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How To Cope With Premature Birth Stillbirth And Miscarriage

Updated on August 22, 2016
aceresumes profile image

A mother and a dedicated nurse who values children and family. A passionate writer aiming to help others by sharing my own experiences.

The Early Miscarriage Of Pregnancy

The loss of a baby after the first trimester occurs in approximately two to five percent which poses a relatively low risk to women's health. Miscarriage after twelve weeks is relatively rare and are more likely to be caused by blood disorder a structural problem with the umbilical cord placenta or cervix or it can be the result of an infection or severe for poisoning such as salmonella. For twin babies, the loss of one of the embryos is most likely to occur before eight weeks of pregnancy. When one baby dies during the trimester the remaining tissues are often completed and reabsorbed causing one of the twins to disappear. This is known as vanishing twin syndrome on many occasion will happen before a twin pregnancy was even detected but increased use of early ultrasound scans means that it is now more widely observed. In the first trimester, the loss of one twin can be symptomless or it may follow the pattern of a miscarriage resulting in some bleeding with or without lower abdominal cramping which is associated with the of loss of the other baby.

Parents dealing with grief after the loss of a baby
Parents dealing with grief after the loss of a baby

After The Loss of Pregnancy

The loss of a pregnancy between thirteen and twenty weeks is called a late miscarriage. A baby who has died in the womb after twenty weeks is known as an intrauterine death and recorded as a stillbirth. Whatever your particular situation miscarriage and stillbirth are immensely distressing but there is help available so you can come to terms with your loss. Around one in twenty births are affected and twins are at greater risk. Recognized causes of stillbirth are congenital.

After a Miscarriage:

  • The further along in pregnancy, the longer the period of bleeding will be for the mother. The pain will gradually become lesser. You are likely to get your period four to six weeks after a miscarriage. This period may be heavier than usual.
  • Even though one in four pregnancies ends in a loss, it is usually difficult to know the exact cause. This can be difficult to accept because there is no certainty as to why the miscarriage happened. A miscarriage is unlikely to have happened because of anything you did or didn't do. Some babies who are miscarried are totally medically unexplained and potentially could have been as healthy as you or me and lived a long and productive life.
  • Sex the night before you lost the baby cannot injure the baby. If you have certain problems during pregnancy such as your placenta being too low your doctor will tell you.
  • Many women feel anxious about becoming pregnant and miscarrying again and some find it helpful to get early scans during the pregnancy as a reassurance that the pregnancy is progressing.

Whatever your particular situation miscarriage and stillbirth are immensely distressing.
Whatever your particular situation miscarriage and stillbirth are immensely distressing.

Its Normal To Feel Angry And Hurt

It is frequently said that the grief of bereaved parents is the most intense grief known. It is impossible to understand how much a parent loves a child until that child is gone. Grieving parents have to deal with the contradiction of wanting to be free of the overwhelming pain of the loss, and at times do not understand why they feel as if they have lost an integral part of their very being. The mother may be deeply grieving, in a phase of searching and yearning while the father has moved to an acceptance and resolution phase. This can often place stress on parents' relationship at this very difficult time.

Mothers Dealing With Grief

For many women the difficult aspect of stillbirth or miscarriage is the physical and emotional pain. The physical pain may be short term and the emotional effects may last for years. When a baby who is still a physical part of a woman’s body dies, the mother may feel that a part of her dies too. The loss of a baby may leave a mother experience strong feeling of disappointment and a sense of failure. A woman can feel like she has failed her child and also fail in the most basic role of what it means to be a woman. Sense of failure usually results in feelings of guilt at having disappointed her partner by being unable to give birth to a healthy child this feeling is also difficult to express to her partner and can heighten the associated feeling of guilt. Women can also feel that they have done something that caused concern the pregnancy loss.

Fathers feel overlooked and feel that the concern for their loss is not as great as the mother's.
Fathers feel overlooked and feel that the concern for their loss is not as great as the mother's.

How Fathers Feel After Losing A Baby

The father of the unborn baby usually takes on the role as a protector and provider of the family. Fathers of stillborn children often feel that they could not protect the child during the pregnancy and as a result will not have the opportunity to nurture that child. When a baby dies the anguish of the mother is visible to the world because she has the physical experience of pregnancy and giving birth. This does not happen for fathers. They can feel overlooked and feel that the concern for their loss is not as great as the mothers.

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Feelings Of Anger And Hurt Is A Normal Part Of Grieving

Anger and hurt will flow during the grieving process. At times of grief when help is desperately needed to deal with the emotional pain, many people do close off from friends and family as they try to deal with their turmoil. It is also not unusual for feelings of jealousy and resentment to a surface, particularly when other people are seen to be enjoying healthy pregnancies or on seeing families with healthy children. A father can experience anger and frustration when his attempts to comfort and lessen his partner's emotional distress appear to fail or be ineffective. There can also be anger felt at what is seen to be insensitivity of people not fully understanding the loss their child and the depth of the grief that is being felt. Breaking this news might also feel difficult if family and friends have been supportive of and excited about the pregnancy.

Things You Can Do To Remember Your Baby

Some things you can do to help remember your baby include

The planting of a special tree

A plaque placed in the children's memorial section of the cemetery

Naming a star after the child

Writing in a journal or putting together a memory box of things you associated with your pregnancy

Helping Children Through Loss And Divorce

Whether it is the death of a pet goldfish or her parents’ divorce is losses. Surviving loss is not a specific development rather children at each age cope in their own way. It is our job to help our children acknowledge and move through the grief.It is not kind or helpful to pretend that the deceased is sleeping or away on a trip nor is it helpful in the long run to interpret your child’s silence as acceptance. It is normal for human beings to get angry when we lose something we cherish. Usually, the more support we get for our anger the more directly we will show it.

Supporting Your Child through the Grieving Process

Physical touch can be very reassuring to a child when he is grieving and may help him feel safe enough to express or even just feel his pain. In some situations particularly when a child experiences a loss over which they have some control it may be useful to do some brainstorming after the listening and holding. The hardest loss a child faces is the death of a parent or other close family member. You will be facing the loss of a loved one as well and it is important that you get support for yourself while helping your child. If a death is sudden and unexpected your child’s and your grieving process may be more complicated. An unanticipated death precludes preparation and closure and you may find yourself making funeral plans and attending to children’s questions and shock all while doing your own grieving. It may be very important to ask for help in handling the immediate demands of running a household in these situations. Returning to day to day life after the death of a family member may be more difficult than the time immediately after the loss. As shock and you and your child are faced with the acute sense of loss of how the person who died used to participate in your family’s life and no longer does.

Stillbirth Babies

While some may be trying to complete their family for others this means stopping their attempts to have their first child. Thinking of facing life without children or without completing your family can raise many new questions and can be quite a confusing and emotional time. A life without children might be difficult to think about but it does allow you to reconnect with your partner and work on goals and dreams that can be achieved together. There is no right way of coping with infertility. It is important to allow you and your partner to have time to accept that children may not be a part of your future. There will be times when it is easier to accept and manage this than others.


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    • aceresumes profile imageAUTHOR

      Vicky Ann 

      23 months ago from Australia

      Thanks for sharing. My mother also had 2 miscarriages and I did not really see her fret. Although I was pretty young back then , I did not really notice. Although my mother did talk about it openly at home. She lost 2 boys and had 2 girls instead.

    • Julie Nou profile image

      Julie Nou 

      23 months ago from Celestial Heaven

      Just wondering... my mom had a miscarriage back when i was like 10 years old and she never fret about it.


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