Five Stages Of Miscarriage Grief

No woman begins her pregnancy with the thought of not completing it, at least not initially. Sometimes a miscarriage can happen spontaneously, and sometimes the information is given to a woman by her doctor that the pregnancy will be lost. Normal emotions can run the gamut from shock or anger to profound sadness and feeling numb. Every person is entitled to their own feelings-they are valid.

Until the body recovers, hormones that are freefalling can create an overwhelming sense of grief. However, once there has been a menstruation, the hormones settle down again and the emotions are more stable.

Grieving Is A Natural And Necessary Function

In her book "On Death and Dying," psychiatrist Elisabeth Kubler-Ross wrote about grieving in five stages. Women who have lost a baby to miscarriage experience grief in much the same progression as is written about. Some will go through all of the five stages in order; others will go through some of them and still others may experience all of them in a totally different order. Again, the experience is as individual as the person.

Denial And Isolation-Leave Me Alone!

Denial and isolation is the first step. When the woman has been advised she is miscarrying, she may hold hope that the doctor is wrong. If symptoms of a miscarriage are evident, a woman may find herself researching on the net to see if, indeed, these symptoms are accurate or if there's some other possibility. A woman may not want to see anyone-partner included. She may hide out in her home and refuse to answer the phone, emails or the door. She may not go to work and social interaction may leave her totally exhausted.

It's All My Fault, Or, It's All Their Fault

Then anger sets in as she looks for someone to blame for the miscarriage. The doctor often gets the finger for not spotting the signs sooner and not doing something to prevent the loss. Even though miscarriage is rarely anyone's fault, a woman may try to fault her partner or blame herself. Friends and family may make a woman feel anger because the things they say seem insensitive and hurtful. The truth often is that friends and family want to support and help. They don't mean to be hurtful.

Okay, If You're Up There, I Promise...

The loss of a pregnancy can drive a woman to make bargains and promises to themselves and to a higher power asking for another pregnancy without threat of miscarriage. Or, she may do endless research on how to avoid miscarriage, how to lead a healthier lifestyle or she may use recommended tactics to minimize another loss. Most often, a miscarriage is not caused by anything the woman has done and there can be an unrealistic expectation when looking for a "miracle cure."

I Guess I'll Never Be Good Enough To Be A Mother

Depression causes a woman to wonder if she'll ever get pregnant again. Thoughts of being punished because she's just not good enough to be a mother may drive a woman into a deep emotional hole. If efforts to conceive again are slow to produce results, anxiety and fear may take over and just seeing babies or a pregnant woman can cause depression.

Life Goes On

Finally a woman comes to a place of acceptance. The pain and loss is there and will remain, but life can go on. Feelings of sadness will become less acute over time although many women don't reach this stage until they've given birth to another child.


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