You’re still in a state of shock, consumed by the darkness, the sadness. You’re angry, longing for what was, what could have been.
Imagining how to go on after losing a pregnancy or an infant may be incomprehensible. This is likely one of the most emotionally devastating things you’ve ever experienced. Your friends, family and even your partner may not know how to embrace or support you.
Whether you’ve had one miscarriage or multiple losses, it can be a consuming process – physically and emotionally. There’s the immediate shock, then sadness, anger and longing. You may feel stuck, wondering how or why this has happened, out of control and incredibly vulnerable. Worry may cloud your next steps, as you try again, or search for answers. It’s not uncommon to feel defective, angry and jealous, or hopeless as people around you become pregnant, have babies and go on with their lives.
You may feel anger or guilt, have traumatic memories and/or even sweet remembrances. These emotions and memories deserve attention and care.
These are some emotional experiences that are common to women and their partners following the loss of a baby that you might be able to relate to:
- Waves of unexpected and overwhelming emotions
- Tension in relationships
- Persistent feelings of guilt and unrelenting “what if…” thoughts
- Difficulty explaining the loss to your older children
- Overwhelming numbness
- Fears and ambivalence about subsequent pregnancies
- A sense of emptiness and despair about ever having a healthy baby
- Conflict with your partner about plans for another pregnancy
- Lingering emotions of your losses that affect your subsequent pregnancy
- Grief that develops into relentless and debilitating depression
- Existential and spiritual crisis that colors your world view
Although how you feel about miscarriage or stillbirth may heal with time, research shows that early psychological intervention can effectively decrease emotional distress, depression and anxiety in the first year after miscarriage or stillbirth. If you are suffering, the sooner you seek help the sooner you will feel better.