Miscarriage and Grief: Be Gentle with Yourself
Miscarriage is a difficult experience that many people face. Before a baby is born parents experience much joy as they plan for the birth of their child. Losing a child is very difficult.
Miscarriage is a pregnancy loss that occurs before week 20 of a pregnancy. A pregnancy that reaches full term lasts 40 weeks. Many are surprised to find out that it is estimated that 15-25% of pregnancies end with a miscarriage. It is important that you connect with a doctor as soon as you believe you are pregnant and contact your medical provider if you experience difficulties. Most of the time the cause of a miscarriage is unknown.
- Many women experience at least one miscarriage during their childbearing years; it is not always known why this occurs
- The first signs of a miscarriage are often cramping, back and/or abdominal pain, bleeding (often heavy)
- Always contact your medical practitioner if these or other symptoms that do not feel normal to you occur
- If you are indeed having a miscarriage, medical practitioners will discuss the correct course of action for you; remember you have the right to the final decision on how to proceed
- Your doctor will let you know when it is best to resume normal activities; it is important to follow their recommendations
- Deciding when to get pregnant again is an important conversation to have with your spouse and your doctor, since recommendations will vary depending on your circumstance
- Most women will have a normal pregnancy and healthy baby after a miscarriage.
The Lord who wept at the death of his friend Lazarus (Jn 11:35), is the same Lord who says, "Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted."
After a Miscarriage: Recovery takes time and patience
It can be difficult to imagine until it happens to you, but grief after a miscarriage is very real and often very painful. You may experience one or more of the following:
- Trouble eating and/or sleeping
- Crying a lot, or not at all
- Many and varied emotions is such as: sadness, anger, resentment
- Angry at, or let down by God
- Confusion; difficulty concentrating and/or completing tasks
Most people who experience a miscarriage also experience one or more of the above grief symptoms. Be patient with yourself.
When you are grieving:
- Turn to your spouse for support and share your feelings - you are both grieving
- Grieve as little or as much as you feel you need; grieving will help you to heal
- Speak to your pastor about having a small blessing or ceremony for your baby; it can be private for just the two of you, or include others
If you are struggling, reach out for support for your grief from family and friends (some of whom may also have experienced a miscarriage), to your doctor, to a priest or deacon, or to one of the groups below.
Where to Find Support:
Grieving Parents Prayer
© Bernadette Zambri (Morning Light Ministry)
I feel unable to pray - I need Your insight in new ways to pray.
I feel abandoned - I need Your warmth.
I feel isolated from You - I need courage to take steps closer to You.
I feel hurt – I need Your Healing.
I feel so sad – I need Your Closeness and Humour.
I feel anger, resentment and bitterness – I need Your Peace.
I feel afraid – I need Your Strength.
I feel anxious – I need Your Patience.
I feel that I can never trust You again – I need to feel Your Love.