How Couples Can Cope with Miscarriage

Your marriage can survive pregnancy loss, but it can be difficult.

upset couple
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All couples go through a period of adjustment before, during and after a pregnancy loss. Partners may never seem to be on the same page, and ordinary irritations can escalate quickly. You may feel like your marriage is destined to dissolve at times. 

If you've gone to any support groups, read any other miscarriage stories online, or started hearing the personal stories from all the women in your life you never knew had gone through a pregnancy loss, you've already realized that everyone's experience is unique.

While there are certain common reactions to grief, not everyone will experience them in the same way, or the same order.

The Five Stages of Grief

You've probably already heard about the Five Stages of Grief and no doubt felt just about every possible emotion since your pregnancy loss -- swinging from stage to stage enough to make yourself dizzy. Anger, sadness, guilt, moments of joy and even a few moments where your first thought wasn't about your lost baby. Likewise, you'll probably recognize a lot of these emotions in your partner. The trouble tends to come in when you're feeling different things at different times.

A pregnancy loss is one of those times when you and your spouse are experiencing grief for the same reason. It can be confusing for you as you try to support each other when you are in different places emotionally.

There is often a tremendous amount of guilt for both partners after a pregnancy loss, and each may believe the other blames them in some way.

So what is the best approach to avoid further hurt feelings?

Too often, people hide their feelings from each other, even unintentionally because of guilt, resentment or just the simple assumption that their partners know how they feel without needing to speak up. Talk to each other, talk to other people who know what you're going through.

Just don't expect anyone to know what's inside if you don't share.

Whatever you do, don't rush it. Grieving takes time, and there are no deadlines, despite what you may hear or the pressure you may feel. Keep talking, and remember that there will be good days and bad days, and there is nothing wrong with having a bad day even after you thought you were "over it."

Give each other the freedom to deal with this in your own unique ways, but don't be afraid to be honest about your own feelings, even if your partner seems to be on a different wavelength.

We tend to avoid talking about miscarriage and pregnancy loss because it makes people uncomfortable. You may feel that you're expected to forget what happened or hide the memory away. But grief work includes remembering. Some things you might do are: give your baby a name, light a birthday candle on your due date or the anniversary of your miscarriage, give to a charity in your baby's honor, plant a tree, or even write "We love you" on a helium balloon and release it to the sky.

Don't be afraid or embarrassed to seek professional help. What you're going through is HARD. Don't get down on yourself or your partner if you can't do it alone. A support group, counselor or therapist may help you, your partner or both of you as a couple to work through your grief and come out stronger as a team.

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