of the coping process. After shock, you may experience different levels of grief. Everyone expresses their grief in different ways, whether it’s screaming and crying, or sitting in silence. It is completely okay for you to experience this sadness.
Anger and Guilt Numerous women experience feelings of anger and guilt after a miscarriage. You may find yourself silently cursing that pregnant woman sitting next to you, or angrily wondering why this miscarriage had to happen. You may also find that you are blaming yourself for your miscarriage. It is normal to experience this anger and guilt but you must keep reminding yourself that you are not to blame.
Researchers have established four steps that need to be accomplished so that you can work through the grieving process:
- Accept the reality of the loss – if the miscarriage takes place before friends and family know of the pregnancy, sharing the loss with others may help.
- Allow yourself to experience the pain of grief – if the grieving process is suppressed, it is more likely to result in psychological reactions. You need to consciously grieve for lost dreams.
- Adjust to the new situation without the baby – often times you look at your pregnancy as part of yourself. When it is lost, there is an emptiness and an incomplete feeling. You must change your perception that part of yourself was lost. You need to recover your self-identity, at least as it was prior to becoming pregnant.
- Reinvest emotional energy into new relationships – you can recover and benefit from building new ties, maybe with others who have experienced what you are going through, or just by nourishing the relationships that are already in your life.
If the four steps to the grieving process do not progress to a resolution, the most common problems are depression and anxiety. The general rate of depression in women is 10 – 15%. After a miscarriage, this rate is reported to be 22 – 55%.
Stay tuned for The grieving process part 2: Normal grief or full depression?