Miscarriage Counseling: Seeking Support and Healing
Enduring a miscarriage can be an emotionally and physically taxing. You and your partner may feel a range of emotions from sadness to guilt to depression to anger. Seeking the outside support of miscarriage counseling could offer some objective insight you both need to help guide you through a difficult time.
Reasons to Seek Miscarriage Counseling
When a pregnancy loss happens, partners may deal with it differently. Men may not be as expressive with their own feelings as they try to support their female partners. For women who just experienced the miscarriage, they are also dealing with physical symptoms and changing hormones in addition to their own grief. Having a neutral place like miscarriage counseling where you speak openly and work through your feelings with an objective party can help facilitate communication as you work through this difficult time. Miscarriage counseling even on an individual basis could be incredibly beneficial if you find yourself exhibiting any of the following behavior or symptoms:
- Difficulty sleeping or sleeping too much
- Difficulty concentrating
- Loss of appetite
- Frequently crying
- Difficulty maintaining social relationships with friends or family
- Suicidal thoughts or thoughts of self-harm
Finding Someone Who Offers Miscarriage Counseling
If you or you and your partner want to pursue miscarriage counseling, a good place to start is asking either your OB/GYN or your Reproductive Endocrinologist (if you’ve been undergoing fertility treatment) if there is one they would recommend. Some fertility clinics occasionally have a mental health expert on staff that you can arrange to see as well.
Another resource is Resolve: the National Infertility Association, which has a directory of experts and this PDF guide from Reproductive.org where you could research therapists who specialize in pregnancy loss and miscarriage counseling. You can also consider contacting Psychotherapists in your area and asking if they specialize in pregnancy loss or grief.
Beyond Miscarriage Counseling: How Can I Heal?
It’s important to note that while miscarriages are unfortunately common, according to the American Society of Reproductive Medicine (ASRM), if you’ve experienced more than two pregnancy losses, you should seek help of a reproductive endocrinologist if you haven’t already. While seeking the emotional support of miscarriage counseling, making certain your addressing any potential physical concerns such as an autoimmune issue, uterine anomalies or possible genetic or chromosomal abnormalities that may be causing these pregnancy losses are equally as important.
Even if you did not need fertility treatment to achieve your pregnancy, assisted reproductive technology such as in vitro fertilization (IVF) plus Preimplantation Genetic Testing for Aneuploidy (PGT-A, formerly known as PGS) might be beneficial. Most often, miscarriages occur due to some chromosomal or genetic factor. PGT-A can increase your chances of having a healthy baby and decrease your chances of a miscarriage by selecting chromosomally normal embryos.
If you decide to seek out a medical consultation to discuss your miscarriage and pregnancy history, a reproductive endocrinologist will be able to offer a fertility evaluation and discuss testing and treatment options. While miscarriage counseling can help you to feel supported in an individualized setting, you could also consider peer support groups that meet online or in person (whichever you prefer). A support group will offer the opportunity to connect with others who either have struggled to conceive or who have also experienced pregnancy loss or both. You can go to Resolve: The National Infertility Association to look up information on groups that meet in your neighborhood or online groups you can join.
Asking for help, more information, more support, more testing or simply to be heard as you work towards expanding your family is not only ok but recommended. Miscarriage counseling, communicating with a doctor about your concerns, getting emotional support from your partner and others who have shared the experience you’ve gone through can all be powerful coping skills. In time, as you heal, we hope a new protocol and plan will emerge that will bring you a happy and healthy baby.