It’s hard to know what to say or do when someone you love experiences a miscarriage – it’s a touchy subject people don’t like to bring up. But amongst the awkward tension of not knowing how to react, there are things left unsaid that shouldn’t be.
Here are seven things about miscarriage no one talks about (but should):
Between 10 and 25 percent of recognized pregnancies end in miscarriage. In fact, most healthy women have a 20 percent chance of miscarrying.
From the time a woman sees those two pink lines on a pregnancy test, she begins to dream of the little bundle of joy growing inside her and what life will be like once the child arrives. Having that stripped away so suddenly is devastating.
It doesn’t matter if you were two or 20 weeks along – the pain is still there. The bond between a mother and unborn child is strong, and losing that can bring emotions of anger, guilt, sadness and depression. If you know someone who has slipped into depression following a miscarriage, reach out to them and encourage them to seek counseling if necessary.
Men don’t experience the same kind of grief as women, but they still grieve when their partner miscarries. Seun Bankale, a psychologist who specializes in reproductive loss, says some men worry that if they show sadness, it will only bring their wife down. Men typically don’t mourn on the outside, but they still battle their emotions on the inside. One study said men show less “active grief” on the outside compared to females, but they are more vulnerable to feeling despair and struggling to cope with the loss.
Some women feel betrayed by their body following a miscarriage and wonder what more they could have done to prevent it. They ask what would have happened if they went to the doctor earlier or watched their diet a little closer. But there are so many causes for miscarriage, and they typically can’t be identified. The most common reason for miscarriage in the first trimester is chromosomal abnormality. In these cases, it isn’t the mother’s fault, and recognizing that is a great first step to overcoming the overbearing grief.
You might be worried to try for another child after experiencing a miscarriage, but experts say about 85 percent of women who have suffered a miscarriage will go on to have a healthy, full-term pregnancy next time. They say it’s safe to wait at least two to three menstrual cycles and until you and your partner are emotionally ready to start trying again. Go at your own pace, and talk to your doctor about when it’s healthy to become pregnant again.
Don’t be afraid to speak out. Seek help from trusted family members, friends, experts and online sources. Visit them for tips on emotional and physical recovery. You can also read other people’s personal experiences with pregnancy loss.
To all the mothers and fathers out there who carry the heavy weight of losing a child, remember you are not alone. You can receive help from experts and loved ones. And although you will never forget your sweet unborn child, your pain can start to fade.