When an anticipated birth turns into a crisis pregnancy and then into a miscarriage, all of those who have been anticipating the birth of the child will need time and loving support in order to move past the sorrow. When a crisis pregnancy is ongoing the health of the mother is the foremost concern. In many cases a woman who may be at risk of miscarriage will already be in a hospital or birthing center specially prepared for the crisis pregnancy. However, many times a crisis pregnancy will occur without warning, due to sudden changes in the health of the mother or unforeseen complications in the pregnancy itself or during the delivery process.
Even after the physical healing has begun, however, there may be many months during which the entire family will have to come to grips with the crisis pregnancy and the miscarriage. How should a family face the emotional challenges that assault its members after the disappointment and loss of a miscarriage?
The first and understandable response from all involved and from their friends may be to attempt to ignore the loss, to pretend that it never happened or to pretend that it is not important. This is not a good approach. Even early term crisis pregnancy leading to a miscarriage can be emotionally devastating. Keeping the lines of communication open is extremely important. A crisis pregnancy can be taxing not just on the parents individually, but also on their marriage. Many marriages become strained and some even disintegrate under the burdens of sorrow and misplaced guilt that come from a miscarriage. All involved must talk with each other and let their partners know that they are supportive. A period of marital counseling might also be in order.
After having a crisis pregnancy, the wife may experience a period of postpartum depression characterized by anxiety and lack of energy that can vary in both depth and duration. This depression may occur due to the hormonal changes in her body as well as mental and emotional anguish. The husband may also experience depression, anxiety and lethargy. Both partners should be alert to these and other symptoms which may signal that one or both of them is experiencing difficulty. During this time the couple should keep in close contact with their mental and physical healthcare providers.
Siblings (including the very young) may also feel the aftershocks of a crisis pregnancy. Even children too young to understand the concept of miscarriage will know that something unexpected and sad has occurred. If the crisis pregnancy is not talked about with them, they may not heal or they may begin to feel guilty as if they had something to do with the turn of events. One or both parents or a loved relative should sit down with the children and discuss the miscarriage with them in terms appropriate to their age levels.
Grandparents are often overlooked in the tumult of a crisis pregnancy. When a miscarriage happens they, too, have lost an anticipated family addition. It may be impossible for the mother and father to deal with their grief and the sorrow of their own parents as well. Therefore, they may want to ask friends or other family members to discuss the crisis pregnancy with the grandparents and, if necessary, to help them find counseling to deal with their feelings.
A crisis pregnancy is difficult for the entire family. After a miscarriage happens all of the family's members must come together and look after each other. Particular attention should be paid to the parents, but all of the family members' feelings should be considered.