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Even though it is the most common type of pregnancy loss, women still want to know how to grieve after a miscarriage. When a miscarriage occurs, women normally has an array of feelings, from sadness to downright anger. However, because the loss happens so early in a pregnancy, her developing infant may not be acknowledged as a child. Therefore she doesn't always feel justified in grieving.
Miscarriage: A Silent Grief
A miscarriage is the death of a baby before the 20th week of development. Research shows that as much as half of all pregnancies end in miscarriage, many times even before women realize they're pregnant. However, for those who did test positive, that figure drops to 15 percent. More than 80 percent of miscarriages are within the first trimester, and only 50 percent have identifiable causes.
Because of so much uncertainty as to why the baby died in utero, many women are left wondering, "Why?" You are grieving because you feel your body failed, but also because the dreams you had died along with the unborn baby.
Unfortunately, many women faced with this type of loss mourn alone, hence the term, "silent grief." They are faced with the fact that there is no baby to bury, and many times, no physical evidence that their child had lived, except for maybe an ultrasound picture. This lack of tangible affirmation often minimizes the loss to others.
About Miscarriage Grief
When a child dies, funerals or memorial services are usually held to remember that young one's life. However, when a woman has a miscarriage, those events normally don't take place. Instead, she is either left alone with her thoughts or shares them with close family and friends, carefully waiting on their reactions. If those around her acknowledge the loss as a "real" one, only then will she be able to grieve and start the healing process. If not, she may never truly mourn the loss of her unborn child.
Once a woman accepts her miscarriage, grief -- no matter what the form -- will naturally occur. Remember, not everyone grieves the same way, and there is no right or wrong way to assert it. A woman expressing miscarriage grief may:
Want to be alone
Avoid pregnant women
Throw herself into work
Hold her belly as if the baby were still there
Become extra protective of her living children
Not want to talk about it
Want to talk about it
Avoid social situations
Spend a lot of time searching for answers as to why the miscarriage happened
They key thing every woman who suffers a miscarriage should realize is that even though she may feel like her world has been turned upside down, it really hasn't. She can and will survive this loss and be able to move on with her life and even be happy again.
How to Grieve After a Miscarriage
There are many positive things you can do to cope with your miscarriage grief and finally receive some closure.
Give Your Child an Identity
Because miscarriages happen so early in a pregnancy, the gender of the child usually goes undetermined, and the parents are unable to properly name or identify with him or her. You can still name the baby. A simple unisex name such as Avery, Alex, Chris or Drew, can be used. Parents may also decide to give the child a fetal nickname instead such as Peanut, Squirt, Wiggle Worm or Bean. Either way, it's important that the child have an identity with which you -- and those close to you -- can associate.
Remember Important Dates
Any woman can tell you there are a lot of dates to remember when you get pregnant. Everything from the day of your last menstrual period to your due date is etched in your brain. After a miscarriage, you will have another date to add to that list: The approximate day your baby died. This can be the day you miscarried or even just the date when it was determined the heart stopped beating. It's up to you to decide what those times are.
Your original due date will always play a role when thinking about your unborn child. Months after your loss, that date will probably sneak up on you, and even though you may think you are over your miscarriage grief, this will be a hard day. Plan appropriately. Take the day off work and have a special day with your family doing things that remind you of the child. Go to the zoo, the beach or just take a long walk. These things can also be done on the anniversary date of your loss. They are simple and special.
Join a Support Group
If you feel like you need to get a better understanding on how to grieve after a miscarriage, you can always join a support group. Check with your local hospital's health services department or its equivalent. Many do have a type of perinatal support group for those who lost a child to miscarriage, stillbirth or infant death. If you don't feel comfortable sharing with others in person about your loss, you can always turn to the Internet (that's us)
A Final Note
Grieving a loss through miscarriage may not be as intense as a loss of a child at an older age, but it is painful nonetheless, and should be treated as such. Miscarriage grief should not be underestimated. The bottom line is a mother lost her baby and will grieve all that should have been. Like all bereaved persons, she should be given that time to mourn.