Therapeutic Approaches to Miscarriage

Therapeutic Approaches to Miscarriage

Four Tips for Processing Grief

By Martha Manning

July/August 2020

We still don’t have a clear and reliable road map for helping us navigate the unique pain and grief that comes with losing a wanted pregnancy. Certainly no one prepared me for the emotional aftermath of the three miscarriages I’ve had in my life. With or without notice, it can happen no matter where you are—in a bathroom, a car, a meeting. The bough breaks, the baby is lost, and there isn’t a damn thing to be done about it.

Initially, I was guided through what came next by perceived messages that I needed to “let go” as prerequisite for “moving on.” But I discovered the process was more nuanced and complicated than that. Ultimately, I had to learn a crucial lesson—how to embrace my lost children, rather than erase them.

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Growing up, my daughter had an anthology of insults and frights that she often asked me to reprise. “Tell me the story of when you accidentally drove away and left me at Dunkin’ Donuts.” If I omitted a detail, she corrected it. Her selection from the “greatest hits of bad things that happen to kids” always seemed to address a current need for comfort or courage, rather than a walk down memory lane. So it is with the narrative of miscarriage.

An essentially invisible loss can have meaning in the details that establish it as being powerful and real. These stories form the…

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