If you have experienced a miscarriage, you understand, on a fundamental level, the grief, sadness, guilt, and depression that can stem from such a devastating experience. The emotional impact of a pregnancy loss almost always takes longer to heal than the physical impact. Allowing yourself to properly grieve the loss of your unborn baby can help you come to terms with your situation in your own time.
When a woman has a miscarriage, she can undergo a roller coaster of emotions, including shock, disbelief, anger, guilt, sadness, depression, inattentiveness, and numbness. The bond between a mother and her baby can be so strong that even if the pregnancy ends very early, the mother will be greatly affected. In fact, most researchers have not been able to find a link between the length of the pregnancy and the intensity of the grief, anxiety, or depression. Therefore, a woman who has lost her baby at 11 weeks may be just as heartbroken and distraught as a woman who lost her baby at 28 weeks. The intensity of grief is not determined by the length of the pregnancy, rather by the emotions of the individual expectant mother. The most notable difference is the way society reacts. Later losses are often more acknowledged with funerals or memorial services. Unfortunately, the anguish of a woman who miscarried early is often less supported.
The tragedy of miscarriage is becoming more understood. Although women tend to mourn this loss alone and in private, research is showing that some women may mourn for much longer than expected--even after giving birth to a healthy child following the miscarriage. A woman who has a miscarriage not only loses her baby, she loses her sense of self, along with her hopes and dreams of the future.
After a miscarriage, some women even experience certain physical symptoms, including fatigue, loss of appetite, insomnia, and frequent bouts of crying. Of course, the hormonal changes that occur following a miscarriage can intensify these symptoms. In addition, women who give birth to a healthy child after having suffered a pregnancy loss are more susceptible to postpartum depression. Therefore, such women are encouraged to seek professional help throughout their subsequent pregnancies and postpartum periods.
Anxiety and depression can be extremely common after a pregnancy loss. Anxiety, in particular, can completely take over a woman’s life after she has faced such a tragic loss. The anxiety stems from the sudden and inexplicable trauma, and it can cause a woman to spend enormous amounts of energy trying to find answers as to why it happened. She will usually blame herself and get stuck in thoughts of preventing future tragedies as she goes through the process of making sense of it. This type of torment and self-blame can be very difficult to endure, and it is important for women to reach out for support.
A miscarriage is a traumatic loss that needs to be validated and grieved. After all, no one else knows what it felt like to have your baby inside of you. The healing process is imperative, and psychotherapy is an important part of that process. Contact me today to schedule an appointment in my Longmont or Boulder, CO office.