One in three women will experience pregnancy loss. This is a staggering number. Sadly, most of these women will experience a miscarriage, late miscarriage (sometimes called a demise by doctors), or stillbirth without any support. They will be alone, emotionally and physically. But it doesn’t have to be this way.
If this is your experience, we are sorry for your loss.
Often, women are not given enough information about what their loss is going to feel like or look like. In many cases—except for very early miscarriages—the process of the loss resembles labor and delivery. A loss is still a birth. Your body has to recover. Decisions have to be made. There may be a baby to bury. No woman should ever feel like she has to navigate this difficult road alone.
It is OK to ask for support! It is OK to need a friend or family member, or a trained professional like a bereavement doula, to attend to you and help you understand what is happening to your body and to your reality. You have the right to ask your doctor or midwife for information. You have the right to understand your options with regard to how you heal and how you complete the natural process of the loss once it has begun. You have the right to decide how you want to emotionally heal.
Some mothers feel that they aren’t really mothers if their pregnancy ends in a loss. They feel that they shouldn’t feel sad. It is healthy and normal to feel sad. If you do, it is OK. It’s OK to miss your baby. It’s OK to need some time to heal emotionally. It is important to know that your baby and your experience matter. It is OK to talk about what you experienced, and it is OK to talk about your baby. Some women take comfort in finding a way to honor their baby as part of their family. Some prefer to be a little more private.
Sometimes, especially if the loss was very early, women may not feel very sad or may even feel numb or apathetic. This is OK, too. This is normal, particularly if you didn’t know you were pregnant until the miscarriage began. Be gentle with yourself as your body heals.
Pregnancy loss comes in many forms. It can be shocking, sad, dramatic, or anticlimactic. Any of these experiences is normal. What is important is for you to know that your loss does not have to be experienced in isolation, without support, knowledge, or information. No woman should have to navigate loss alone, and it is OK to reach out for support.
By Laura Ricketts