Feelings after miscarriage

Dear Alice,

I just recently had a miscarriage. I was planning on having an abortion, anyway. Well, it hurt a lot. I still feel the pain every once in a while. I even have images of what it would be like if I would have had the child. I was wondering if that was normal, because I really didn't even want the baby. It is really weird and may even be damaging to my relationship with my boyfriend.

Thank you.

Is it the ghost or me?

Dear Is it the ghost or me?,

In some ways, you've had a "double" experience. You may have felt secure about your decision to have an abortion. However, in the process of gathering information to go through with the abortion, you had a miscarriage. It may even seem as if you were pre-empted. It is important to remember that your body has gone through enormous hormonal changes. This may cause you to experience your feelings more intensely than usual. However, like the tide, these emotions will subside with time.

It is normal to experience complex feelings with a miscarriage. Some women have a miscarriage and then go back to their everyday lives with a heavy heart. These women may feel sad and long for the life that their baby never had. Other women may feel relief, or perhaps that their miscarriage happened for a reason. Either way, it is important to let your emotions flow. Being honest with yourself about your feelings is an essential part of the healing process.

Perhaps you can speak with a trusted family member, friend, mentor, or clergy member about your experience. Various types of support (in-person and online) also exist for individuals who have gone through a miscarriage. The following links may provide some insight:

Another important resource in this situation is your partner. While it may be difficult, perhaps the two of you can have an open and honest dialogue about your miscarriage experience. The two of you can discuss where you will go from here, what each of you wants from your relationship, ways to meet one another's emotional and physical needs, and how to move forward and enjoy each other’s company. Gradually, you will feel more like yourself, and your relationship with your partner may strengthen in the process.

Sometimes it can be really helpful to seek out professional help. If you still find yourself with these feelings after an extended period of time, if your feelings intensify, or if your feelings interfere with your productivity, you may want to speak with a professional counselor. If you are experiencing physical pain, it's crucial to see a health care provider right away.

Wishing you solace during this trying time,

Last updated Jul 14, 2015
Originally published Mar 08, 1996

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