News of pregnancy always comes with mixed emotions. For most couples, there is immediate joy, but that joy is also usually mixed with a bit of worry. And this worry isn’t for nothing as, sadly, one in four pregnancies will end in miscarriage.
While miscarriages are all-too-common, it doesn’t make dealing with grief and sadness any easier for anyone involved. It can be very difficult for us to know how to respond to a friend or loved one who has recently experienced a miscarriage.
As a therapist, I have worked with many couples who have experienced a pregnancy loss and I have learned appropriate ways to interact with them during their time of grief.
Understand the Full Picture
The majority of miscarriages happen in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. This is when the baby is referred to as, medically speaking, an “embryo.” To the grieving parents, this is much more than an end to an embryo, it is the death of a son or daughter who they have perhaps been trying so hard to have for many years. There are far too many emotions involved in miscarriage and it’s important to always keep a fuller picture in mind.
Many assigned female at birth (AFAB) people feel guilty after a miscarriage. They assume they have done something wrong. Science doesn’t really understand why miscarriages happen. A female-bodied pregnant person may take excellent care of her health and still experience a miscarriage. It’s important to reassure her that she has done nothing wrong. It’s equally important to let her know that it is okay to grieve.
Remember the Partner
Female-bodied parents-to-be, for obvious reasons, get all of the attention after a miscarriage. But both male and female partners of these AFAB people are hurting as well. Not only have they been hit with the initial loss, but they must also summon extra strength and keep things together while their partner grieves.
If you or a loved one has suffered a miscarriage and would like to speak to someone about your loss and to work through the grieving process, please reach out to me. I would be more than happy to discuss how I may help.