Pregnancy Loss: How to Cope
Pregnancy loss can happen anytime during a pregnancy. It may be a miscarriage, a tubal (ectopic) pregnancy, a stillbirth, or it may be the death of a baby shortly after birth (neonatal death).
When you have a pregnancy loss, you may feel both physical and emotional pain. Every woman reacts differently to the loss. There are no right or wrong feelings. You may have strong feelings of loss no matter how early or how late you were in the pregnancy.
At first you may feel a sense of shock and disbelief. Your emotions may range from guilt and sadness, to anger and feeling out of control. You may wonder if you or someone else could have prevented your loss. You may want to be with family and friends or you may want to spend time alone. All of this is normal. The length of time needed to grieve is different for everyone. More important than the length of time is just allowing yourself to grieve.
How the Father May cope
The father may react differently to the loss. He may focus on your health and feel the need to protect you. He may feel helpless and not know what to do to “make it better.” You and the father may not share the same feelings at the same time. The father may find other ways of grieving and coping. This does not mean he doesn’t care or feel sad. Grieving will be different for each of you, and that’s okay. It’s important to talk and support each other.
Helping Children Cope
You may have other children who need help understanding and coping with the loss. Resources are available that can help you explain the pregnancy loss to your children. For more information, call Magee-Womens Hospital at 412-641-4255 to speak with a social worker.
How Others May Respond
Others may not respond in the ways you hope or expect. This can range from statements such as, “you can have another baby,” to saying nothing at all. Allow your family and friends to provide the love and support you need at this difficult time.
A pregnancy loss may leave you feeling alone. You may wonder, “Are there other women who feel the way I do?” or “Am I normal?” The answer is yes. Information about support groups for anyone who has had a pregnancy loss can be found by calling:
- Magee-Womens Hospital in Oakland. For information on support groups or for additional resources, call 412-641-4255 to speak with a social worker.
- The UPMC Mercy Forever in Our Hearts support services at 412-232-8600 ext. 6905.
- The Empty Arms Support Group at UPMC Horizon. To learn more about this group, call 724-983-8730.
- UPMC Northwest at 814-676-7845. UPMC Northwest offers support groups through the Family Birthing Center.
- Be patient and take care of yourself, emotionally and physically.
- Remember that everyone grieves in his or her own way. You and your loved ones may be at different points in the grief process.
- Let others know what you need. Family and friends may not know how to help.
- Remember that you are not alone. Consider attending a support group or ask your nurse, doctor, or midwife to help you find a social worker.