You may have complex emotional, physical and psychological needs right now, and that’s okay. Here, we offer support and resources that may be of help during this difficult time.
We’re living in the age of global pandemics, space travel and climate change, but strangely enough, talking about miscarriage is still seen as being so taboo. Disclosing whether or not you’ve miscarried or speaking about your experience is your prerogative, but when society deems it a topic that’s off-limits in ‘polite’ company, people who’ve miscarried can struggle to get the emotional, medical and psychological help that they need. However you choose to frame your experience is personal, and it’s important that your inner circle of friends and relatives support your emotional processes after miscarrying.
Miscarrying is More Common Than You Think
Technically, miscarriage is the loss of a pregnancy anytime before 20 weeks gestation, after which point it is termed a still birth. Because it’s still so difficult to speak about, with women being discouraged from opening up about miscarrying or there being stigma attached to having not carried a pregnancy to term, many people don’t realise how common miscarriage really is. According to Health24, 15% of pregnancies are lost in the first trimester.
Know That It’s Not Your Fault
A lot of people feel as if they could have done something to prevent miscarrying. And while there are important precautions to take while you’re pregnant, like avoiding alcohol, smoking cigarettes, illegal substances, and even certain foods, in most cases, miscarriages are as a result of fetal abnormalities, and are out of your control.
You’re Entitled to Mourn Your Loss
It doesn’t matter if you miscarried at five weeks or at ten, the emotions that accompany miscarriage can be a complex array of guilt, sadness, anger and a profound sense of loss. Women who miscarry are often made to feel as if their grief is unwarranted, given the duration of their pregnancy, but whether you miscarried in the first trimester or experienced a stillbirth in your third, you are entitled to grieve for yourself and the loss of your pregnancy.
Some Emotions May Surprise You
There is still a lot of stigma and shame attached to miscarrying and unfortunately, that means that a lot of women may be reticent to disclose how they’re really feeling, and might be compelled to only talk about the experiences that go according to ‘script’, and not those that are considered more taboo. There is no standard emotional response to miscarriage, and some people are taken by surprise at the range of feelings they experience. Some people feel that they might mourn this loss forever, while other people describe feeling guilty for not being devastated by the ending of their pregnancy, or even relief if the pregnancy was unplanned. It’s not unlikely that you’ll experience a complex host of emotions and all of these are normal during this time.
You May Need to Seek Medical Attention
If you’ve miscarried a pregnancy, it’s a good idea to see your doctor to check if your miscarriage was complete, or if the contents of your womb need to be evacuated (commonly known as a dilation and evacuation (D&E). You may need to undergo tests to find out the reason for your miscarriage, especially if you’d consider becoming pregnant again in the future. This way you can safely rule out future pregnancy complications, and find out if there was an underlying medical condition that caused your body to miscarry the pregnancy.
You Deserve Love and Support
Whether that means leaning on your partner, friends or family, you are entitled to all the reassurance and kindness that you need. If you are struggling to cope, or you are becoming worried about your mental health after a miscarriage, voice your concerns to your partner or close friend or family member. Everyone is different, and you may find that undergoing counselling, taking antidepressant medication or being with loved ones helps you to recover.
Below are some helpful links to resources that offer support:
Born Sleeping: Contact Nicole at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit bornsleeping.wordpress.com or visit their Facebook page at Born Sleeping ZA
The South African Depression and Anxiety Group (Sadag): at 0800 567 567 or sms 31 393
53 Hours: has a list of helpful resources for parents who have experienced miscarriage or the loss of a child http://www.fiftythreehours.com/resources/
Share Pregnancy and Infant Loss Support: offers support to bereaved parents at http://nationalshare.org/