Miscarriage is a deeply emotional experience, and people often struggle to find resources for miscarriage support. Dr. Lora Shahine, the Director of our Center for Recurrent Pregnancy Loss at PNWF, has found these resources helpful for her patients who have experienced isolated or recurrent pregnancy loss. If you have experienced a miscarriage, you are not alone, and we hope these resources provide some support during your healing process.
Importance of Support and Resources After a Miscarriage
Pregnancy loss is a distressing and even traumatic experience. Studies have shown that common symptoms and signs of depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder often occur or worsen after miscarriage and recurrent pregnancy loss. Although miscarriage is very common, affecting around 1 in 4 confirmed pregnancies, it is often misunderstood or stigmatized. Without support, people who have experienced miscarriages can feel shame, self-doubt, or guilt. Their partners are also deeply affected, often with feelings of helplessness, anger, and frustration.
Fortunately, studies have also shown that pregnant people who receive supportive care in their first trimester have decreased miscarriage rates. This support includes additional medical monitoring or counseling and emotional care. If you have experienced pregnancy loss, receiving quality physical and emotional support is key to processing your grief.
Support and Wellness Resources for Miscarriage
Emotional and mental health is just as important as physical health. Counseling, whether individual or with your partner, can be a wonderful lifeline as you go through the many emotions and grief of miscarriage. If your health insurance covers counseling, they probably also have a list of covered counselors and their specialities. Look for a counselor with experience in infertility, miscarriage, and/or grief. And if the first person you talk to doesn’t feel right, keep looking – it might take a few meetings, but finding a counselor you connect with makes all the difference.
Many people are surprised to learn how common miscarriage is. Joining a support group with other people with similar experiences can help you feel less alone. If there isn’t a group specifically for miscarriage or recurrent pregnancy loss in your area, consider looking for virtual groups, or groups for infertility or child loss, who will often welcome people experiencing pregnancy loss. Churches often offer support groups for everyone regardless of their faith. Some hospitals also offer support groups. The National Infertility Association’s website Resolve.org has excellent resources and support for miscarriage and infertility, including lists of support groups.
Meditation and Mindfulness
Meditation and mindfulness are both practices that focus on self-awareness, being present in the moment, and quieting the mind. Meditation benefits from regular practice, while mindfulness activities can often be simpler or less intimidating for beginners. Both offer a chance for you to step away from your busy thoughts and feelings and create space to just be. There are many resources available to help with your meditation or mindfulness practice. Some popular ones include: Calm, Stop, Breathe, & Think, Insight Timer, Headspace, and Smiling Mind.
People who experience miscarriage can feel disconnected from or have negative feelings towards their bodies. Restorative exercise can be a wonderful way to reconnect and embrace your body. Talk to your doctor about what’s right for you, but walking, hiking, and more can be wonderful for your overall health. Yoga can also offer a way to explore the mind/body connection, as well as increasing flexibility and reducing stress. There are videos of all sorts of exercises available online, at all experience levels, so you can get in touch with your body without having to leave home.
We’ve listed several outside resources for support after a miscarriage, but it’s also important to support yourself. Self-care can look different for everyone, but at its core, it is making yourself and your needs a priority. In times of grief or crisis, it’s especially easy to throw yourself into taking care of others as a way to avoid your own painful feelings or human needs. Think about how you would care for a friend in a similar situation, and then offer that same compassion to yourself. This can look like:
- Making time for good sleep
- Keeping your body active, but resting when you need it
- Planning ahead or asking a friend to help with healthy, nourishing meals
- Giving yourself permission to take a break from socializing or extra work commitments
- Surrounding yourself with loving, supportive people
- Focusing on your partnership and nurturing each other with compassion, patience, and forgiveness as you share this difficult experience
Reach out for More Resources for Miscarriage Support
After a miscarriage, your care and well-being are the most important thing. These resources can help provide a structure for processing your feelings and experiences, in addition to taking care of your basic needs and leaning on a support system of compassionate friends and family. At PNWF, we are here for you with additional support and guidance. If you have experienced a miscarriage and are looking for more resources, reach out to us today.
This article was adapted from Dr. Shahine’s 2017 article, “Not Broken: The Emotional Impact of Miscarriage and Recurrent Pregnancy Loss.”