The difficulty of coping with miscarriage loss can be more complex than most people think. Even if there may not be a burial due to the lack of physical need, a mother can still feel a bond with her unborn child. The strength and perception of her bond will determine her grief. Unfortunately, others may not validate her loss because they do not see evidence that life was present. Even if there is physical proof, there may be a perception that grief is not warranted because the baby did not live outside the womb. The loss may be easily dismissed and false encouragement offered, such as, “you can try again” or “lots of women have miscarriages.” These comments, although meant to offer hope, often leave a woman feeling there is something wrong with her for being so sad. She may also feel angry that others do not see her loss as legitimate. She may begin to withdraw from others and become isolated in her grief. The associated psychological stress of multiple miscarriages can increase the chances of depression and anxiety forming. If a couple has used IVF or other reproductive technology to become pregnant there may be a higher risk of developing depression and trauma.
If you have experienced miscarriage loss you may find that joining a support group for your type of loss will help you feel less isolated and help you cope. It is best to seek individual counseling if you have had multiple losses or are experiencing trauma reactions that leave you feeling stuck and unable to engage fully in your life. These reactions might include panic attacks, high anxiety, reliving the events in your mind, nightmares, difficulty sleeping, or constantly feeling depressed or on edge.
Here are common reactions due to miscarriage loss:
• Feeling cheated of the joy of pregnancy, birth and motherhood
• Feeling your body failed you and others you love; feeling defective or less of a woman
• Blaming yourself for the loss, feeling you must have done something wrong
• Anger, frustration or anxiety, especially if there is no answer as to why it happened
• Traumatized by having to deliver a baby no longer alive, or by the experience of the miscarriage itself
• Wanting to avoid others who are pregnant, have just had a baby, or remind you of your loss in some way
• Avoiding social situations because of having to deal with people’s comments or questions
• Feeling a loss of control and increased feelings of fear and anxiety
• Struggling with your belief system, wondering why God allowed this to happen
• Feeling jealousy, envy, and anger towards others who seem to have children easily, or do not treat their children properly in your eyes
• Feeling guilt or regret because of a past abortion, or considering abortion for this pregnancy
• Feeling the loss was a punishment
• Trauma symptoms – feeling stuck and unable to move past the loss due to overwhelming feelings and images related the events of the miscarriage loss