Losing a pregnancy is devastating, and nothing can prepare you for this. In fact, many pregnancies which end in miscarriages or stillbirths seem to be going fine until the tragedy strikes. You may be surprised to learn how many pregnancies end this way: As many as 1 in 4 pregnancies may end in a miscarriage, and about 24,000 stillbirths are reported in the U.S. every year. So, if you lost a baby before he or she was born, know that you are not alone.
After the loss of a pregnancy comes grief - the same grief people experience after losing a loved one of any age. And it's normal to grieve differently. Some people may heal in a few months and start planning another pregnancy. Others need more time to process what has happened, and may feel despondent for much longer.
But know this: The final stage of grief is acceptance. Over time, the pain will subside, and you'll start to get your life back. In the meantime, there are some strategies you can use to cope with the situation.
8 ways to cope with a miscarriage or stillbirth
The following recommendations may help you:
1. Don't blame yourself.
After losing your unborn baby, you may start to blame yourself and wonder if it was something you did that led to the tragic outcome. But the truth is, nature is sometimes cruel without any reason, and what happened isn't anybody's fault. Try to imagine someone else going through the same experience: Should they blame themselves? Of course, no. And you shouldn't blame yourself, too.
2. Know your partner cares.
Don't be angry with your partner if he doesn't seem to be as sad as you are. Men don't grieve the same way women do. Your partner feels the same pain, but he may try to hide it and be strong for you in these trying times. This is the time in your life when you need each other's support most, so be patient with him and let him help you in his own way.
3. Talk to your friends and family members.
It's okay if you don't want to talk about it with anyone at all. But if you feel the need to talk about your feelings, talk to a sympathetic listener, such as a close friend or relative. Don't take offence at their awkward responses or awkward silence. They do want to help; they may just have no idea what to say or do in such situations.
4. Ask someone to help around the house.
You need time to heal, both emotionally and physically, and chores may be too burdensome during this time. Ask your partner, friend, or family member to help with cooking, cleaning, or laundry - they will be happy to do something for you.
5. Take time off work.
Some women choose to return to work as soon as possible to distract themselves from the pain. But if you aren't one of them, and you feel you aren't ready to go back to work, take a leave. Every decent employer allows this, and some even offer a bereavement leave to women who miscarry or have a stillbirth.
6. Join a support group.
Join a group of people who understand exactly what you're going through. Be it an online support group or real-life meetings in your area - choose whatever is convenient for you.
7. Get closure.
There is no single acceptable way to find closure after losing a baby. You may try anything you think will work for you - holding a memorial service, planting a tree in honor of the baby, and writing a farewell letter may help.
8. Take as much time as you need to get pregnant again.
Some women decide not to get pregnant at all, others conceive months after their loss, and others may need years before they are ready. Take time to heal both physically and emotionally, and discuss the matter with your partner whenever YOU are ready.
This article is solely for informational purposes. Do not self-diagnose or self-medicate, and in all cases consult a certified healthcare professional before using any information presented in the article. The editorial board does not guarantee any results and does not bear any responsibility for any harm that may result from using the information provided in the article.