On the path to living a more fullfilling life, once must grapple with unexpected tragedies. This post explores the complicated process of coping with miscarriages.
When individuals or couples experience a miscarriage, they often undervalue the weight of loss and do not expect to undergo the process of grief. All too often there is a sense of shame or even guilt that surrounds miscarriages that prevents couples from reaching out and getting the support of loved ones that traditionally comes with loss. This cause many couples to face the grieving process in isolation, often struggling to support each other through the grief.
When tackling the issue of miscarriages it is important that the individual or couple obtain the support of loved ones. If one is finding it difficult to reach out, this may contribute to experiencing unchallenged distortions around unrealistic responsibility, blame, and/or the use of this event to define respective gender roles ( as a woman I have failed, as a man I am unable to care for my wife and protect my child, how can we be a family without a child).
Unfortunately these false distortions are common and often lead to feelings of shame and guilt that may further contribute to isolation and/or not reaching out to your partner in a couple.
When couples are not prepared for the experience of grief, the feelings are even more overwhelming, and attempts can be made to suppress the necessary grieving process.
When individuals or couples are not prepared for the experience of grief, the feelings are even more overwhelming, and attempts can be made to suppress the necessary grieving process. It is natural and vital for each individual in the couple to allow themselves to go through the stages of grief.
Elisabeth Kubler-Ross developed a grief model that had held the test of time. After a miscarriage expect to experience Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and Acceptance. This model is not linear, and one may jump back and forth among the stages before they are resolved.
If symptoms of grief persist for more than three months, if you find the process of grief too overwhelming, or if the couple is having difficulty supporting each other through this, psychotherapy with a licensed clinician should be considered to help the individual and/or the couple work through this experience.