About 10-25% of pregnancies end in miscarriage. This can be a very emotional experience for a woman and her partner, and it is important to recognize the genuine pain and loss of this experience (no matter how early in the pregnancy this may have occurred).
Please know that this is not your fault. Sadness and confusion are natural responses to this loss, and there are resources to support your healing.
If you have experienced a miscarriage, we encourage you to check out Through the Heart for resources and support.
We understand that you made a difficult decision, and now you may be living with an overabundance of conflicting emotions. We encourage you to reach out to these organizations. They will offer you support, compassion, and opportunities to heal. You will not be alone on this journey.
Contact these organizations if you are feeling angry, confused, or emotional after an abortion.
What is Miscarraige?
Contact your health provider immediately if you are experiencing any of the signs of miscarriage.
General Risk Factors
General Risk Factors
- Mother’s age: 35 or older
- Exposure to dangerous chemicals (e.g.
Tetrachloroethylene, arsenic, lead, formaldehyde, benzene, ethylene oxide)
- Lifestyle choices (e.g. Alcohol or drug use, excessive caffeine intake, cigarette smoking)
- Father’s age: 35 or older
- Trauma (e.g. car accident or other serious physical injury)
Stages of Miscarriage
Medical Risk Factors
Medical History Risk Factors
If your medical history includes any of the following, you may be at an increased risk for miscarriage:
- 3 or more previous miscarriages
- Polycystic ovary syndrome
- Exposure to or use of certain medicines (e.g. acne medications that include isotretinoin)
- Certain bacterial or viral infections during pregnancy
- Problems with the structure of your uterus
Your Rights During Miscarriage
The following rights are outlined by Elizabeth Ministry International in the post, “Your Rights During Miscarriage .”
- You have the right to another ultrasound to confirm beyond any doubt that your baby has passed.
- You have the right to request a copy of the picture.
- You have the right to a funeral for your baby.
- You have the right to bury your baby. If the baby’s body passes in the hospital or the remains removed via a D&C, you have the right to your baby’s remains. Be aware that in some states, there may be laws governing how his or her body is released.
- You have the right to ask to be tested for progesterone levels and an immediate prescription for supplements if there is a chance it could save your baby.
- You have the right to know all the short-term and long-term risks of a D&C procedure. For some women, a D&C may be the smartest option. But women deserve to know that it has the risk of causing infertility or compromising a future pregnancy, weakening the cervix resulting in a future premature birth, or complicating a future birth because of scar tissue.
- You have the right to refuse a vaginal exam. If baby is still alive, it can increase the risk of a membrane rupture and preterm labor, compromising the life of the baby. They also carry the risk of infection to the mother.
- You have the right to have the father, a doula, and/or other support person present during any medical exams or treatment.
- You have the right to hold your baby’s body and not be rushed.
- You have the right to choose some sort of pain relief.
- You have the right to take personal time from work.
- You have the right to say no.
- You have the right to choose to do nothing.
- You have the right to opt to deliver the baby’s body at home.
- You have the right to ask questions.
- You have the right to trust your instincts.
- You have the right to not have any concerns dismissed.
- You have the right to be treated with respect and dignity and at any point you have the right to change providers or ask for a new staff member.
- You have the right to name your baby, grieve your baby, and talk (or not) about your baby.
Coping with the Grief of Loss
Women and their partners are emotionally impacted by a miscarriage, and each may cope with the loss in a different way. You may feel sad, shocked, overwhelmed, angry, guilty, or any number of emotions. Your grief may also make you feel physically exhausted, irritable, distracted, etc. Know that you are not alone in this experience. We recognize that your pain and loss are real. Your baby was significant. You deserve to be cared for as you heal.
BabyCentre offers 8 suggestions as you recover:
- Accept your feelings, whatever they are
- Give yourself time
- Take time off (from work or school)
- Understand that your partner may not grieve in the same way
- Be prepared for difficulties in your relationship and communicate as best as you can
- Talk to other people
- Understand why some friends and colleagues may stay away
- Get support
We understand that you made a difficult decision, and now you may be living with an overabundance of conflicting emotions. We encourage you to reach out to these organizations. They will offer you support, compassion, and opportunities to heal. You will not be alone on this journey. Contact these organizations if you are feeling angry, confused, or emotional after an abortion.
Abortion Recovery helps individuals and families overcome the emotional and psychological complications that are often experienced after an abortion. Recovery is often free, always confidential, and is available to ANYONE impacted by the loss of a child by abortion. Abortion Recovery changes your life forever. It gives you a sense of personal peace which heals internal brokenness, repairs relationships, and brings back intimate friendships. Recovery gives a new beginning to life following an abortion.
Find a help center near you!
Support After Abortion
Support After Abortion is a network of support for women and men impacted by reproductive loss. “Healing after pregnancy loss permits men and women the opportunity to share their grief and loss with others who have experienced similar pain. People experience healing from sharing their stories with others who will not judge them. Theresa Burke writes in her book, Forbidden Grief, ‘It is only when we have the support of others who will not judge or condemn us that we feel safe from social rejection. This support makes it easier for us to confront and explore the deepest part of our souls.
Join a Virtual Support Group
Rachel’s Vineyard weekends for healing after abortion are offered throughout the year in locations across the United States and Canada, with additional sites around the world. They also offer a 15-week support group model for Rachel’s Vineyard. The program is an opportunity to examine your abortion experience, identify the ways that the loss has impacted you in the past and present, and helps to acknowledge any unresolved feelings that many individuals struggle with after abortion. Because of the emotional numbness and secrecy that often surrounds an abortion experience, conflicting emotions both during and after the event may remain unresolved. These buried feelings can surface later and may be symptoms of post abortion trauma.
Project Rachel operates as a network of healing composed of specially-trained caregivers which may include priests, deacons, sisters, lay staff and volunteers, mental health professionals, spiritual directors, mentors, chaplains and others, such as medical personnel. These individuals, often working as a team, provide direct care to women, men and adolescents who have been touched by an abortion loss, enabling them to grieve, receive forgiveness, and find peace. Although most dioceses use the name Project Rachel, some programs are named differently. In addition to individualized counseling, some programs include support groups and retreats. Project Rachel programs can be found in about 150 Catholic dioceses in the United States, as well as in dioceses in other countries.