There are no words to describe the feelings women and their partners experience after getting pregnant and having a miscarriage. After a miscarriage, people can feel anger, grief, devastation, depression, or a tornado of feelings all at once. Always remember there isn’t a book of rules to follow that tells you how you should feel after a miscarriage.
Unfortunately, stigmas around miscarriages tend to silence women. An article published by the World Health Organization states, “Women still face enormous stigma and shame when they lose a baby, and they are often not encouraged to talk about their experience and loss. This can lead to isolation and disconnection, even from their partners and close family, and means that women end up trapped in their own personal grief. Such compounded pain is unacceptable.”
The reality of miscarriages is that it happens a lot more often than we all think.
“It is estimated that as many as 26 percent of all pregnancies end in miscarriages…” states the National Library of Medicine (NIH).
Why Do Miscarriages Happen?
Miscarriages can occur for several reasons, including structural problems. When a baby is forming, the construction of the vital organs is very important. Yet, if there’s an error on the cellular level, it can lead to a miscarriage. Another reason miscarriages happen is because of chromosomal abnormalities.
“We start as one cell that multiplies millions and millions of times, and during those very critical first multiplication of cells, if any of the chromosomes misaligned, you can have really significant chromosomal problems down the road. Our body recognizes those as incompatible with life and will lead to a miscarriage,” states Dr. Beth Carewe, an OB/GYN Physician at HealthOne.
Women who have had a previous miscarriage can still become pregnant and deliver a healthy baby. After a miscarriage, a woman’s menstrual cycle and body is ready for another baby, the physical and psychological effect of a miscarriage can still be present.
“I always say that when you’ve had your cycles returned, and they’re regular, that’s your body telling you that it’s physically ready for another pregnancy. But that does not mean that you have to be emotionally or mentally ready to dive back in,” Dr. Carewe says. “A lot of times that grief, work, and processing the loss with your partner and deciding when you’re ready to jump back in can be longer than it takes your body to hormonally flip that switch and be back on track.”
Dealing with a Miscarriage
“It sounds simple, but I tell patients the only way through this is through it. You have to kind of feel all of the feelings and work through the grief, or else, it just sits there,” Dr. Carewe says. Her advice for women who are struggling with a miscarriage is to communicate. “Being open to talking about pregnancy loss, whether it’s with a partner or with a family member or a provider.”
All feelings are valid no matter how far along the pregnancy was because there’s a loss at every stage. “No loss is more significant or more important than others when it’s happening to you,” Dr. Carewe adds.
A critical piece when you’re becoming pregnant after having a miscarriage is communicating with your partner and making sure that you’re both ready to try again.
“I think sometimes partners get left out a little bit of the conversation, but it’s a loss for that partner as well,” Dr. Carewe says. “Depending on the partner balance, grief can look really different between any two people regardless of their sex or gender. We all grieve in a really different way, and making sure that everyone’s made it through that kind of grief process is really important.”
Trying Again After a Miscarriage
“It’s always going to be nerve-racking having a pregnancy after a miscarriage. If you’re not sure in those first couple of weeks if everything is developing normally, it just intensifies that anxiety,” Dr. Carewe says.
Getting pregnant after a miscarriage, there will likely be anxiety during the next pregnancy, especially when the pregnancy gets to the point where the first miscarriage took place. Dr. Carewe adds, “Sometimes it’s just about the nonmedical things. The psychological support and the reassurance aspect is really important for those couples.”
Dr. Carewe states that after a single miscarriage, the chances of having a successful pregnancy are as high as 75-85 percent. “It’s something we watch very closely, but it’s not going to significantly increase risk for that to happen again. In fact, there are very good chances that women will experience a successful pregnancy.”
According to USC Fertility, “Two percent of pregnant women experience two pregnancy losses in a row, and only about 1 percent have three consecutive pregnancy losses.”
Becoming pregnant again, women have struggled with bonding with that next pregnancy and getting their hearts invested. This struggle tends to end once the patient knows the baby and pregnancy are okay.
Before trying again, consider establishing a relationship with your physician because it can be an important part of your physical well-being, and they can guide you through the next pregnancy. Physicians can also provide you with tips on what your diet and lifestyle should look like.
The conversation about starting a family doesn’t need to end with a miscarriage. Women can still become pregnant and give birth to a beautiful and healthy baby when they are emotionally ready. When it comes to miscarriages, the only thing that needs to end is the stigmas that are silencing our future mothers.