A miscarriage, regardless of when it happens, brings inexplicable sadness. Here’s how one can broach the topic of this loss.
Despite the joy that pregnancies can bring about, it can also bring about inexplicable sadness and grief when a miscarriage happens. Here’s a look at how one can approach discussions on a miscarriage, ways to manage the emotions that it comes with, and get ready to try again.
Understanding miscarriage and what causes it
A miscarriage refers to the loss of a pregnancy during the first 23 weeks, and an estimated 1 in 8 pregnancies end in a miscarriage .
This can come about for a variety of reasons, such as the foetus having abnormal chromosomes, placental problems, blood clots, infection and more. It is important to note that the exact cause of a miscarriage is usually difficult to determine, and it is often not something that could have been prevented .
Another form of a loss of a foetus is stillbirth, when a baby is born dead after 24 weeks of pregnancy. Like a miscarraige, not all stillbirths can be prevented and it happens once every 200 births .
As most miscarriages (around 80%) take place in the first trimester, many couples only announce their pregnancy when they’re about 12 weeks pregnant . This also helps to avoid the possibility of having to let everyone know that you’ve had a miscarriage (should it happen).
Why is talking about miscarriage important?
A miscarriage comes with indescribable pain. For most, emotions such as shock, guilt and sadness are also thrown into the mix.
Talking about miscarriage could seem to be a difficult topic to broach, however, it should not be an embarassing topic at all. A miscarriage can happen to any couple, for various reasons or for no reason at all.
For some couples, with friends and family already knowing about the pregnancy, having to share that you’ve had a miscarriage would be an unavoidable topic. Talking about your miscarriage allows you to share your grief with others, to get that weight off your chest. It also gives you the opportunity to process and understand your feelings, steer you on the right track and prevent any strong feelings of depression.
It also helps to provide closure, and acceptance of the loss. This helps to get you better prepared mentally and emotionally, to try for a baby again.
Who can I speak to about my miscarriage?
#1 Family and friends
The pain of losing a child is not yours to bear alone. Besides speaking to your partner who is also hurting inside, you could reach out to your close family and friends — your closest ring of support.
These are the people that you might have told about your pregnancy, and who also know you best. They can provide support in the form of a listening ear, keeping you occupied, or even helping you run errands if you need time to get back on your feet.
#2 Your doctor
Your doctor or gynaecologist is also someone you can rely on. He or she can provide professional advice in terms of the incidence rate, how your body is doing, and perhaps even when you should start trying again.
#3 A counsellor
If you find yourself deep in grief, you could reach out for counselling services. This is especially important if you have strong feelings of sadness or depression. Speaking to a counsellor can help you to understand yourself, your feelings and discover ways to help you cope with this loss .
#4 Support services
You could also tap on the services of websites such as Miscarriage Association, or Sands Australia that are here to provide support and information for those that have gone through a miscarriage, stillbirth or newborn death.
How do you break the news?
Breaking the news will never be easy, and you should only share when you feel ready.
However, letting others know earlier rather than later can help to save you from greater heartache, especially when family and friends ask about how your pregnancy is going, out of concern and without any malice involved.
When breaking the news, try to keep it simple, very matter-of-fact. This means telling others that you had a miscarriage, without going into the details of what happened, how it happened, when exactly it happened, or why it could have happened. This can help to reduce the questions that come your way, regarding the miscarriage. You should also only be sharing information you are comfortable with them knowing, or potentially telling others.
It also doesn’t need to be communicated in person, a text works just fine. This way, you can also decide whether or not to reply to any follow-up questions and comments, at your own time.
Finally, if you can’t bear being the one to break the news, one thing you could do is have your close friend or relative to help relay the news. This does the job of letting others know, while not requiring you to have to go through the heartache over and over, or answer any probing questions.
How does one deal with the loss?
Everyone deals with grief and miscarriage differently. Some might be overwhelmed with sadness, while others might feel guilt, anger or unjust.
Here are some ways that can help you deal with the loss of a child.
#1 Share the weight of the pain with loved ones
Your friends and family will be concerned about your well-being. Instead of shutting them out, you can let others know what you need.
Is it a listening ear? Is it to help you buy groceries? Or is it time and space, to be left alone, that you need?
Also be sure to look out for your partner — you’re in this together. Your partner could be suffering too, whether they show it or not. Leaning on each other could bring you closer together and better prepare for the road ahead.
#2 Talk to others that have walked the same path
Your friends and family might not understand what you’re going through. Instead, you could find comfort in speaking to others who have been through a miscarriage as well, knowing that you’re not in this alone.
Some online support groups and websites include:
- Share Pregnancy and Infant Loss Support
- Helping After Neonatal Death (HAND)
- March of Dimes
- Stillbirth and Neonatal Death Support (Sands)
If you’re not ready to share, you can also find solace in the stories of women that have gone through a miscarriage, such as this article here.
#3 Hold a memorial
In remembrance and honour of your child, you can arrange a memorial service. This can typically be done within the hospital. You can also find miscarriage memorial ideas here.
Like scrapbooking, you could create a book of memories — something to remember your child by. This could be made of photos, and also of words about your feelings and memories in that short period of time.
Penning down your inner thoughts, feelings and experience, could serve as a way for you to find closure.
#5 Looking after your mental health
Be sure to prioritise yourself, as well as your partner. This can be as simple as ensuring you get sufficient rest and nutrition, in order to get back to your healthy self.
You can do activities that help you to relax, such as meditation, yoga, acupuncture or a massage. Some might also find gentle exercising, or picking up a new hobby useful. This can help you to get back to your routine, or start a one .
Preventing a miscarriage
While majority of miscarriages cannot be prevented , there are some things couples can do to reduce the risk of a miscarriage.
These include :
- Avoid smoking, drinking alcohol or using drugs.
- Having a healthy and balanced diet.
- Maintaining a healthy weight.
- Managing and reducing stress.
- Taking folic acid daily, starting at least 1 month before conception.
- Taking extra care to keep your tummy area safe, such as avoiding contact sports.
Moving on, and trying again
There’s always a rainbow after a rain. Despite having a miscarriage, don’t lose hope, as miscarriages can be followed by a healthy and successful pregnancy; with just a small 1% of women having repeated miscarriages .
You can always try for another baby once your period returns, or as soon as 2 weeks after your miscarriage . However, you should first be ready emotionally, mentally and physically; and it would be best to seek the advice of your doctor to see if you are ready to start trying for a child.
If you’re going to try for a baby and are looking to increase your chances of success, you could consider conception tools such as the twoplus Sperm Guide, a fertility product for men and women, to help boost your chances of getting pregnant by helping more sperms reach the egg.