13 Things You Should Know About Grief After Miscarriage or Baby Loss

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loss of a babyTrigger warning: The following post is one which discusses pre-term and neonatal loss and the process that many women and families go through when they have lost a baby.  If you are feeling vulnerable at this time and this post does not speak to your experience, consider not reading it as it may cause you distress at a time when you are trying to regain strength. Losing a baby though miscarriage, elective termination, stillbirth, childbirth, after a NICU stay, SIDS, or any other time is, without a doubt, one of the most difficult experiences that a parent will ever endure.  There are no words to explain the depth of despair that a parent goes through when attempting to understand the shift that occurs when all hopes and expectations suddenly drop out from underneath anything stable. It is an experience that many will never need to make sense of and also one that many others will swim through unexpectedly.  It is tragic and drastic and totally and completely unfair and yet thousands upon thousands of families find themselves in this position each year. Here is what we know:

  • Approximately 15-20% of confirmed pregnancies end in miscarriage
  • In the US, the rate of stillbirth is documented as 1 in 160-200 pregnancies
  • In the US, the rates of SIDS affects between 5,000-7,000 infants every year
  • In the US, approximately 11,300 infants die within 24 hours of their birth each year

I give these statistics not to scare you, but because it is important for those mothers who have lost their children to know that they are not alone; to know that there are many others out there who are needing to navigate this loss too. I have worked with countless women in my office as they try to manage the unfamiliar emotions that surround loss, and I have learned a great deal from these phenomenal moms.  I also have a dear friend and colleague who lost her daughter hours after birth and she, too, has honored me with her insight, pain, and eventual healing.  With the information gathered from both my clients and my dear friend (who is now a clinician in San Francisco specializing in perinatal loss), this post today is written for all of the moms out there who are trying to navigate the unfamiliar postpartum experience while also grieving the loss of a child that never made it home or past that first year mark.  For these moms, postpartum distress is complicated by the process of grief, and sometimes it is hard to make sense of what goes where in this unimaginable puzzle. So, if you are one of these women, here is what I want you to know:

  1. Some women who lose babies through miscarriage are able to move through this loss freely, while others feel deep despair at this loss.  There are no “shoulds” in this.  No right way to feel.  If you feel strong and grounded and ready to move forward after a miscarriage that is totally valid.  If you feel deep loss and grief then that, too, is appropriate.  No one gets to tell you how you feel except you.
  2. Any time a body goes from being pregnant to not being pregnant, there is a significant shift in hormones that can affect brain chemistry.  Postpartum depression, anxiety, and other mood disorders can affect a mom regardless of the point at which a baby is delivered.  You are likely in a position where you need to process through grief while also having a vulnerable brain chemistry.  This can make the experience of healing feel impossible for many.
  3. Grief is a normal process and includes a shifting of emotions such as denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.   Grief felt after the loss of a baby is not necessarily depression and while there may be some overlap, it should not be treated as such.  If you feel angry one day and dissociated from your loss the next, this is normal.
  4. If you are not aware of a shifting through the stages of grief and continue to feel debilitated by your suffering, there may be an element of clinical depression or anxiety that needs to be addressed.  “Healthy” grief moves, but sometimes it can develop into relentless depression that requires more specific treatment.  Many moms will experience depression that includes feelings of guilt, shame, self-doubt and sometimes suicidal ideation.  Regaining a sense of self, hope, and trust is important to one’s healing after a loss such as this.
  5. Identity shifting is a huge piece of the postpartum experience for every new parent, and yet moms who lose their babies are not able to show the world their mother-ness.  If you feel like a mom, and yet are not able to participate in the experiences that the mothers around you are included in, know that this is a shared experience and that, whether or not the world can see this, we value you as a mother too.
  6. Loss can often beget feelings of loss.  Many women who lose their babies become suddenly afraid of losing everything else, be it their sanity, other relationships important to them, their faith in the world, or any hope for the future.  Many, many women who go through this loss feel a deep need to grab onto other things in their life for fear of losing those, too.  If this is happening to you, let those close to you know.
  7. Relationships with spouse/partner, family, and friends will be impacted by your loss.  It is important to be aware of the tendency to isolate during this time.  Receiving appropriate support will be imperative in your healing and there may be work to do in relearning your relationships given this new reality.  If you are unable to get the support that you need from loved ones, reach out to a therapist who can help.
  8. While you desperately want your spouse/partner to understand what you are going through, he/she may not.  People grieve differently.  Often, losing a baby is a very different experience for a birth mother than it is for her partner, as she was the one who felt the development of this baby and feels, still, the physical loss as her body adjusts to no longer being pregnant.  Give space for your own process as well as your partner’s.
  9. You are likely to learn who your truest friends are during this time.  Some people’s insecurities and fears around loss and tragedy may interfere with their ability to be there for you.  It is entirely appropriate for you to spend time with those who are able to give you what you need, and to take distance from those who do not.
  10. It is normal to feel triggered into sadness and despair when you least expect it.  You may find reminders in the places where you least intend them to be.  Seeing other pregnant women, babies, holidays and anniversaries, playgrounds, doctor’s offices, advertisements for baby-related items, may bring you to tears even when you feel strong.  This is normal.
  11. People don’t always know what to say.  Many of you will want desperately to talk about your babies, to bring them to life through your words and memories, to make room for them in conversation and in your experiences.  Some people will worry that bringing your baby and your loss in conversation will be upsetting to you.  It is helpful to let the people in your life know what you need.
  12. Just because you are ready to feel whole again, are healing, and may decide to have more children, this does not mean that the baby who you lost is forgotten.  Regaining strength does not mean that you have “moved on” and will no longer think of what might have been.  Your pregnancy and your baby will always be a part of you.  However, you deserve to be well and the feeling that you must keep grieving in order to stay faithful to your baby will not serve you.  Finding a way to honor your pregnancy or your baby through ritual or event is often a lovely way of incorporating that being into your life as you move forward.
  13. And finally, find others who have experienced something similar.  As mentioned so many times on this blog, community is imperative and I am certain that there are others out there who can offer you the kind of solace, strength, and integrity that you will need as you continue to heal.

~ Kate Kripke, LCSW You might also like: The Blurred Lines Between Depression and Grief After a Loss written by Jessica Watson, a mom who has been through perinatal loss

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  1. Thank you for this today. I have suffered two miscarriages and I never grieved them properly. I blew them off because I didn’t want the pity (in fact, no one but my husband knew about the 2nd one until we got pregnant with my son). It’s hard to talk about and have people understand.

  2. wish I’d had some of this info back in the 90’s. Had 4 losses, two in first trimester, two IUFD’s @19 wks. Clinical depression for 18 mo. and had 3 littles to care for. Learned some of these the hard way; now stay on the look-out for others going through a loss.

  3. Thank you Katie for this post. And Kathrine, thank you for your efforts to continually help baby loss moms. You do such a good job of recognizing the similarities and stark differences between PPD and baby loss, honoring those differences and helping. I’m continually impressed and proud to know you.

  4. This is such helpful and reassuring advice. I’ve just come home from hospital after an awful 10 days that ended in 2x unsuccessful medically managed treatments & emergency surgery at 11.5 weeks. I’m a mess right now & awful images that I’ve seen fill my head when I try to sleep. I’ve been worrying about the fragility of life & losing the rest of my family, so point 6 makes me feel like I’m not going crazy. Thanks so much for posting this.

    • My husband never gave me the time to grieve after my miscarriage. He showed very little concern or compassion. It has pretty much ruined our relationship. I lost my baby over 9 years ago and his tratment of me during that time will never be forgotten. You’re right. It’s so, so hard. I wish you well and will say a prayer for you.

    • I also upset that I was very sad after having the misscarriage. It seemed as if the baby’s father didn’t care. He said he was sad but I think he just said it because I am so sad. He never shed a tear, but I cried till I had no tears left. I too feel alone and angry.

  5. Thank you for using gender neutral language in this post and allowing it to speak to all couples experiencing this loss. There are so many posts on miscarriage out there that have made me feel isolated the moment they mentioned how my ‘husband’ could be feeling.

    • Thank you for saying that Brandi. We really try to make sure we talk about spouses and partners. Husbands and partners. Whatever. If you see us doing differently, let us know ASAP so we can fix it!! It’s important to us that all moms feel welcome and supported here.

      • Thanks a lo for this. Had a miscarriage in 2005 at 20weeks, in 2013 february lost my beautiful angel lydia 16hrs after she was born at 32wks. We. Broke up with my partner recently coz our grieving was soo different we couldnt communicate. He shut himself in a cocoon and i was too emotional and crying a lo of times we would try to talk. He just went quiet.

        • My husband and I miscarried 2 yrs ago then a year later to the day preg again..she only lived 26 days its been a month since she past..we have 4 boys so we were so excited..my husband as well has shut down or gets angry out of nowhere and takes it out on me..I cry and blame myself everyday when I talk to him he just gets so mad at me…at first we were on the right spiritual path knowing God needed both our girls but now its going deeper down hill everyday..I dont know what to do…

    • I think I am still trying to come to terms with my miscarriage two years ago at 16 weeks. I had 1 year old at the time who is now 3 and I was extremely lucky to fall pregnant again and now have a gorgeous little 1 year old. Even though I know we are extremely lucky I won’t let myself forget what happened and think about what could have been quite a lot and I do feel like I’m punishing myself yet at the same time trying my best not to remember what happened I didn’t let myself grieve and I’m worried this could be a cause of my up and down mood swings x

  6. Thank you for this, it was exactly what I needed today, particularly #12. I had a miscarriage recently and have felt such deep sadness and despair. The last several days I have begun to feel more positive and upbeat but anytime I start feel as though the sadness is easing and I think about trying to get pregnant again, I also feel guilty for “moving forward” as if I am forgetting our baby. #12 spoke directly to me and the article as a whole was so helpful. I hope more people who are coping come across this post.

  7. Wow. Great article. It helps to know that the things that I have gone through (and am going through now) are normal. I’ve recently suffered 2 m/c (Sept 2013 & Jan 2014), the last one ending in a very intense ER stay. While I am healing and feeling more peace every day, I am SERIOUSLY struggling with #6 & #10. I am having panic attacks and have felt very terrified of any harm coming to my husband, daughter, myself and other loved ones. I often cannot sleep at night, laying awake in a terrible panicked fear of death and loss. Much of the time I am ok….but other times, I just feel this terrible sadness. I’ve always been very in charge of my emotions, faith and outlook on life. Yes, I still feel that life is amazing. I still embrace every day with an open mind and heart, happy for the blessings I have been given, but I just can’t seem to shake this sadness that creeps into my heart.

    • Perfect timing of coming across this article. I too suffered a loss in Sept 2013 and January 2014. These past few weeks I have been anxious – I think I never allowed myself to grieve. I reached out to a therapist and so far so good. Thanks for writing this!

  8. Thank you. I struggle with # 10, more so because i found out I was pregnant the same day a coworker did. I had my miscarriage in February and now seeing her pregnancy progress normally while mine ended is quite painful. Im happy for her as well as my niece who is now pregnant but it feels me with such sadness.

    • Hi Elizabeth,

      So very sorry to hear of your loss. Went through the same thing at work. New job, no booze, another colleague slipped that her daughter-in law was pregnant at the same time. Having to cancel celebrations is tough. It is like losing someone when you are young, that until you have been in that awful club, you just don’t get it.

      I had my rather traumatic event (Christmas Day will always remind me of it), and last week my poor colleague, as a near-granny, went through it.

      Take care of you,

      Yuki

    • Dee. I too am so very sorry for your loss. I can only imagine how much strength it took for you to keep going to work and being reminded of your precious loss. I am so sorry that you have to go through that. I myself have experienced three precious losses. My first was due 9/27/11. My second was due 10/11/12. And my third was due 5/4/13. It has been a whirlwind to say the least. It wasn’t really until I lost my third one that I really realized I did not give myself time to grieve my first two children. So once realizing this (with the help of a counselor), I have been allowing myself to go through the grieving process. But among so many different situations, the most hurtful feeling I have is feeling a sense of resentment toward my niece who has had her baby. I was was loosing my second child while I had to plan and put her baby shower together. I was just dealing with my second D&C when I found out she had her child five days later. And when she came home (she lives out of town) for the first time with her baby, I was the one that had to pick them up from the airport and be with them for the weekend until it was time for them to go back. Now…………….she is expecting her second child the same month my second child is due. Its been hard and heavy grieving for my children. But what makes it even harder is having someone so close to you having success birthing their children while your children had never been seen, touched, smelled or even heard (with the exception of the sonogram). It hurts to loose your children, but the person who I am having challenges with as I see her grow her family is someone who I helped raised throughout her life as if she were my own. As I think about it over and over, I have come to the conclusion to help myself, is to be reminded that I have no desire to be envious of my “own child”…the person I helped raise. But sometimes its hard.

      Since I lost my three children in the span of two years only being married for four years, its been so hard. trying to begin new life with my husband while watching our children die in the process. I had the idea of having to go on sometimes, meaning wanting to feel optimistic or positive. But I know I need to for Me. My husband has been a a great blessing from the Lord in helping and acknowledge my grieving process, but I feel that perhaps I not doing as good as I think I should. I guess what it all boils down to is…….I find myself having to reestablish my life with new goals, new dreams as well as new realities and to tell you the truth It’s Hard! Sometimes I just don’t want to because it feels more comfortable sitting in my own unhappiness. Sometimes I get so edgy and irritable whenever something does not go right for me..Some big as a getting a new job to my hair style not looking just right for the day. I feel that I am consumed with thinking that everyone else’s life is so much better than mine that I feel sucked up in a monster sized whirlwind. Right now I feel sad in my heart. I feel broken in my spirit. But by the grace of God, I can say that level of intense pain is not as painful as before and the frequency of my tears aren’t as frequent. But I still feel like I am no longer the person who I was,. I am know trying to accept our losses and stop tryin to feel like I was prior to 2011. Although I know each person has their own journey to go through, I have decided to not rush mine (so I can become truely healthy from the inside out) but on the other hand I have also decided to take time on purpose to think about my children whether through prayer, or what I wanted to make the nursery with to anything else I can think of. Its been a hard road, but I do tell myself sometime if my children were here…i know I would tell them “go through the process, but don’t give up on your dreams”.

      I still have a dream of having a family with my husband. And since we have decided to no longer try naturally, we are heavily thinking about adoption. Although right now we are not 100% sure we are going through the process to see if it for us. yes I am scared of this because my first instinct tells me that somewhere down the line, i’ll have another loss of a child. Whether it be not finding a right match for my husband and I or realizing that perhaps my heart may be too damaged to want to love another child again. But that decision will come in time..We are in prayer for our losses as well as our possible gain.

      Dee, I am praying for you

    • Hi starr, I has a mc 2 weeks ago. My first pregnancy and feeling exactly the same. My husband is working I/s as well which had made it worse. I pray that we both recover from this and go on to have a wonderful pregnancy and healthy baby xx

    • I am going through same thing hun, I’m sorry u r to. I dnt know who to talk to because was so early I just keep thinking that I am overreacting…anyone feel same pleass let me know…

      • You are definitely not overreacting. (I have wondered the same thing about myself too) I feel a little silly actually sometimes, and then a strong sense of loss. I am 40 years old with an 18 yr old and a 15 year old. I love them dearly. I thought I was beginning menopause only to find out that I was pregnant. This was Thurs. On Monday I had a dr appt to find out how far I really was and all looked great. No spotting, cramping or anything. Felt great. Tuesday’s ultrasound pulled the rug from me. The baby stopped developing at 5 weeks but my body wouldn’t let it go. We elected to do a MVE that day since there obviously was no hope. I felt kind of silly because I only knew for less than a week. It was a surprise-almost an “oh no..what are we going to do?” That only lasted less than an evening. Went into “mommy” mode quickly. I think my hardest thing now is re-accepting that my childbearing days are gone. I was really ok with menopause before. We had our future planned out. Now I am a total mess and it’s very difficult to accept. I just keep hoping that time heals quickly because I cry everyday and the stupidest things trigger it out of the blue. I am sorry for your loss and I wish you (all of you) the best of luck and a peace of mind and soul.

  9. Thanks for writing this article, it really spoke to me. I suffered a miscarriage 10 days ago. This was my second one- first was April 2009. My emotions are all over the place: I sometimes feel disconnected from the event, other times I feel anger and sometimes intense sadness especially if I think about getting pregnant again. For the past few days I just feel lost. My partner and family are there for me but I feel alone with my feelings. As if no one truly understands me.

    • I had a miscarriage on the 31st of May 2014 at 6wks.I knew I was pregnant 6 days before that and I was super excited cos I and hubby tried to get preggy for 3 months now.since I miscarried,my family n husband has bin dear for me and they all say ‘u’ll hav another one’ in a bid to comfort me.some say ‘it wasn’t too far along’.It may sound funny but am seriously grieving.am I wrong to feel dis way since d baby was just six weeks old.I just feel a deep despair I can’t explain.

    • I am feeling the exact same way… I saw ur post and it is exactly what I have been going thru hun. I’m sorry because it is harder than I ever thought…

  10. Thankyou I had a missed miscarriage on Tuesday, I am noe concerned that I cannot go through this again and as a result concerned that my partner may see it as a deal breaker. He has been incredible and made me fall in love with him all over again. I can’t move forward with out him. Makes me feel better to know it is a normal part of grief.xx

  11. I’m just starting to read this and wow I got through the first 2 and was blown away. I had my miscarriage on 2/14/14 so it’s still very fresh to me. I have started counseling because I thought I could too just blow this off or replace it with something else like a vacation…that didn’t work the grief is still very much alive. Reading these posts from all of you too has just made me breathe again. I am so sorry for all of your losses as with mine. There is no pain (emotional or physical) that I have ever endured in my life. ((((HUGS)))) to all.

  12. Thank you for this. I had a terrible mc at 20 weeks, which followed by 5 wks of complications. 5 months after I unexpectantly fell pregnant but my joy was short lived as I mc at 11 wks, and hemoraged quite severely that I needed a d&c. I had another mc in 2010, but 4 months after fell pregnant and had a beautiful healthy boy. He and my husband are my rock. I have been so strong throughout all of this, however since my last mc 2 wks ago today it really affected me at my friend’s sons 1st bday party. I just broke down in tears. Has anyone thought of getting away for a while to get away from it all? I honestly believe it will help. I would love your opinion. Thank you.

    • Hi Jess, I can tell you from my own experience that I did do just that. I had my mc Feb 14, 2014 my husband and 3 daughters went to FL at the beginning of April. I went there with the impression it would “fix” everything and “fix” me. The vacation was wonderful and I could breathe that week but then we came home and everything was still there. My feelings came back, my emotional and physical self came back. You can’t run. The break was wonderful!! I however didn’t start to feel someone what better until I went and got help. I see a counselor now and maybe that’s not the road for everyone but for me it seems to be giving me light. For one it lead me to this website. My “homework” from my counselor was to look on the net for articles regarding “grieving a mc”…that’s what I did. This site has helped me immensely!! I find for myself looking for blogs much like this rather than medical articles has been more helpful. I am not healed but I am on the road to acceptance and forgiving myself. (((HUGS))) to you and I hope your journey will bring you light, hope and acceptance

  13. Thanks for posting this. I had a miscarriage in March 2014 and while I’ve been feeling much better, today has been a really tough day. It’s good to hear about others people’s experiences.

    • As much as I think I am OK, I am still grieving the loss of 2 miscarriages. One in November 2013 and the second in April 2014. I find that I just can’t quite get back the joy I once had. Seeing other babies remind me of what I lost and I sometimes come to tears.
      I have 2 healthy beautiful children and feel guilty that they are not enough. I know I haven’t had the time to grieve and will be starting therapy soon. I feel a lot of anxiety and emotions just flood me sometimes.
      I found this post searching for ways to cope with grief. Thanks for writing it.

      • I am so glad I came across this site. I suffered a m/c last week June 11th at 8 weeks…my first pregnancy. I am 33 and I had no symptoms and went to my first appt to be told there was no heartbeat and I would miscarry. I started bleeding as soon as I got home from appt. my husband hAs been my rock. We are not giving up but this will not make getting pregnant again any easier. Thank you to everyone for sharing your stories it has helped me so much.

      • Your post speaks to me…just had my second mc in July and already have 3 children. Really having a hard time with all of the emotions I have…

  14. Had a miscarriage 2 days ago. My life will never be the same again. No words can begin to describe what I’m feeling. Don’t know how I’ll ever move on from this.

  15. You all seem so strong. I wish i had your strength. All I’ve ever wanted was a family but I wasn’t ready with a partner/fiance until 2 years ago. We thought we needed to hurry & try because of our ages. I had 2 natural pregnancies both resulting in miscarriage and 1 failed IVF and 1 successful IVF resulting in miscarriage. Worse the Dr says there’s nothing wrong with me. That it just must be my age… total despair.. I feel depressed and hopeless for a family. I can’t look at babies without feeling that sadness and having to push back the tears. By the time I save to adopt that is if I can even convince my partner/fiance to adopt. Just hopeless. All I know is one day I will meet my babies in heaven. But that doesn’t help me now. Angry!. So many families, people who don’t want babies unexpectedly pregnant. Why can’t those of us who would be kind loving parents, who desperately want children have our own families? Still so sad I miss my babies. I miss feeling pregnant. I wanted to hold them and love them. I don’t expect to hear back from anyone. I just need a safe forum.

  16. Feel like this has really helped I had a miss carraige recently all though I didn’t no I was pregnant I am really suffering the fact that I have lost something so special that I could still have, I feel like my boyfriend blames me and isn’t there for me as much as I would like maybe he doesn’t want to think about it as he has lost most of his family?im only 22 and an petrified this could happen to me again

  17. I lost my baby a month ago to biliary atresia and still trying to cope he was 5months old its so hard I always feel I did something wrong .

  18. I had a miscarriage at 19 weeks two years ago, it was awful. I recently had a second miscarriage at 9 weeks. I feel completely hopeless that I will ever be happy again. I am worried that I am not giving my two daughters the happy life that they deserve. I’m not coping and am debating whether or not to try antidepressants. I just really want to feel happy again and to somehow switch off the hurt and the need for another baby.

  19. I am 26 years old and in a span of 5 months i have had 2 miscarriages. The first one was a big disappointment, but the second one i cant explain. I feel deep anger and resentment that i feel no one can understand. I was diagnosed with PCOs and most of the time i ask myself ‘why me?’ I feel my partner is fed up coz of my situation and i have been thinking of ending things with him because i know how much he wants a child and i feel my chances of ever being a mom is minimal. I break down when my emotions build up and I feel like im going to end up alone in this world. How do i deal with this? How do I deal with myself? Where do people go from here. Someone help me. Im in Africa and finding a therapist is close to impossible, I need help

  20. Thank you for this. I miscarried April 2014. First pregnancy at age 40 of a desperately wanted baby. I feel I should be able to move on but I’m so tired and sad all the time. I feel in my heart that things are never going to get better and I will never have a child. I have very supportive husband and family and friends but I am just not coping
    Good to know I’m not alone

  21. Lost my baby 7-7-14 at 16 weeks. I can’t control my emotions. This is the hardest thing I have ever had up endure. I feel no one understands me.

    • I’m so sorry to hear that Sierra. I hope you are able to find some local support. There are so many women around you who have had the same experience and do understand. They’ll want to help.

  22. Thanks so much for this article. I’m hanging on by a thread after my first pregnacy/first mc. Like if very bleak for me right now and I’m struggling to see any light at the end of the tunnel. Thus is the best article I have read on dealing with mc.

  23. Well I experienced a miscarriage at 7 weeks. The depressing part is that I was unaware that I was pregnant. I ave no one to really discuss it with. I do receive comments that I’m not a mother because I don’t have kids but to me I feel as if I’m a mother. I cry to myself && hold a lot of feelings in because I have no one to discuss my issues with.

    • Of COURSE you feel like you are a mother. No one gets to take that away from you just because you lost your precious baby. It’s okay for you to grieve that loss. Please know that, Lashay.

  24. After trying for 7 years, I finally found out I was pregnant the same month my husband decided he wanted a divorce. I have now had a miscarriage. I blame myself because I didn’t protect my unborn child from the stress and anxiety that I was feeling during that time. Thank you for what you said. I am feeling so alone. I am glad to know that what I am feeling is normal.

  25. Thanks for writing this post. I delivered our baby on 12 May 2014 at 18 weeks. The first month after was really difficult. Second month I have tried picking myself up and found I’d have good and bad days. Now entering third month I am generally ok but struggle SO much with seeing big families (lots of kids). I come from a big family (6 kids and I am the eldest) and now my husband and I have a 4 1/2 year old. I was wanting, dreaming for my daughter to have a sibling as I come from a big family and know how fun and supportive a big family can. We are an immigrant family with no immediate family close by, no cousins to play with. So I dreamt, hoped and imagined us being a family of 4 – with a playmate for my little girl. I was so excited for my little girl to have a playmate – she gets sad when she plays in the playground on her own. Now my dream has shattered and I don’t know how to address my sadness knowing what triggers my grief. Of course, my other triggers are seeing newborns and heavily pregnant women.

    • I can only imagine how painful this is for you Marie. I hope you are able to talk to your doctor about what you are going through so that he or she can suggest some local resources for grief support. It’s worth reaching out. Having others to talk to who have been through what you are going through can make a difference.

  26. It’s funny how I have grieved differently with each m/c. I have just had my 4th one in less than a year and this time I feel bitter, angry and alone. My husband tries to be supportive but I don’t feel much comfort. I feel like an awful wife and mom (I have a 2 Year old.) I am a mess. I feel like talking about it because I hate keeping it such a secret, but I don’t know who to talk to. No one knows what to say. Thanks for posting this. It helped me see that all my emotions are normal.

  27. Thank you for this. I found out my beautiful baby had no heart beat on 6-21-14. I still sit here and think about that day and those terrifying words “no heartbeat”. I was 10 weeks and my family tells me ” it could of been worse, you could of been further along”. It’s nice to read how other people are getting through this.

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  29. Hi, thank you so much for this article. I have had a medical miscarriage due to chromosomal abnormality in May at 17 weeks. Since then I have not been able to come to terms with it even slightest. This was my first pregnancy at the age of 28 and I find it so unfair, I blame myself for what happened, and feel alienated towards my body, as I feel it let me down. Almost the whole pregnancy was very traumatic and emotionally wrecking- since week 9 when we had our first scan and were alerted of developmental problems. Since then we received one bad news after another ending by confirmation of chromosomal abnormality. I tried really hard to grieve and accept what happened, but only find myself having hostile feelings towards others who have healthy kids, even my close friends. My partner has not been very supportive and blamed me for being too emotional and sobbing all the time. I feel like this is the end of our relationship…

  30. Pingback: The Emotional Aftermath of Pregnancy Loss

  31. I believe this article is very soothing and comforting for those who have lost a baby in a miscarriage, or in any other way. Thanks for sharing the grieving process of your lost and those of many others that have gone through the same pain, and the hope of victory after the grieving.

  32. Thank you so much for this post. I miscarried at nine weeks and am having a difficult time coping with the loss. This was my first pregnancy, and although it wasn’t planned, I loved that baby the moment I knew it was inside of me. I know that ultimately it was not my fault, but the guilt and the internal hatred I have are at times unbearable. I needed this today, and will probably bookmark it for future reference when I need it again. It is a beautiful tragedy to see so many other moms out there in my same place. My boyfriend has never been one to express his feelings well, and although I see he is grieving, I still feel like he doesn’t understand. The baby was inside of me, and now I feel empty. My next step will be to find a therapist, because I’m not sure how to handle it all on my own.

  33. Pingback: posting so I can read this on a better day | summersolstice1115

  34. I recently had lost my baby I was 20 weeks we have older children as well a 13 and 8 year old, so I had to carry on for them make sure they are taken care of, but my sadness and hurt is around everyday and now I don’t even want my husband to touch me I never want to be pregnant again,cause I can’t go thru this again, please is this normal?

    • Joy, I imagine that each person who goes through this has her own set of feelings about it. I don’t think there is a “normal” — there is no one right way to grieve. Just know that you are not alone and that if you need help or support you can get it. There are loss support groups and organizations, and you can also talk to your doctor as well if you need to. There is a list of resources at the bottom of this post: http://www.postpartumprogress.com/what-is-the-difference-between-grief-depression-after-pregnancy-loss

      • Hello Ladies! I posted on this board several months ago. I am so sorry for your losses. You are certainly not alone in your grief. Please know that healing and peace are ahead….you’ll never forget…but you will feel better one day.

        I suffered my first m/c in September of last year…and then my second in January of this year. It took me quite a while to heal after the second m/c. It was a traumatic experience both emotionally and physically (I ended up in the ER for severe blood loss). I spent months trying to “fix myself” in whatever I ways I could. I talked to friends, made myself SUPER healthy, stayed active, organized my life….but nothing could make the pain and hole in my heart go away. I would often break down into hysterical tears or be in a foul mood, even when my day was going perfectly.

        One day, a spiritual revelation came to me…the only healing for me would be to give my pain to God and trust in His plan for my life. I’m not trying to preach. Only to let you know how I healed. I feel so much better now, and finally have some peace in my heart.

        Grief is a terrible thing. It opens up holes in your life that you never knew existed. For me, it brought on panic attacks and anxiety.

        Finally after having some spiritual healing, I was able to revisit the idea of adding on to our little family. I so very much want my daughter to have a sibling. I’m 6 weeks pregnant now, and in so many ways I am terrified. There are so many unknowns, but I’m trying to trust and take one day at a time.

  35. I had a miscarriage in March this year I was 6 weeks pregnant, I had wanted this baby for so long. (this would have been my 2nd child as I have a 9 year old little girl). I then got pregnant again straight away, thankfully, I am now 23 weeks pregnant and all is well. At the time I miscarried some people said I shouldn’t need to grieve as there wasn’t anything there in the first place (meaning the baby was so small it wasn’t yet formed). What they didn’t seem to understand was that I didn’t see it that way, this was my baby and my body. Unfortunately I took in what they said and just got on with life, the 2nd pregnancy seemed to mask all this and I was happy again. I now have days when I feel guilty that I didn’t grieve for my last baby and feel sad but will people understand me, do my family feel the same, I don’t know because I don’t talk to anyone about it. I don’t want people telling me what I was told before. Like I said this was my baby and I will never forget how I felt when I was pregnant before miscarrying. Everyone is different and deal with things in life in their own way. I think when I have had my baby I am carrying at the moment and if I feel the pain still I will speak to a professional. I do hope this helps some of you ladies out there xx

  36. well I had a miscarriage I didn’t know til I had the miscarriage I felt sad alone lost hurt balled up in one now I just want to cry every year around September thinking about my twins that would have been 5 is it bad I still hurt til this day

  37. thank you for this today was the hardest day for m. I thought being told I was miscarring wa the hardest but the doctors forgot to let me and my husband know that I would be deliving my 10 week old baby and when I went to the bathroom early my baby popped out into the tolet and the pain and heart ache I had to deal with as I got my baby out of the tolet and put into a ziplock bag. I called the hospital to let them know I had my baby in a zip lock bag and now what do I do. and they told me to flush it and the pain that they didn’t even care, and now I have my baby in a ziplock bag waiting for a few people to call me back on the a way to give my baby the right way to kay him/her to rest. I had to many emontation I didn’t know how to feel so now I have become numb and questioning what did I do wrong and what do I do now. reading this blog had helped a lot even more with the soupse part because I was getting mad that he wasn’t showing anything when he was the one who put our baby in a box till we figure out what to do next. you have no idea how much I needed to read this thank you.

  38. I too suffered a twin miscarriage just 2 weeks ago.. I don’t sleep, I can’t stop thinking about them. Nothing anyone says makes it easier. My partner put me onto this article because I thought he didn’t care due to no emotion on his end, I was wrong! He does, he just doesn’t know how to help me anymore than I know how to help myself right now.. I’m lost, I just want my babies back

  39. Thank you for this article. I recently had a miscarriage at 11 weeks. I was originally terrified but had just started to get really excited when I lost the baby. I’ve spent the last week more in a confusion than in sadness. I cried the whole first night, and quite a bit the second. I haven’t cried in the week+since. I’ve had friends who have had miscarriages and they were devastated. My best friend has been clinically depressed for 6 months. While I don’t want to be clinically depressed, and it’s horrible that she feels that way, I don’t understand why I’m not as sad as she is. I keep thinking something is wrong with me. I’m able to go through my day almost like nothing happened. I feel a twinge of sadness when someone asks me about having kids, or if I hear someone talk about their pregnancy, and I get sad when I see things on the internet but otherwise I feel pretty normal. I feel like a freak, like maybe this is the universe telling me I’m not meant to be a mother or something. I mostly just want to try again. This article made me feel not as guilty, so thank you.

  40. I had a miscarriage 4 weeks ago, and 3 days ago got my period. I am still devastated. I am 44 so was lucky to get pregnant at all and am terrified that I won’t get pregnant again and this just adds to my sadness and depression. I don’t wanna get out of bed in the morning, pretty much wish I was dead most days.

  41. I had a miscarriage on may 30 2014 it was my first pregnancy…luckily my husband and family have been more than amazing helping me through it but i can’t help but feel like I’m alone sometimes fighting an internal battle because i didn’t know very long at all ( i m/c at 6 weeks 2 days) and sometimes feel silly and push it out of mind but it is nice to know that I’m not being silly and that this is part of the grieving process- I thank you from the bottom of my heart & will forever be grateful for your article. To know that you are not alone when you feel alone is very comforting

    • I had mc at 6 weeks (in May 2014) and I know what you’re saying about feeling silly sometimes and sad other times. I start to think I’m okay and then realize I’m still not. Just found out my sister is pregnant and while I’m very excited for her I ended up crying a lot today because I’m still so sad:( I feel alone sometimes in my grief but it’s comforting to know I’m not. Hang in there!

  42. I’ve been reading ways to cope w miscarriage, as I’m currently waiting for my pregnancy to naturally begin to end. It’s my second, my son is 2. It’s so completely devastating. I try to be strong. But have breakdowns every little bit, I just can’t accept that I’m losing this little baby that I got so attached to in such a short amount of time. My poor husband is taking it just as hard, just when I feel like I’ve got myself together, I hear him crying. We just never expected this.

      • Mine happened a few day after yours. On the 16th there was a heartbeat and on the 21st there was no heartbeat anymore :(
        You can find my story down on the page. Very sorry for what happened.

  43. My mother just had a miscarriage today and I really wanted a new sibling. I am still crying over the loss of the baby. My mom is going to the doctors next week to see if the baby is still alive, however it is very unlikely. :(. I don’t know what to do…all I can do is cry

  44. We went to our 12 w sonogram appointment a couple of days ago and found out that the baby hadn’t made it. He only looked for about less than a minute and turned the machine off.There were only a few remaining cells left- a blighted ovum. I have a choice now to wait it out or do a d & c. I know it is a long shot, but I keep praying for some sort of a miracle. I also realize that my baby is now long gone to heaven and I must somehow move on. I am in tears constantly…I am trying hard to keep it together for my work, my other children and my husband who is back to work and although sad, said this baby would have always remained a “concept” until we had the ultrasound photos. He is not grieving to the extent I am grieving and although supportive, I know he is frustrated with how much I am sobbing and even how much I may be hanging onto a dream that somehow it will work out. I feel like my heart has been torn out and I feel so empty inside. We told very few people I was pregnant so now I have no one to tell or confide in. Work had no idea and I must continue on like I was never pregnant- except I still have a uterus the size of 13+ weeks- I’m huge and my uterus keeps growing and I still have all the pregnancy hormones. I have all my maternity clothes washed and hanging all ready in the closet- I was about to begin wearing them as all my clothes I feel completely duped and tricked. I have no real symptoms of miscarriage but just a diagnosis. I am starting to come to terms with needing a d & c but the thought of that too brings me to tears but I am also scared to deliver naturally as I know it will be full labor pains. And, to make matters worse, I’m 42. The chance of it happening again (old eggs) is probably quite high. This might have been my last chance at a pregnancy. The few people I have told have tried to be well meaning but lines like “everything happens for a reason” or “maybe something was wrong with the baby” (which yes, that is probably correct!) are NOT helpful. Please don’t tell me at least I have other kids or that it is my age or that it’s common. I am bracing myself for all types of reactions if I tell anyone! I really truly believe that only the women who have gone through this and suffered such a great loss can empathize. No one else can possibly know how empty I feel, how my soul feels ripped out and how my heart actually feels physical pain- my whole body feels the loss- and that my emotions with all the hormones still are a complete wreck. I feel so alone not having the baby with me and yes, the baby I know is in heaven, complete, loved and without pain. But it is so hard for the one who is left behind to grieve and I have no idea how this gets easier- I don’t think anyone moves on, I think they just learn new ways to cope and process their grief. The baby’s birth date is still circled on the calendar….and I can’t begin to think how it’s going to be when that day comes.

    • Dear Mel,
      I sympathise with so many of the stories on here, but yours really struck a chord with me, so I wanted to reply to you personally.
      I had a mussed miscarriage in September this year, at 12 weeks. I already knew something was wrong at 9 weeks, when I had a tiny bit of spotting and the scan showed the baby was way too small for its age. I recall the (awful) doctor who ignored me the whole time she scanned me, whispering under her breath with her colleague. It was only 5 minutes, but it was the longest 5 minutes of my life and I felt completely removed from my body, as if I were on the ceiling looking down in myself. Eventually, when she’d repeated “I can see the yolk sac” about 10 times (at which point I wanted to hit her), she told me she couldn’t see any heartbeat. Those dreaded words….I changed Early Preg Unit after that, to a really amazing unit near my house, where my husband and I were treated with real care and respect. There, at 10 weeks, we were told to wait and see what my body would do next. I felt like my body had so let me down though – I’ve had 4 other early m/c in 2014 and in all of them, my body managed to detect a problem and I m/c very early – a slightly late period in terms of timing and effect. But this time, it got it all so wrong.
      I couldn’t grasp how my baby had stopped growing, had a faint heartbeat that had also stopped at some point, but my body was acting as if all was well and good. I also had a huge belly, I looked pregnant and felt pregnant, I had all the symptoms. I hardly bled at all. Like you, I, we had started to dare to hope it would be a good one. We had particularly started to imagine what it would be like to tell our 6 year old daughter the great news. We hadn’t told anyone, as after so many early m/c I didn’t want to jinx it.
      Finally, my lovely new sonographer confirmed at 12 weeks that nothing would change. No miracle would happen. There could be no mistake with my dates. Our tiny baby hung in there, completely lifeless, like a miniscule astronaut, attached to his or her gestational sac, which by now looked like a shrivelled up balloon. My husband and I clung to each tiger and felt the sort if pain and sadness that is hard to describe.
      I couldn’t wait for nature to take its course: I had to carry on my life, look after my daughter…it was the summer holidays here in London, UK, and I was looking after her. I was petrified to go too far from homé, in case I suddenly started bleeding in front of her. I was in a weird sort if limbo.
      After some thought, I decided to have a D&C the day after, at 12 weeks. It was emotional, but somehow it helped to get a little bit closer to achieving some sort of closure. Physically, it all went very well. I had a fantastic team looking after me and recovered very quickly. Emotionally, once the pregnancy hormones crashed, so did I. It was and still is, very hard.
      A month down the line and it is getting easier to bear. I don’t cry every day now and I’m starting to think to the future.
      Today our tiny Pip, as we’d come to call our baby, was cremated.
      Next week, on October 15th, baby loss awareness day, my husband and I are going to scatter Pip’s ashes at the children’s cemetary in Islington. I’m dreading it, but also looking forward to feeling more peaceful afterwards, I hope….I really hope…..
      You are so right when you say that well-meaning family and friends don’t know how to help….comments such as “at least you have another child” or “your body knows best” are patronising, insensitive and infuriating.
      Plus, like you, I am now older (43) and my eggs aren’t getting any younger either.
      I hope no one judges older women like us for wanting to keep trying. Sometimes I think I’m too old and should give up, but it’s hard to accept that I’ll have to do that, at some point. I always think “maybe I’ll try one more time” or “I’ll stop trying next year”, but I know I can’t keep going like this either. Will you?
      I’m wondering, since your post is old now, whether you had a D&C in the end or not. How did it go in the end? I hope you are ok and doing better than you were.
      I’m not going to pretend it easy nor am I going to make glib remarks about feelings, but I do know this – we are stronger than we think.
      We have to be.
      Our bodies sometimes let us down, but they are also amazing.
      I try to gain comfort from my beautiful daughter every day and remind myself that I am so so so lucky to already be a mum. So many of my friends have never even had that chance.
      I will always be Pip’s mum too, no matter whether I ever give my daughter a sibling or not, no body will take at away. You will always be your unborn baby’s mum too. It has helped me to acknowledge that and Pip too, not to brush it away. I need to have a place where I can connect with Pip too and one day maybe take my daughter, to explain to her too…
      I wish you all the best xxx

  45. I am grateful l to have found your post, Kate. I have had 3 miscarriages in the last year, 8/2013, 2/2014 and 7/2014. I keep reflecting on the entire scenario and chain of events over the last year. I deal with problems finding self worth, frequently overcome with feelings of inadequacy. Despite knowing that I am not a failure, it does not stop the feelings from occurring.
    These experiences have caused me to reflect back on my life in so many ways. Prior to meeting my husband I never wanted children. All that changed and all I want is to be someone’s Mommy. I sometimes think how much simpler it would be if I just didn’t want to be a Mommy and be happy in a childless marriage.
    Another frustrating component is that I am a Nurse. I am a trauma nurse. I help people and families when they are at their weakest moments. And yet, I can’t even help myself through this grieving process. Sometimes I feel I know too much and just can’t let go enough to fully grieve.
    My husband is supportive and has cried with me and held me in these moments. He tries, but he still doesn’t understand why I “can’t get past it.” To hime because they were early term losses he has the mentality that, “We will just keep trying”. I know he feels helpless and doesn’t know what to say. I try and be sensitive to that. Then there are moments when he just asks me a simple question and I get so angry with him.
    The intense feelings of guilt, anger with myself and feelings of inadequacy can be overwhelming. I try and take it day by day and hope for the best. Starting to see a reproductive endocrinologist in october and keeping fingers crossed.

  46. I had an early pregnancy loss 2 weeks ago too, and it happened naturally, no D&C. It was so hard, I bled for 5 days before I passed my baby, then for a few days afterwards. My husband too is taking it hard. We were both so excited, and it has been so hard for both of us. I am at work and just want to cry and crawl into bed right now. My daughter is almost 2 years old, and it feels hard to try to plan her birthday and know her brother or sister won’t have theirs. It was my second pregnancy too. We weren’t prepared either. Even though my OB has encouraged me that I should still have another healthy pregnancy, I am scared we won’t be able to have another child.

  47. I’m struggling to come to terms with the fact that I’m no longer pregnant anymore. My heart is shattered in a million pieces and the dream I held so close has cruely been ripped from me.

    Two weeks ago, my husband and I booked a private scan – I was 9+4, so excited it being our first pregnancy we were so proud of my little bump. I had the full works morning sickness, back ache, head ache, tiredness, needing a wee all the time, but I didn’t care, I was so over joyed to be pregnant with our first baby it was such a blessing from God. We found out when I was 4 weeks.
    In the scan I lay on the table as the sonographer did an internal scan only to say bluntly, I’m sorry, but your baby has died. You have suffered a missed miscarriage. Both of us were confused and devistated: she then said – you lost your baby three weeks ago and will need medical help to get rid of it. Sat in shock, my husband in tears, we left knowing our baby had died.
    The following day we went to the EPU, they scanned and said its 50/50 dates could be wrong and the baby could grow, come back in a week. So we did. 1 week ago it was confirmed our baby had died and my body was still tricking me with pregnancy symptoms, they were concerned as it was now 5 weeks the baby had been dead for and said I will need to come in for medical management: either d n c or abortion pills. So desperately sad we agreed to take the pills. The following morning last Friday, I took the first pill. Then was back in on Sunday for what was the most horrific experience of my life. I was 11+4 at this point still having morning sickness. Well 38 pills, 1 supositry, 4 pesseries, 3 rounds of morphene, 8 sick bowels, 4 sickness iv’s and 6 hours of full on contractions and labour, I finally delivered our baby. I was emotionally wreck, heartbroken, in pain, unable to control my bodily functions, and left feeling helpless. They wheeled my baby in a crib in to see my husband and I and we said our goodbyes with a blessing. Then they gave us the little blanket they laid it in to keep. I was I hospital over night and came out this Monday. All week I have felt like everyone of these points you have written. Unable to come to terms with the heartache that my baby is no longer with me anymore. The tears catch me out constantly, and I just feel so sad I can no longer be a mummy. How do I deal with all of this? It hurts so much???

    • Dear Hollie,
      I posted back on October 9th, in reply to an older post from Mel, in case you wanted to read my bit.
      I read your post just now and didn’t want to read and run.
      The pain and shock of losing a baby, at any gestational age, whether one already has a child or not, is horrible.
      I am slowly coming to terms with my loss from September 5th (D&C), but it does take time.
      Try to surround yourself with people who love and care about you. Be kind to yourself. Avoid spending time with people who are insensitive for now (one of the points in the article, which helped me a lot). Above all, allow yourselves the time and space to grieve.
      Grieving is a process, not an event that’s done and dusted on any particular day. It takes time. I only know that now, because I’m going through it right now as well.
      I used to cry every day, now I cry a bit less and feel a bit mire hope.
      It really helped my husband and me to organise a little cremation for our baby (done through the hospital itself, here in the UK) and we’re going to a children’s cemetary this week to scatter the ashes. It helps to get a little closer to achieving closure, I suppose. I also want a place to go to when I want to remember our baby.
      It also helped me enormously to post my loss on my Facebook page (though only so my closest friends could read it) because their kindness and overwhelmingly touching response was amazing. So many friends also shared their losses with me. I had no idea how many there were…
      Here in the UK there is a very useful site for parents going through pregnancy loss and stillbirth.they also have a Facebook page. It’s called The Miscarriage Association and has loads of links to other pregnancy loss and baby loss boards, articles and forums.
      On Wednesday 15th October it’s Baby Loss Awareness day – I’m going to be lighting a candle at 7pm for my baby, plus the 5 others I lost beforehand (very early miscarriages).
      Maybe you could light a candle too and think of something you’d like to do, or write, or say, or even plant, to remember your baby by?
      Thinking of you and sending lots of hope, light and happiness.
      Jessica.

  48. I had a miscarriage on 15 Sept 2014 and I’m having a very hard time coping. I thought i was getting better but yesterday I found out that I’ve developed an infection which is making me very scared and has brought all of those initial feelings back. My husband has mentioned that the m/c is over and he is able to move on; however, I am not. This is making me feel very alone. My family lives in a different country and although I know they are there for me, it is still very hard.

  49. Thank you so much for this!(my first pregnancy) My babies heartbeat stopped at 9 weeks. Just two days after my fiance and I had seen that healthy heart beating away at the ultrasound. I did not know this until 12 weeks and 1 day when I saw bleeding at work and immediately called the doctor then had the ultrasound. I passed the baby two days later at the hospital. I was in so much pain. I physically watched my baby leave my body in the sac while going to the bathroom for the nurse to do a vaginal ultrasound. Ever since then I feel so much anxiety every time my fiance leaves me to go to work or even the store or the gym. I’m so scared that something teterrible will happen. I thought I was going crazy but I read #6 and I know I’m obviously not alone. Thank you a million times for this.

  50. I have posted my story here a week ago, but apparently it did not show.
    I also lost my baby at around 8 weeks.. (end of september) I saw a heartbeat at 7w3d and there was none on 8w1d… :( I felt devastated and shattered. Had a D&C 2 days after… Still dont know how to cope with it.. Always thinking how far along i would be by now… :( Plus there is a colleague at work who started to look pregnant not long before i lost mine… :( I feel like i dont want to see people.. Most of the time im not leaving home, i feel so bad when i have to go to work :( I dont know how to cope with this… The worst is im all alone, the father of my lost baby is not with me (he wasnt during when it happened either…) he didnt want the baby :( I dont know what to do… Clearly “trying in a few months” is not comforting to me as i have to deal with losing the baby’s father too… :( I feel sooo helpless and alone… How do you cope with that?