7 Common Emotions You May Feel After a Miscarriage

Updated

Pregnancy can be full of unexpected ups and downs. In some cases, those downs ultimately include miscarriage or pregnancy loss. Miscarriages, like any other loss, can stir up a whole slew of emotions—some expected, some not. 

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It’s estimated that 26% of all pregnancies result in miscarriage. But although miscarriages are somewhat common, that doesn’t make them any easier to deal with. Knowing what to expect (and why) can help you navigate your emotions and find the tools you need to move through them. 

This overview of common emotions after miscarriage is meant to offer some clarity as to what you may be feeling and why. While these and other emotions are normal, you might not experience them yourself—and that’s OK. Everyone heals in their own way.

Are People Typically Emotional After a Miscarriage?

Life after a miscarriage looks different for everyone. Part of being human is going through a vast array of emotions. It’s how we process and make sense of the world, and a pregnancy loss is no different. Most people tend to be emotional after a miscarriage. They may experience a range of emotions, from fear to anger to shock, or anywhere in between.

It’s also important to point out that after someone has a miscarriage, they are in a postpartum state. The body takes time to adjust and heal, especially on a hormonal level. This, in and of itself, can make someone more emotional, on top of the already emotional experience of having a miscarriage.

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Common Emotions You May Feel After a Miscarriage

While everyone’s experience will be different, there are some common emotions that many people tend to feel after having a miscarriage.

Here are some of the most common ones:

1. Shock

Sometimes life takes us by surprise, and we aren’t quite ready to take in the immensity of our experiences. That’s where shock comes in. 

Shock is your system’s way of protecting itself from the initial intensity after a difficult or traumatic event like an injury or a death. Shock can make you feel numb or in disbelief. It can make you feel like you’re out of your body, or not quite present with your reality.

If you do experience shock, it is usually your body’s first response after whatever the event was, like a miscarriage. Shock will eventually fade away and make space for other emotions as you go through the grieving process. 

2. Grief

People don’t often talk about grief in the context of pregnancy loss, but it is incredibly common.  When you have a miscarriage, you not only are grieving the baby that was growing inside of you, but the loss of the future plans you’d been dreaming of. Grief can gut us, leaving us feeling empty and unsure.

Author Jamie Anderson once said that “Grief is love with nowhere to go.” If you’ve had a miscarriage, you understand the depth of this statement. As difficult as it may be, that grief is a powerful tool for transformation, and you will find a place for it to go, in time.

3. Shame or guilt

Another common emotion people feel after a miscarriage is shame or guilt. It’s so normal after a loss to feel like you could have done something more or different to prevent it from happening. 

Miscarriage is usually entirely out of your control. Having this understanding may not stop you from feeling guilt, but it can help to repeat it to yourself when it comes up.

You can use some sort of affirmation to help yourself with the guilt or shame like, “I did all that I could do. I forgive myself and release myself from all shame and guilt.”

Sometimes, using affirmations can be enough to help stop uncomfortable thoughts in their path, or at least accept those thoughts and move forward anyway.

4. Fear

Fertility isn’t always as straightforward as people expect it to be. Miscarriages are sometimes part of a person’s journey to having a child or more children. 

When someone has a miscarriage, whether it be their first one or their fifth one, they may be left with a sense of fear. This is especially true for people who are hoping to become pregnant again. 

You may feel fear around your body, your environment, or for subsequent pregnancies. 

A 2019 study found that 18% of women who experienced early pregnancy loss had symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder nine months after the loss. Some fear is normal, but if it turns into regular anxiety or symptoms of PTSD, you may want to seek professional help from a therapist or counselor. 

5. Sadness 

Sadness can follow us around, cloud our perception, make us turn inwards. Some sadness is to be expected after a miscarriage.

With sadness, you may feel a sense of emptiness or difficulty going about your everyday life. You may want to find distractions, or not know what to do with yourself. Know that right now, you don’t need to do anything but focus on yourself and your healing.

Sometimes, we just have to feel things to move through them, and sadness is no different. 

6. Isolation

When someone experiences a loss, it’s normal to feel isolated from the world around them. After a miscarriage, you may feel lonely and disconnected. You may avoid talking to people so that you don’t have to explain yourself or what happened. Or you may feel isolated in your experience, like no one can understand what you’re going through.

You are not the only one. There are so many people out there who have been through what you’re going through and are happy to share their stories with you. 

Focus on who in your life fills you up and makes you feel seen and heard, rather than people who take up energy. 

7. Acceptance 

One of the most beautiful parts of life is that it keeps moving forward. Even after a deep loss that may shake you to the core, you somehow find it in you to keep going.

Feeling acceptance after a miscarriage can feel like you’ve finished a cycle of healing. Just because you accept what happened doesn’t mean you’ll ever forget. You might still feel sad about it from time to time, but overall you feel OK, and not overwhelmed. 

Acceptance feels like peace. Like there is no longer a tugging and longing for what could have been. And if and when those emotions do come up, you’re able to let them in and let them out while remaining grounded. 

Common Emotions Your Partner May Feel After a Miscarriage

Miscarriage doesn’t just affect the pregnant person. Their family, and of course their partner, will also feel the loss and their own array of emotions.

Here are some common emotions that someone may feel after their partner has a miscarriage:

1. Helpless

You care so much for your partner, and you want to do everything you can to support them. You may feel this overwhelming urge to try to fix the problem, and realizing that there’s not much you can do can make you feel helpless. 

While you can’t change what happened, you can take little steps to support your partner and yourself. Ask them if they’d like a foot rub, make them their favorite meals, or take care of little chores for them. Doing acts of service can help you feel like you’re being proactive while you both heal.

2. Pain or Sadness

Loss sucks, and grief hurts. Miscarriages can bring pain or sadness, even if you weren’t the one who was carrying the baby. 

You might feel sad about the loss of a child you thought was coming into your life, sad about watching your partner in pain, pain as a hole in your heart that was once excitement for the life you’re building together.

Although you may be focused on comforting your partner, don’t forget about yourself and your needs. You, too, are healing and deserve to take the time you need to help cope with the sadness or grief you’re experiencing. 

3. Understanding

Understanding, much like acceptance, often comes after moving through a whole slew of other emotions. 

Coming to a place of understanding after your partner has a miscarriage means you’re at a place where you’re moving on, but not forgetting. You understand that there’s nothing either of you could have done differently, that sometimes life has other plans for us, and that it’s OK to enjoy your life again. 

Things to Remember After You Have a Miscarriage

While going through some or all of these emotions may be inevitable, there are steps you can take to help support yourself as you heal physically and emotionally.

None of these emotions are inherently bad; they’re a normal part of being human, especially after a miscarriage.

Coping with emotions after a miscarriage can involve your favorite self-care tools, whether that’s a massage, a bath, spending time in nature, or cooking. Surround yourself with people that you feel loved and supported by, while still taking time for yourself when you need to.

Don’t be afraid to join a pregnancy loss support group and/or seek professional help from a therapist or healer if it feels right for you, or if you’re experiencing debilitating symptoms for a long time. 

You can and will get through this.


Sources:
  1. Dugas, Carla, and Valori H Slane. “Miscarriage.” Stat Pearls Publishing, 29 January 2021, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
  2. Farren, Jessica PhD, and Maria Jalmbrant, DClinPsy. “Posttraumatic stress, anxiety and depression following miscarriage and ectopic pregnancy: a multicenter, prospective, cohort study.” Original Research Obstetrics. 01 April 2020, ajog.org

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