Q&A: Grieving a miscarriage

Q: Is it normal to deeply grieve a miscarriage? My husband and I suffered one, and we’re surprised at how devastating it’s been for us.

A: You’ve just experienced a genuine loss – a deeply meaningful loss. It would be surprising if you didn’t feel as if the rug had been pulled out from under you. 

When a pregnancy ends in miscarriage, a woman and her spouse usually experience a wide variety of turbulent emotions. According to mental health professionals, you may feel guilty, as if the miscarriage were somehow your fault. Your mind may default to denial and cling to the possibility that you’re actually still pregnant. Depression and mood swings are common. Anger can become a mask for grief. Jealousy toward pregnant women or new mothers may be a problem, causing you to withdraw from social contacts. Eventually, you’ll probably experience a combination of these symptoms, spinning through a recurring cycle of grief, shock, denial, anger, depression, detachment, and mental “bargaining” with God.

Whether they’re experienced immediately or at some point later on, the emotional and physiological responses to a miscarriage are the same as those involving any significant loss. As with any loss, it’s important to ride the cycle of grief out to its natural conclusion – that of accepting the reality of the situation. 

For healing to occur, you and your spouse need to give and receive permission to fully grieve. If this doesn’t happen, you can get “stuck” in the denial stage, mired in a morass of depression and repressed emotions. This in turn can have a detrimental effect on your overall spiritual, emotional, and physical health. If you need help working through the cycle of grief, please don’t hesitate to call our Family Support Services at 03-7954 7920 or write to support@family.org.my for a referral.

© 2018 Focus on the Family.  All rights reserved.  Used by permission.

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