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What Does "Grieving" a Miscarriage Mean?

Posted by on Jul. 1, 2014 at 2:54 PM
  • 10 Replies
3 moms liked this

For those of you who may be asking yourself that, for those who may be asking (or who have asked) yourself if what you're feeling is "right" or "normal," for those who may be wondering why certain thoughts not typical for you are raging through your mind and heart, I offer this:


1. Denial and Isolation: Our minds chant, "This isn't happening to me," and, "Maybe the doctor is wrong." We question whether the ultrasound tech got the imaging right. We wonder if lab results were off. We start doing loads of research (often online) to find information and explanations that can negate what's happening.

At this point, we often don't want to be around people (in person). This is why, I think, our support group is so wonderful. We get to be with each other yet also have the alone time we need as we grieve.

2. Anger:  This is when we assign blame. ("If only the doctor or clinic saw me sooner, they could've done something!"). We get angry at others and ourselves for not being able to prevent our loss. Guilt factors in here ("Why did I have that cocktail/eat that/take that medication/exercise so much/let myself get stressed/carry that heavy package/stand too close to the microwave?"--etc.). At this point, we may also get angry at others for comments that are [even unintentionally] insensitive ("You can always try again"; "It just wasn't meant to be"; "This is nature's/God's way of saying something was terribly wrong with your baby"). You may get upset with your SO for seeming not to feel as much pain as you do. You may resent other women who are pregnant--and get especially upset by those women who are pregnant or who are mothers and don't seem worthy of being so.

3. Bargaining: At this point, you may bargain with a higher power that you will somehow do or be "better" if you get pregnant again quickly. And you may find yourself obsessively doing research (often online again, though you may also be searching books and calling medical professionals) to find a way to stave off miscarriage/be more fertile/get pregnant faster. Though it's VERY HARD, at this point, we all need to try to remember that our miscarriages are not our faults and (sadly) often not preventable. There is no bargain to be made. We cannot typically control this.

4. Depression: You may despair that you will never have a baby.  Those who are not yet mothers may despair that they aren't meant to be mothers. They may believe that they are being punished or are somehow unworthy of motherhood. Those for whom conceiving again takes a while will despair that it will never happen. Those who do get pregnant again quickly will be riddled with anxiety and despair that another miscarriage is imminent. This is also the stage when being around pregnant women, babies, baby items, virtually any reminder of a baby or your angel baby (such as anniversaries) will be like a knife to your heart. You may have a hard time watching scenes in TV shows and movies--even seeing certain images in magazines--that represent babies and motherhood. You may find that you cannot attend baby showers or baby/toddler/children's birthday parties.

5. Acceptance: At some point, the raw pain of miscarriage will not be with you. You will never forget your loss, nor will the pain--or the memory of the pain--ever go completely away. But you do heal, accept, and continue on in your life. Miraculously, you will smile, laugh, and feel joy again.

I tend to liken the healing you go through after miscarriage to that of a serious physical wound. For a while, your wound is open, fresh, raw, and oozing. Any movement hurts. NOT moving hurts. It hurts just to be. And, when you try to rest, when you try to escape in sleep, you still feel pain. You can't function normally. You favor that wound and you think the pain will never go away. It feels like you should die of the pain (and you marvel that you haven't yet).

After a time, your wound begins to close. It may scab over. It still hurts--and, when jostled (by a memory, an activity, a reminder), it may open up. You have moments when it feels like that wound is fresh, but you have increasingly more moments when that wound doesn't wrack you with pain. You start to function more normally.

Later, your wound closes. But you have a scar. You will look at that scar quite a bit (especially on anniversaries or when something triggers your memory and you have a flashback)--but, in time, you will be occupied with it less and less. It becomes a part of you. You always know it is there. You always know why it is there and what it represents. But you do not stare at it or think about it and cry every moment in remembered pain.

Just like with physical wounds, what helps us to heal our emotional wounds is caring for them. Talk, when you need to. Cry, when you need to. Finding support--here, with us, and/or with family, friends, medical professionals, the clergy, counselors/therapists--is essential. Finding ways to honor your baby can be healing. Resting (and allowing others to care for you) is important.

Ignoring any wound can lead to it festering. We cannot will our pain away or ignore it away. (This is not the boogie man. We cannot hide under the covers and wait for the light of dawn to make everything better.) We need to take care of our wounds. And we need to recognize that healing takes time. Healing takes energy. And we will bear scars from our losses. We cannot bounce back and be the same old women a day/week/month after our losses. We are forever changed. But WE WILL BE OKAY.

Give yourself time to work through the stages of grief. Know that what you are feeling is normal. And know that it will not last forever. By grieving now, you will help yourself to heal and give yourself the gift of hope and a brighter, lighter future.

by on Jul. 1, 2014 at 2:54 PM
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Replies (1-10):
by on Jul. 2, 2014 at 7:29 AM
1 mom liked this
Thanks Jenn. I think I experienced the Blame phase. Blamed myself, I'm over that...I still feel the doctors were negligent. And I've experienced the acceptance phase. Thankfully although I still feel heartache over the last two years, and my losses....I'm in a much more peaceful place.

This grief is exhausting!
by Danielle on Jul. 2, 2014 at 10:20 AM
This describes it to a tee! Thanks for sharing!
by Bronze Member on Jul. 2, 2014 at 8:59 PM

yep perfect. thanks for sharing

by Desiree-admin on Jul. 3, 2014 at 9:05 AM

Thank you for posting this. I think it is important to know this as almost everyone goes through it and this shoes them it's okay to feel that and they are not alone. 

by on Jul. 26, 2014 at 9:34 PM
This time, I think acceptance came before bargaining and depression. I'm dealing with that bargaining and depression right now, actually. It's been 8 months, and this is my second miscarriage. The first time, things definitely came in the order listed in the original post. Thanks for sharing this. I think it's nice to have informative pieces that let you know you aren't alone or weird in what you 're going through.
by on Aug. 7, 2014 at 4:04 PM
1 mom liked this

How long is it suppose to last?

by on Aug. 20, 2014 at 2:55 PM

I miscarriaged four days ago at age 48 it is tiring all around sooo many emontions and Im trying to get back to me but it takes time. Im too old to be pregnant. the disbelief, the comments have been unreal when all need is a Hug and to cry. All I want to do is hide in my apt and rest but I live alone and Ive slowly went back to work in homecare but its ROUGH!!!!!! Will I feel like me again

by Danielle on Aug. 20, 2014 at 6:55 PM
Describes it to a tee. Thank you for sharing!
by on Sep. 10, 2014 at 4:29 PM

my husband and i just lost a baby about 3 weeks ago and it still bothers me not only caus we have been trying since may but because i feel like its my fault i seen an old friend i didnt do anything wrong but at the time my huusband was neglecting to pay me anymind and i feel inside god did this cause of what i did and i dont no hoe to over vcome this i have had a miscarriage in the past and it never bothered nme this bad i feel like its all my fauly maybe if i came home that night then the baby would be alive today how do i get over this i feel like the biggest faliure

by on Sep. 10, 2014 at 4:30 PM


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