Pregnancy is often a time of excitement, anticipation, and joy. It can be common to start dreaming about meeting your baby, envisioning the life that may come to pass for you, your baby and your family, and your new role as a parent. Early pregnancy can also be a very intimate, guarded, and lonely experience, as it is common to wait to disclose your pregnancy until you reach the second trimester. As such, people who experience miscarriage in the first trimester may feel utterly alone, directionless, and unsupported in processing the wide range of emotions that encapsulates the experience of pregnancy loss.
My wish with this post is to provide you with some helpful information in hopes it may help bring peace and ease to your journey with pregnancy loss. Or for those of you looking to support a friend or loved one on this journey, educate yourselves on what your loved one may be experiencing and ways that you can offer them support.
First and foremost, miscarriage in the first trimester is incredibly common. It is estimated that 15-20% of birthing parents experience miscarriage (and this may be as high as 31%).
About half of birthing parents suffer from some type psychological sequelae (grief, sadness, anxiety, etc)
There is a wide range of normal reactions to pregnancy loss. This includes grief, guilt, depression, anxiety, PTSD, increased risk for suicide (for the first year following miscarriage), and increased anxiety with future pregnancies
There is also a wide range of normal reactions for others who may be impacted, including non-birthing parents, living children, and grandparents
Different types of terminations (ie, for medical reasons vs elective) will have different impacts and meanings
It is common for emotions to intensify around anniversary dates (date of positive pregnancy test, due date, date of miscarriage, date of procedure)
50-80% of people who experience miscarriage have a subsequent pregnancy.
I hope this information sheds some light on what feel like a very lonely and dark journey. Looking for additional resources, support groups, books, podcasts, articles, and more? Take a look at the free Perinatal Loss Resources here.