Losing a baby through a miscarriage can be heartbreaking. Your reaction is your own and no-one can tell you how you should or shouldn’t be feeling. There is no right or wrong way to feel about pregnancy loss. Your partner may share many of your emotions, or none of them. We’ve spoken to thousands of women about how they felt after a miscarriage. Some of the women who have shared their stories with us have spoken about emotions such as grief, guilt, emptiness, fear and loneliness. You may find it reassuring to read about other women’s experiences but your own feelings will still be unique to you.
You may not have experienced the chance to meet or hold your baby but that doesn’t mean your grief is less real or not right and shouldn’t stop you from grieving for the baby you conceived. From the moment you discover you’re pregnant, you might start imagining your baby’s future. You may need some time to mourn your baby and all the hopes and dreams you had for it.
Some couples don’t feel comfortable with this grief. You may feel it’s unjustified because you never met your baby. But don’t be afraid or embarrassed to acknowledge your miscarriage as the loss of a baby. Give yourself the opportunity to grieve for it. No matter how many people say, ‘it wasn’t really a baby yet’ – you may feel in your heart that it was a baby the moment you conceived and no-one can undermine that.
“I am a mother of three – the unusual bit is that our three are not with us…I'd had hope and dreams for all my little ones, I'd loved them fiercely and wanted to protect them.” Sarah's story. Read more...
‘Loss’ might not be the right word for you either – you might feel like it sounds careless. It is up to you how you want to talk about your miscarriage.
You might be in shock. Shock at what you’ve been through physically, losing the baby. Shock if you had no signs anything was wrong and are told there is no heartbeat at the scan. One minute you might be feeling full of excitement at being pregnant, the next your hopes and dreams are shattered. Miscarriage can come as a huge shock to some couples and it is natural to need time to make sense of what has happened.
“One minute we were sitting happy and excited in the waiting room, ready to see our baby for the first time. The next we were being ushered to a different unit in the hospital to discuss how to have our baby removed. Shock doesn’t begin to describe it. I hadn’t had any indication there was anything wrong. I’d never even heard of a missed miscarriage. It didn’t feel real.” Marta
Failure and guilt
You may feel like you’ve failed as a mother. The idea that a baby in your care, inside you, could stop growing can be very difficult to face. You might feel terrible guilt that you are responsible in some way for your baby not being born. You might question all the things you’ve done over the last few weeks and wonder whether there was some action that caused your baby’s brief life to end.
These feelings are common – some mums can’t help feeling them. But please try to be kind to yourself. Miscarriages are very common and it is unlikely that anything you did affected your baby.
“What if there is something I can do next time to tip the odds in my baby's favour? Because right now, if someone with a medical qualification told me I had to spend my entire pregnancy hopping on one foot while only eating broccoli and wholemeal bread, I'd do it if I thought it would raise my chances of giving birth to another healthy baby.”Catherine's story. Read more...
To be a mum, physically and emotionally, one moment and for this to be taken away the next can leave you feeling empty.
“When you get that positive pregnancy test, you are a mother-to-be. Whether it's 5, 10, or 26 weeks, you are changed.” Louise's story. Read more...
Loss of control
One of the most frightening , and overwhelming, aspects of parenthood is that so much is out of your control. You cannot always control when you get pregnant, and it is out of your hands whether that baby will grow into a little person. All you can do is follow advice and prepare your body as best as you can – and that doesn’t guarantee anything. This can be very hard to accept.
With miscarriage, there are often unanswered questions. Most couples never find out what caused it. When something this devastating happens – and you don’t know why – it can be both frightening and frustrating.
“The worst part for me is the not knowing why. Why did my babies die? How could I carry a perfectly healthy child the first time and not the second or third? Why can't they test me to find out? Why? Why? Why?” Leanne
If you think about trying again then you might find yourself overcome with fear and anxiety that you might have another miscarriage, or complications in pregnancy . This is a natural reaction, particularly ifthere seems to be no reason for your miscarriage, or if this isn’t your first miscarriage.
You may find these anxieties magnify if you conceive again and you may feel them throughout your next pregnancy. Have a look at our pages on ‘Trying again’.
If you are finding it difficult to cope with these feelings, please don’t hesitate to talk to your GP. Or you might want to consider counselling from a qualified therapist to help you manage your anxieties. Use the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapist directory to find a qualified therapist near you.
You may find yourself feeling envious, resentful or just unable to be happy for someone else when they announce their pregnancy, or the birth of their newborn. It can be particularly difficult if the timing coincides with important dates for you in relation to your own loss.
Try not to be hard on yourself – lots of mums experience this.
“But it just hits you from nowhere. I walked into a toilet last week in a restaurant, smack bang into a pregnant lady. It almost ruined my day. I see friends get pregnant and I resent them.” Read more...
Loss of trust in your body
You might feel let down by your body. You might feel like it has played tricks on you, particularly if you had a missed miscarriage and had no signs that your baby had died. You might feel a strange disconnect between you and your body. In future pregnancies you might feel this same lack of faith in your body – and resent the fact you’re unable to enjoy your pregnancy.
Don’t forget that you will be affected physically, as well as emotionally. Your hormone levels are rapidly changing after a miscarriage, and mood swings and tears are normal. It may take a bit of time before your body feels normal again.
“‘The trouble with miscarriage is that most people don’t understand what it is you’ve actually lost. I’ve lost my babies. I’ve lost the ability to be excited about pregnancy. I’ve lost trust in my body, in hospitals and in statistics. Most of all I’ve lost faith, in myself and in the future.” Melissa's story. Read more...
If your pregnancy wasn’t planned, you might be struggling with conflicting emotions. You might feel an uncomfortable mix of loss, relief and guilt. Or you may feel devastated and undermined if other people assume you are relieved.
You may not have told many people about your pregnancy. Some women find themselves feeling alone in their grief because nobody knew they were pregnant in the first place.
Think about whether you might want to tell your line manager, a close colleague, friends or family - or anyone you want – there is nothing wrong with being open. Being able to talk about your loss might help you to feel less lonely and better supported.
“I for one found the thought of waiting three months to tell our families and close friends impossible. The way they shared in our excitement and later our grief really meant something to us. Conversely, I found it almost impossible to tell anyone at work,I didn’t feel I could share my loss. I had a silent scream in my head I couldn’t let out.” Read more...
There is no right or wrong way to feel after a miscarriage. No matter what mix of emotions you are experiencing , please know you are not alone.
We are just a phone call away if you need to share these feelings. Call 0800 0147 800 or email email@example.com
If you are concerned about your health, or if you are struggling to cope after losing a baby, talk to your GP, who will be able to tell you more about how to access local support or get a referral.
If you need support, please don't suffer alone. We have details of organisations who can help.
You and your partner have both experienced a miscarriage but you may react to it very differently. Everyone has their own way of grieving and it helps to accept and respect those differences.
In honour of National New Friends and Old Friends Week, Sam from Storms and Rainbows shares her advice on supporting a loved one through baby loss, based on her own experience of what helped.
Sana from Trying For Baby writes a beautiful and touching piece, dedicated to all of the women going through the pain of miscarriage. 'You are not alone'.
The 3 days of agony I went through could have potentially been avoided if someone had just listened.
I will never forget the two babies that I never got to meet, and I always wonder if they would have been boys or girls and what they would have been like.
- The Miscarriage Association, Feelings after pregnancy loss http://www.miscarriageassociation.org.uk/support/feelings-after-pregnancy-loss/
- Case studies: As I wonder what the future holds, all I can do is hold my husband’s hand and keep getting up each day, by Sarah https://www.tommys.org/home/generic/blog/as-i-wonder-what-the-future-holds-all-i-can-do-is-hold-my-husbands-hand-and-keep-getting-up-each-day
- The only explanation I've had so far is 'bad luck' By Catherine Boyle http://www.tommys.org/catherine-boyle
- When you get that positive pregnancy test, you are a mother-to-be. Whether it's 5, 10, or 26 weeks, you are changed. By Louise Clark https://www.tommys.org/home/generic/blog/when-you-get-that-positive-pregnancy-test-you-are-a-mother-to-be
- After time things are supposed to get easier and you feel you can't keep bringing it up. By Leanne https://www.tommys.org/home/generic/blog/i-used-to-think-you-could-bounce-back-from-miscarriage
- After all we’d been through, the moment we got those two lines we started imagining our baby https://www.tommys.org/home/generic/blog/after-all-wed-been-through-the-moment-we-got-those-two-lines-we-started-imagining-our-baby
- I was shaking as I was led to table for the scan By Melissa https://www.tommys.org/home/generic/blog/i-was-shaking-as-i-was-led-to-the-table-for-my-scan
ℹLast reviewed on August 1st, 2016. Next review date August 1st, 2019.