Miscarriages happen during the first 20 weeks of a pregnancy.
After 20 weeks, a spontaneous abortion is usually called stillbirth.
About 20% of all human pregnancies end in miscarriage or stillbirth.
Deaths of babies often have heavy consequences on family members.
People affected by a miscarriage or still-birth
may feel disconnected from their friends and partners, from
their families and communities, and from their God. Miscarriages and
cot deaths can replace joy with depression and withdrawal.
Healing the Consequences of Abortion :
Consequences of Abortion
Does Miscarriage, Still-Birth or Crib Death affect You?
If you suffered a miscarriage or stillbirth, you not only lost a baby, you
suffered a death in the family, perhaps without the emotional closure of a funeral. You
may have felt isolated with grief and depression. We help people manage
The loss of a baby can result in guilt, depression, mourning,
shame, self hatred, insomnia, anger and aggression in the parents ...
and in siblings (especially the next born). We can help people sort out their emotions and
relationship problems with parents, living children and other family members.
Crib death refers to the sudden, unexpected death of a baby,
without a known illness, typically under six months of age, usually
while sleeping. We also offer help and counseling
following a cot death or Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
Emotions following Miscarriage, Stillbirth or Crib Death
People may minimize and invalidate early miscarriages, but it is
their bonds with the unborn babies, not the duration of the pregnancies,
that seem to determine the grief, loneliness and sometimes
depresson. Such stress may affect not only the parents,
but also the siblings - especially the next born child.
Do you still suffer following a miscarriage
- Are you easily depressed?
- Are you taking care of yourself?
- Do you hold you back from intimacy?
- Do you experience recurring dreams?
- Do you feel anger, grief, shame or guilt?
- Do you hear babies crying when none are near?
- Do you try to 'turn off' your feelings or memories?
- Do you feel chronic anxiety with no apparent cause?
- Do you feel detached from your parents, family or spouse?
- Do you feel uncomfortable around babies or pregnant women?
Are other children affected?
Following a miscarriage or stillbirth, siblings may experience
depression, obsessions about babies, or other disorders, and carry
these symptoms into adulthood. A child who identifies with a lost sibling may
predictable unpleasant symptoms.
(People who identify with dead, missing
or vanishing twins may have similar symptoms.)
All my life I felt guilty. During our sessions I realized that
I always felt a dead presence in front of me ... felt like an older sibling ...
felt like an older brother. My parents won't talk about it but you helped me
deal with it, and now I can better enjoy life ... Idaho
Consequences don't care about good intentions!
We help people resolve emotional conflicts and
relationship problems following children's deaths.
A 13-year study of pregnancy-associated deaths, published in
the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, found that the maternal
mortality rate associated with abortion is 3 times higher than the maternal
mortality rate associated with pregnancies carried to term.
Children's relationship problems show up as inappropriate behavior
and strong emotions, although these emotional problems may be latent
- Anger (I am entangled with a victim)
- Dissociation (I lose access to my self)
- Anxiety (I am entangled with an ignored hero)
- Sadness (I am enmeshed with a dead person)
- Conflict (I am entangled with two people in conflict)
Life gives Birth to Life
Most mature people want to find partners and raise babies to independence.
Adults who cannot have children may may dedicate themselves to some social
or religious cause or find substitutes for partnership and children, obsess about helping children
... or may suffer depression.
When I told my young son about my miscarriage - he
cried for days. He said that
his brother had died and asked why the
baby died and not him? Washington
Causes of Miscarriage and Still-Birth
of spontaneous abortion include:
- Genetic: Chromosome abnormalities
- Hormones: Women with hormonal irregularities
- Infections: Some illnesses such as German measles
- Accidents & Violence: Severe pressures to the abdomen
- Drug Use: Smoking, alcohol, some painkillers and illegal drugs
- Anatomical: A weak or irregular womb (uterus) or large fibrosis
- Ectopic Pregnancy: About 1%
of pregnancies are not in the uterus.
Who really Suffers?
Children require endless attention, time and love. Some miscarriages
may seem to make sense - for example if a fetus was deformed.
But emotional consequences may not care how logical were the intentions.
Other children and family members may suffer grief, stress
and depression as a consequence of miscarriage.
I was pregnant and we told everyone
who would listen. We learned everything we could about pregnancy and baby
health. Then I started bleeding and then had a miscarriage ...
still devastated two years later. You helped us a lot. Ireland
Men and Miscarriage
Miscarriages often make men feel nervous. Not only are would-be fathers upset
about the loss, they may not know what to say and they may feel guilty because
they had conflicts
about whether or not they wanted a baby at this time.
Discussing and validating feelings after a miscarriage is relationship first aid
that men may avoid. If there is too much stress
in your relationship, our couples coaching can help you
both work through your emotions and improve your partnership.
Emotional Consequences of Miscarriage and Stillbirth
If a person feels attached to an unborn baby, and that baby dies, negative
emotions are likely to include anger, disappointment,
grief, sadness and feeling isolated.
During pregnancy, most parents seem to create imprints
of the imagined characteristics of their unborn children. If the child is lost,
parents can grieve their dead child and recover those parts of themselves
that they invested in their imprints before they can fully connect to a
A subsequent child may be seen as a substitute or a sad reminder
of the (often idealized) dead child - and feel confused about who he or she
really is. If a subsequent child unconsciously bonds to a dead baby, there are
many predictable symptoms.
I don't regret my abortions ... you don't see anything bad.
My problems were gone and I can keep on having fun ... my boyfriends are
grateful ... I will have children when I am ready. Boston
I emailed you about my abortions years ago. Since
then I got married ... I have had three
miscarriages in two years ... could
they be connected to my abortions? Boston
Grief, Stress and Depression
Since you started reading this page, a few thousand women have
had miscarriages and still-births. Many of those lost pregnancies will result in
negative emotions and relationship problems that the families do not understand
and cannot resolve.
Online Coaching, Counseling & Soulwork Therapy
I thought you were just
another therapist - but you were not just. Not even. Not only.
Plagiarism is theft. © Martyn Carruthers,
All rights reserved.