The psychological impact of a Miscarriage – Pregnancy Loss
Studies show that one in every four pregnancies end up in miscarriage. For a long time, the psychological effects of miscarriages were rarely talked about, yet the condition has been linked to post traumatic stress disorder. Unfortunately, the depression and anxiety a woman who has had a miscarriage can last for years even after they end up giving to a healthy child. Their mental problems still remain unresolved.
Some of the mental effects of a miscarriage are:
As a baby grows in a mother’s womb, the mother develops a sense of oneness with their fetuses. From early stages of pregnancy, psychological and physiological processes are set in motion in preparation of motherhood. So, when she suffers a miscarriage, she is left in a situation of emotional readiness for a baby that will never be. In time, she becomes sensitive to those around her with babies or those expecting babies. Shopping becomes difficult because it is a constant reminder of her loss. In the end, she begins to imagine what it would be like if the miscarriage did not happen.
2. Parental self-image
Miscarriages can mar one’s parental self-image. Many women look forward to becoming parents and they begin planning for it long before they actually do. Therefore, the loss of the child brings out a sense of personal failure. She may begin harboring feelings of inadequacy as a woman and a mother. If it is a miscarriage of the first pregnancy, then she begins to question her future fertility. More often than not she feels guilty of failing to meet the expectations of partners, children and parents. She blames herself for the miscarriage, yet it is a situation beyond her control.
In cases where the pregnancy was unplanned or faced hostility, a miscarriage may be a relief for a short time until the grieving process begins. She will have feelings of inadequacy or defectiveness and will always put herself on a microscope in search of a reason why the miscarriage happened. She believes she contributed to the miscarriage in one way or another and questions the influence of every activity they engaged in while she was still pregnant.
Anger is an expected reaction in any kind of loss. A woman who experienced a miscarriage always wonders if she really did enough to prevent it. She is dissatisfied that there may probably no apparent reason for the miscarriage. She gets angry at others and misdirects the blame to them. It gets harder when she receives insensitive comments from well-meaning friends and family.
5. Psychiatric consequences
Unresolved depression and anxiety can lead to clinical depression which can evolve into a psychiatric problem even for subsequent pregnancies.
6. Psychological effects
- Feelings of disbelief
- Feelings of failure
- Sense of inadequacy
- Doubts about femininity
- Feeling of damage
- Anger towards self, family and friends
- Uncontrollable crying
- Low self esteem
The mental effects of a miscarriage can be detrimental if not dealt with. A woman who has such an experience should be reminded that she had no control over the situation. She should be loved unconditionally, and her feelings understood.