How to Talk about Miscarriage
About 10-15% of pregnancies end in miscarriage, though doctors estimate that this percentage may actually be higher, as it applies only to women who were aware of their pregnancy. Some women can miscarry without ever knowing they were pregnant, simply assuming symptoms relate to an irregular period or spotting. For those who are aware, the emotional challenges are obvious and can’t be underestimated. Adding to the pain of a miscarriage is the sense of feeling alone, as many women tend to not reveal their pregnancies until the third trimester, and most miscarriages occur during the first 20 weeks of pregnancy.
If you or someone you know has recently miscarried, there are things you can keep in mind in the next few weeks and months that can help ease any social discomfort or loneliness:
- The timeline for grief is your own. We’re often too quick to decide when others should be ready to move on from an event that sparks grief, and this includes a miscarriage. It can take women and their partners anywhere from weeks to months to begin to feel the weight of this kind of loss lift even slightly, and this is especially true if a couple has been struggling to grow their family. Please remember that while initial offers of condolence and support are important, it’s also necessary as time moves on to remember anyone who has experienced miscarriage. Continued support and consideration will always be the kind route to take.
- It’s okay to be direct when you’re comfortable doing so. Being open and honest about your loss is entirely your decision. Some may not wish to share their story, and that’s 100% all right. For others, talking about their miscarriage can relieve the burden of grief and sense of being alone. We can only hope for an attentive, compassionate, and sensitive audience, and most family members and friends will be doing their best to meet those expectations.
- Don’t disregard how you feel. No one wants to deal with negative emotions for an extended period of time, and as adults, we can be quite skilled at ignoring and covering over things we don’t want to think about. Losing a baby during pregnancy at a time when you’re probably just starting to make plans and consider telling others is a deep pain that needs to be processed. Everyone’s way of processing grief is different, but figuring out what works best and following through are better than letting pain stew or fester.
If you have questions about miscarriage or are ready to schedule a consultation to address recurrent (repeat) miscarriages, please contact Washington Fertility Center today.