- What is a miscarriage
What Is a Miscarriage
When a pregnancy ends unexpectedly before 20 weeks, it is considered a miscarriage. This occurs in 10 to 20% of all pregnancies.
Because the medical world often does not understand the reasons for miscarriage, many woman never really know why their pregnancy came to an end. However, for about half of all miscarriages, one common cause is that the embryo receives an abnormal number of chromosomes from the egg or sperm.
Common symptoms of a miscarriage include, cramps, lower back pain, bleeding and the release of fluid and/or tissue.
If all of the fetal tissue has not left the body by itself, medication or a surgical procedure known as « curettage » can be offered by the medical team.
In addition to those physical symptoms, losing a pregnancy can trigger a range of emotions and the loss can be experienced deeply. This emotions are perfectly valide and have to be acknowledged.
After a miscarriage, it is normal to experience emotional distress. The fact that the loss often stays unexplained can create anxiety, self-doubt and the sensation of being betrayed by one’s own body. In addition, a sens of mistrust and fear at the idea of getting pregnant again can emerge.
Since it is easier to accept a loss when there is some sort of explanation for it, many women tend to blame themselves for the loss and believe that they could have done something different in order to prevent the miscarriage to occur. However, it’s important to avoid blaming yourself and to realize that when an embryo is livable and the mother does not have any specific health issues, eating a chocolat bar or drinking a cup of coffee do not result in a miscarriage.
Accepting that there is nothing you could have done to prevent your pregnancy from ending can be extremely difficult but it is also step towards healing.
Loosing a pregnancy can create a strong sense of grief and feelings such as shame, failure, loneliness and guilt can emerge. Depression and anxiety are also common after a miscarriage.
One of the reasons for that is that when a pregnancy is discovered, future parents start envisioning their life with this future child. Couples sometimes start thinking of a name for the baby or imagining their house with a baby. Letting go of those hopes and expectations can be extremely painful.
This emotional distress can be amplified by the lake of explanation for the loss and can sometimes lead to self-doubt, anxiety and the feeling of being betrayed by one’s own body.
What makes it even worse, is that despite its prevalence, pregnancy loss is often experienced in silence. However, talking about this event can be extremely helpful.
Even if you have to be explicite about the kind of support you might need from your loved ones, it can contribute to release the feelings of grief and loneliness.
First of all, there is no such thing as an average mourning time when it comes to pregnancy loss. It can take a few days, weeks, months or years. It’s also important to keep in mind that feelings may come and go or even change over time which is very normal.
Acknowledging and talking about your loss is essential in order to heal from this physical and emotional experience. It is therefore crucial to reach out for support during this time. Opening up to family and friends can help release grief and loneliness even if it means guiding them as to the response and support you need from them so don’t be afraid to be explicite.
Another valuable ressource is to connect to a community who understands what you are going through, such as a support group. This will help you relate to others stories and feelings while preventing you from isolating yourself.
Healing from a miscarriage can be a difficult and heart-wrenching path, so don’t hesitate to reach out and find support. Most importantly, be kind to yourself and give yourself the time you need to grief your loss.