Miscarriage can be devastating and the loss can affect you for months or even years to come.
While miscarriages are common, because we don’t talk about them a lot, many people often feel alone.
Grief can take you through depression and anxiety and many other ups and downs. How do you cope so you can begin to heal?
In this guide, we’re sharing 12 ways to cope with miscarriage depression and anxiety.
What is Miscarriage?
When the fetus dies before 20 weeks, it’s called a miscarriage. Although we don’t know the exact amount, it’s estimated that up to half of pregnancies end in miscarriage. A person may know they’re having a miscarriage, or they may not. Most abortions happen before a person even knows they’re pregnant. Although they can happen in the second trimester, most happen before 12 weeks.
Also Read: 7 Symptoms of Early Miscarriage Women Notice After Loss
Why Did It Happen? Miscarriage Causes
It’s natural to worry about what caused the miscarriage, but try not to blame yourself. It’s true that some substances, like alcohol, can cause miscarriage. However, the loss is usually not caused by something a parent did or didn’t do.
Sometimes, doctors aren’t able to pinpoint a reason for miscarriage and the couple easily conceives a few weeks later. Other times, they may be due to chromosomal or uterus abnormalities. Chromosomal abnormalities can happen at random, meaning you can have a successful pregnancy next time. However, sometimes there’s genetic causes and assisted reproduction or other family building options may be considered.
Can a Miscarriage Cause Depression or Anxiety?
If you’ve had a miscarriage and it’s been emotionally difficult, you may wonder, “can a miscarriage cause depression or anxiety?”
The first thing to know is that it’s normal to have a wide range of emotions after a miscarriage.
Although sadness and anxiety can be normal for the grief process, if the feeling doesn’t subside, you might have a clinical disorder. Although it’s nothing to be ashamed about, it’s good to know so that you can get the appropriate help and feel better.
Miscarriage can lead to or worsen depression or anxiety. According to one study, 20% of women who’ve had a miscarriage experience depression and/or anxiety. For the majority of women, these symptoms lasted from one to three years after the loss.
You should also know that you might not be emotionally affected right away. Of those who miscarried, 11% didn’t show depressive symptoms until three to six months after, according to research.
If you believe you’re suffering from anxiety and depression, you may consider professional counseling or seeing a psychotherapist.
Miscarriage: How to Cope
Here’s some tips on working through the grief process of miscarriage.
#1 Give Yourself Permission to Grieve
With social taboos around miscarriage, it can be difficult to talk about. Others might not understand how real the grief is. This can add an unnecessary layer of shame around your grief.
Try to realize that your feeling is completely normal, even if it doesn’t feel like it is. Consider that many people don’t talk about miscarriage. However, behind closed doors, many parents have wept and worried alongside you. To feel less alone, it may be helpful to read 10 Celebrities Who Have Had Miscarriages: You’re Not Alone.
Affirm to yourself that the loss is real and you have every right to grieve.
#2 Talk With Your Social Supports
Talk about how you’re feeling and processing the loss with any safe family members and friends. Since pregnancy loss might affect your partner too, try to create a space where you can both be open and listen to each other.
If your parent isn’t as affected by the loss, they may attempt to “fix” your grief rather than listen to it. If this happens, remind your partner that you’re looking for support, care, and a listening ear—not for a solution. Grief counseling can also clear up miscommunications.
#3 Join Live Online Support Groups
The Postpartum Support International (PSI) is a non-profit organization that holds online support groups for parents. They have frequent pregnancy loss meetings. You can sign up by creating a profile.
#4 Join Facebook Support Groups
When you’re going through grief, it’s helpful to talk with people who understand. Since miscarriage is a different type of grief, it may be hard to find people in your life who can relate.
You can use Facebook pages and groups to share your story and get and give support.
Facebook Groups (private):
- Miscarriage Support
- Recurrent miscarriage / multiple miscarriage support
- The Miscarriage Association
- Miscarriage and Pregnancy Loss Support
- Miscarriage Support Group
- TTC After Miscarriage & Loss
- Miscarriage and infant loss support group
- Pregnancy Loss, Stillbirth & Miscarriage Support Group
- Pregnancy and Infant Loss Support Group
Facebook Pages or Public Groups:
- Miscarriage Matters to Mothers
- Miscarriage Support group
- Miscarriage & Pregnancy Loss
- Ectopic and Miscarriage Support Group
#5 Local Support Groups
Do an online search for local miscarriage support groups. You can also ask your doctor, midwife, or community health center to refer you to any local resources.
#6 Books About Miscarriages
Reading a book about miscarriage is another way to normalize how you’re feeling. In some, you’ll learn about the grief process and how to cope. In others, you’ll hear relatable stories from other parents.
Here are a few to try:
- The Miscarriage Map: What To Expect When You Are No Longer Expecting
- Not Broken: An Approachable Guide to Miscarriage and Recurrent Pregnancy Loss
- Our Stories of Miscarriage: Healing With Words 1st Edition
- About What Was Lost: Twenty Writers on Miscarriage, Healing, and Hope
- A Guide For Fathers: When A Baby Dies
If you don’t have time to read a physical book, you can also listen to audiobooks about miscarriage. These can be comforting to listen to while you’re walking, driving to work, or doing chores.
To find titles available to you, search “miscarriage” or “pregnancy loss” on Audible or use Libby—a free app to access eBooks and audiobooks from your local library. All you need is a library card.
When someone passes away, we mark the death with a funeral or some type of gathering. This helps us grieve as a community. For some, it’s an important part of the healing process.
You can also mark the loss of your baby. Although it won’t make the pain disappear, it can bring a sense of closure. Ways to memorize or mourn your baby include:
- Having a small gathering
- Displaying a special statue
- Hanging an ornament on your tree each year
- Plant a tree or flower in their honor
#9 Journal About Miscarriage
Therapists often recommend journaling to clients because it’s been shown to help depression and anxiety. In a 2017 study, women who experienced a miscarriage said they marked it by writing a diary, poems, or songs.
You can start journaling by writing what’s on your mind or in your heart at the moment. Sometimes, direction can help though. Use prompts like:
- How did you feel about being pregnant?
- How did you find out you miscarried?
- How did you feel when you found out you miscarried?
- What’s the most surprising thing about miscarriage?
#10 Free Printable Miscarriage Booklet
You can also use workbooks or booklets to help you process and work through your emotions. This free printable miscarriage booklet asks you questions about your loss with lines to write your answer. Telling your story and expressing your emotion can make grief feel a little lighter.
Download a free printable miscarriage booklet here.
After a miscarriage, it’s important to seek social support, and it’s also important to support yourself. How can you better care for yourself at this moment? Here’s a few ideas:
- Exercise (can boost endorphins, elevating your mood)
- Massage (can decrease stress levels)
- Go for a special dinner
- Try a new creative hobby
Whichever self-care activity you choose, make sure to take him to relax and heal. Give yourself extra time to do things you enjoy or that calm you.
Whether or not you have a clinical disorder, you may consider the benefits of therapy. A counselor or psychotherapist can help you work through your emotions. They can also discuss coping methods and ways you can support your healing.
You can do a search for a therapist in your area or have your doctor recommend one.
If you can’t afford or don’t have health insurance coverage for a therapist, here’s some other options:
- Ask your doctor about local mental health resources
- Check your community health center for free services or ask them to refer you to resources
- Search for a therapist who works on a sliding scale and modifies their rates based on your income
- Online therapy services (via chat, phone, or video) often offer cheaper rates
Summary: Cope with Miscarriage Depression & Anxiety
The first step to coping with miscarriage is knowing that you have every right to your grief. Seek support from people around you, people online or in in-person groups. You can also use tools like books, audiobooks, and journals. If you can, consider speaking with a professional therapist or counselor, who can help you identify coping methods that work.
P.S. Most people who miscarry go on to have successful pregnancies. When a rainbow baby is in the womb, many parents find comfort in using a fetal doppler. It allows them to hear their baby and their beating heart.