The journey to parenthood can be full of ups and downs, and sometimes, heartbreak.
Around twenty-six percent of pregnancies result in miscarriage, and when it does happen, it can put a strain on every area of your life—especially your relationship.
Relationship problems after a miscarriage are not uncommon. Researchers from the American Academy for Pediatrics found people who had experienced miscarriage had a significantly greater chance of their relationship ending compared with people who had live births from a pregnancy.
Jump ahead to these sections:
- How Can a Miscarriage Affect Your Relationship?
- What You Can Do If You’re Having Relationship Problems After a Miscarriage?
But you don’t need science to understand the complexities of grieving a miscarriage in your relationship. Grief has so many layers, and navigating it together can bring up all sorts of issues and triggers, further complicating the healing journey.
Thankfully, there are ways to handle your relationship problems. Read on to find out more.
How Can a Miscarriage Affect Your Relationship?
When you become pregnant, you might start to dream with your partner about the future of your lives and about building or expanding your family.
After a miscarriage, not only are you healing physically and emotionally, but the change in dynamics and expectations can put pressure on your relationship.
That’s not to mention the stress that fertility issues and the grief of miscarriage can bring. Stress of any type can affect your relationships.
If you find yourself taking grief out on your partner, or the other way around, know that this is understandable. Miscarriage is difficult for both partners, and if it’s putting a strain on your relationship, we have some helpful tips for you.
What You Can Do If You’re Having Relationship Problems After a Miscarriage?
You and your partner are on this journey together, and unfortunately, sometimes the stress and grief of experiencing a miscarriage can cause a rift in your relationship. As each other’s support systems, you owe it to yourselves and your relationship to take the time to handle these problems.
Here are some ways that you work through relationship problems after a miscarriage:
1. Nurture your relationship
As painful as loss is, it can sometimes shine a light on areas of your relationship that have been neglected. When intense emotions come up, they can give you both an opportunity to examine them and nurture your relationship by working through them.
What have been the underlying things that have always brought you and your partner together? Do you have a shared love for music? Love to cook together? Are you avid hikers and nature adventurers?
Try to set aside time to nurture your relationship by going back to the things that have always brought you together—even if it’s as simple as watching your favorite movie together.
2. Communicate your feelings
This may seem obvious, but communication can suffer in the midst of hardship.
No matter how tuned in to each other you are, you probably can’t read each other’s minds. Communicating what’s going on in your head and your heart is crucial for you both to be able to move forward. Are there particular things that are triggering you? Feelings that are left unsaid? Emotions that need to be expressed?
Holding in your emotions only builds resentment. Be honest and up front with your partner, and hold space for them to do the same. Remember that you’re on the same team, and communication is meant to strengthen that bond, as difficult as it can be sometimes.
When it comes to communicating, try to use “I phrases” when discussing your feelings. I phrases like “I feel alone right now” help you both to focus on how you’re perceiving the situation, versus accusing each other of acting a certain way. Be specific about how you’re feeling and what you each need to help the relationship.
If you’re having difficulty communicating, you may want to consider seeing a couple’s therapist or counselor.
3. Go to couples therapy
You don’t need to have experienced loss to go to couple’s therapy, but it’s an incredibly helpful tool for when you do. There can be a lot of stigma around therapy, especially couple’s therapy, but there’s nothing to be ashamed of. Everyone needs extra support sometimes, especially when it comes to navigating loss and your relationships.
A couples therapist can work with you both from a place of neutrality to help you develop language around your experience, how miscarriage has shifted your relationship, and practical tools for you to heal together.
If you or your partner are unable or unwilling to go to couple’s therapy, it can still help the relationship if just one of you goes to individual therapy. Miscarriage is a traumatic event, and it may be vital for you to seek professional help, whether that’s together or alone.
4. Give each other space
Sometimes it might feel like too much to just be around each other. You and your partner may trigger each other, pick up and take on each other’s stress, or want to heal in your own ways.
Oftentimes, one of the most important things to help a relationship heal is for each of you to prioritize your space. Remember what makes you happy and fulfilled outside of your relationship and your fertility journey.
This can look different for everyone. It might mean spending time with friends without your partner, reinvesting yourself in a hobby or passion that lights you up, or even taking a weekend trip away from each other to recharge.
This time apart is sometimes a necessary part of healing from the grief of a miscarriage, so that you can come back together as happier versions of yourselves.
5. Spend intimate moments together
Intimacy is one of the biggest building blocks of a relationship, but it’s easy to put aside during times of stress.
Sometimes the pressure of building a family can take the intimacy out of your intimate moments and make sex seem like a functional necessity. There are many ways to explore intimacy and the benefits of physical touch. Intimacy can also mean holding space for one another as you release any emotions that you’ve been holding in. Intimacy can be a massage or a cuddle session.
Intimacy is essential to nurture the bond that brought you together in the first place.
6. Remember your community
Coping with miscarriage is not something that’s meant to be done alone. Grief can be isolating, especially when you’re navigating relationship issues on top of that. Having people to lean on can make all the difference.
A community can be your close group of friends or family. It can also be a community you’ve found together, like a place of worship.
Sometimes seeing your partner interact with the people that you both love and care about can help remind you why you love them.
7. Read together
Reading books about miscarriage can help give you both the language for talking about what you’re experiencing. Set aside time to get cozy and read aloud to each other. Not only will this give you quality bonding time, but you’re able to heal in the process.
Take your time with the readings to ask each other questions about how you’re feeling, what resonates with you and if there are practical tools that you can use to help move on from your loss.
Some great books to turn to are The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivy, They Were Still Born: Personal Stories About Stillbirth edited by Amy L. Abbey, and Grieving Together: A Couple’s Journey through Miscarriage by Laura Kelly Fanucci and Franco David Fanucci.
8. Make a miscarriage memory box
One way to commemorate a loss is by making a memory box full of objects and knick-knacks that remind of someone who has died.
A miscarriage memory box does that for your pregnancy loss. Creating one together gives you a chance to reflect on your miscarriage, what it means to you both, and how it’s affected you and your relationship.
Not only can a memory box help give meaning to your loss, but it can also provide closure while still honoring the loss you both experienced.
Some things you can put in your miscarriage memory box are sonogram pictures, maternity photos, swaddling blankets, newborn clothing, and baby shower cards.
9. Get or make miscarriage keepsakes
Making or buying a miscarriage keepsake gives you a chance to commemorate your loss together. Having something tangible to turn to can be healing as you both pay tribute to the life that was cut short.
Here are some miscarriage keepsake ideas:
- Birthstone jewelry
- Hand-painted memorial stone
- Star chart of your lost child’s astrological natal chart
- Cremation jewelry if your lost child was cremated
You may also want to give a miscarriage keepsake to your partner as a way to show your love and respect for them, no matter what difficulties you’re facing. This is especially helpful if their love language is gift-giving.
How to Handle Relationship Problems After a Miscarriage
If you’re experiencing relationship problems after a miscarriage, know that you are not alone. It may feel hard now, but you can use this experience to become even closer, learn new ways to communicate with and support each other, and further grow your relationship.
You can get through this with some extra compassion, empathy, understanding, and commitment to each other and the relationship.
- Dugas, Carla, and Valori H Slane. “Miscarriage.” Stat Pearls Publishing, 29 January 2021, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov.
- Gold, Katherine J., and Ananda Sen Hayward. “Marriage and Cohabitation Outcomes After Pregnancy Loss”. Official Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, 7 January 2010, pediatrics.aappublications.org.