An angel in the book of life wrote down my baby’s birth. Then whispered as she closed the book “Too beautiful for earth.”
Early Pregnancy Loss
Studies show that 71–75 percent of women who miscarry experience the miscarriage as the loss of a baby. When they interviewed over 100 women who miscarried, Allen and Marks found that their experiences went beyond the physical realm. Searching for reasons that the miscarriage occurred, feeling isolated and lonely, wondering if their dreams mean they are going crazy, grieving differently than their partner or other family members, and wondering how long these feelings would last were issues of importance to women who miscarried. The message is, when pregnancy ends in a miscarriage, it is a crisis within a crisis. The whole person is affected—physically, emotionally, socially and spiritually.
Physically, the hormonal changes of early pregnancy require the body to use much energy adapting to a new state of physical equilibrium. With miscarriage, the body needs even more energy to readjust hormonal levels once more.
Driven by a desire to decrease morbidity and mortality, medical care is inundated with new techniques designed to increase the efficiency of health care delivery. The focus of care with early pregnancy loss is on the physical needs of the mother. But there are psychosocial effects from adjusting to the idea of being pregnant, preparing to become a new parent or parent a baby again. When suddenly it all ends, many questions arise: “Why me, why my baby, what did I do wrong?”
Socially, seldom is there a public display of sympathy or an acknowledgement of the loss for the parents. Family and friends may express concern over the other’s traumatic experience, but may not acknowledge the experience as the loss of their baby. A sense of aloneness or isolation can be very deep.
— Fran Rybarik, excerpted from “Early Pregnancy Losses,” Midwifery Today Issue 41
The Art of Midwifery
Miscarriages are labor; miscarriages are birth. To consider them less dishonors the woman who womb has held life, however briefly. The physical pain from miscarriage can be as intense as that of a full-term birth.
All the comfort measures that ease the pain of a laboring woman may help with the physical sensations of miscarriage: heated blankets, hot water bottles, warm baths or position changes. She needs to be held and allowed to cry. She needs someone to acknowledge that her loss is real and powerful. One shouldn’t downplay length of gestation or offer biological facts in an attempt to minimize her grief.
— Kathryn Miller Ridiman, excerpted from “Supporting a Mother Whose Pregnancy Has Ended,” Midwifery Today Issue 41, Spring 1997