Healing After Miscarriage: Support for Men and Women
Healing after miscarriage

About 31% of pregnancies confirmed after implantation end in miscarriage. That translates to roughly one of every three pregnancies.

With this in mind,  no two women experience miscarriage in exactly the same way. We have worked with women who share that they expected sadness but never experienced it, and that’s okay. We’ve also worked with women who experience overwhelming grief after miscarriage, and that’s also okay. We’ve worked with men who sit anywhere on the spectrum as well – some don’t mourn while others need support services in order to cope with their grief.

There is no right or wrong way to feel after the demise of a pregnancy and no single path to healing. If you’ve had a miscarriage and find yourself struggling with recovery, there are resources to help you and your partner through the physical and emotional pain you’re experiencing.

Emotional Healing After Miscarriage

Emotional healing after miscarriage is a broad concept. There are many kinds of feelings that follow miscarriage and different kinds of healing depending on a wide variety of factors.

Many women experience what we consider appropriate sadness after a miscarriage. The term is broad, but generally speaking, these women are mourning the loss of a pregnancy and the plans they had for the future life that will not be. They’re able to cope and work through their grief with appropriate resources and generally don’t experience major behavioral changes or problems as a result. Although you may never stop grieving the loss, the sadness and anxiety that comes with it typically diminish by about a year after your miscarriage.

In other cases, miscarriage can impact a woman’s relationship with her body. While pregnancy often inspires women to care for their bodies in a renewed way, miscarriage can have the opposite effect, making it difficult to reconnect with your body and learn to love and trust it again.

About one-third of all women who go through a miscarriage meet the criteria for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) diagnosis a month after the loss; 18% will still meet those criteria 18 months later. For these women, their bodies often become a traumatic site or trigger, making it difficult to escape the challenging thoughts and feelings they’re experiencing. Depression and anxiety can follow.

It might seem surprising, but it’s very common for men and women who face an unexpected and even unwanted pregnancy to mourn after learning they’ve miscarried.

There are several steps you can take to help facilitate emotional healing after your loss.

Acknowledge the pregnancy. Because many couples don’t announce a pregnancy until the second trimester, it can be exceptionally challenging to grieve the loss of a pregnancy in the first trimester. If it was never announced, it can be hard to “break the ice” with friends and family members when it comes time to share the loss. However, sharing the pregnancy and loss can help you build a support group and acknowledge the pregnancy.

Remember the baby. Naming the baby or honoring the baby through a memorial service – which can be done alone at home or or more formally with friends or family – can help.

Join a local or online support group. It’s common to feel alone or like nobody understands after a miscarriage. Many men and women don’t share their feelings with others for many reasons: unsolicited advice often follows, they don’t want to be the center of attention, they feel a sense of privacy about their loss, or their support system isn’t comfortable with a great deal of emotion, for example. Joining a support group can help you connect with others in a safe space who have experienced a miscarriage.

Know the facts. Keep in mind that a miscarriage isn’t an indication of infertility or inability to carry to term. The vast majority of women (85%) go on to have healthy pregnancies after a miscarriage. Additionally, many women become pregnant soon after a miscarriage while still honoring and grieving the loss, so becoming pregnant again doesn’t bring your grief to a halt prematurely.

Seek out help from a mental health provider. PTSD, depression, anxiety, and body image issues can be hard to navigate alone. Getting help from a mental health provider, like a counselor or therapist, is often a critical step in your healing journey.

Physical Healing After Miscarriage

While you’re grappling with the emotions that often follow a miscarriage, your body also needs to heal. Both physical and hormonal changes can serve as a reminder of what you’ve gone through and require extra attention during the next several weeks or months.

Following an early pregnancy loss, expect strong cramping and bleeding that mimics a heavy period. Know that it may take 4-6 weeks for your period to return after your miscarriage. During this time, care for your emotional health, drink plenty of water, take the vitamins recommended by your provider, and get enough rest if possible. Call your OBGYN if you have bleeding that soaks through more than two pads an hour, severe cramping that lasts more than two weeks, high fever, or odorous vaginal discharge.

When fetal demise occurs later in pregnancy, recovery can mimic the recovery that follows pregnancy and delivery. Following a stillbirth, you can expect cramping, large blood clots, breast engorgement, and hormonal changes. Follow your doctor’s orders as you recover and make self-care a priority: nourish your body with nutritious food, water, and plenty of rest. If you experience a high fever, pain that is getting worse instead of better, bleeding that is becoming heavier instead of lighter, or odorous vaginal discharge, see your OBGYN right away.

Help for Healing After Miscarriage

Remember, if the pregnancy was unexpected or unwanted, you might still experience difficult thoughts and feelings as you recover.

To learn more about early pregnancy, unexpected pregnancy, or recovering after miscarriage, visit Willowbrook Women’s Center. Our compassionate team offers a wide variety of services to support in Cameron and St. Joseph, Missouri.

How to Deal With an Unplanned Pregnancy as a Male
how to deal with an unplanned pregnancy male

Have you just found out your partner is unexpectedly pregnant? It’s a scary reality to face and has left you asking questions you haven’t thought about before.

We’ve talked with many men like you who were also shocked by their partner’s unplanned pregnancies. We hope this article gives you helpful insight into what you might want to know about your partner’s unexpected pregnancy.

The first thing you want to know is, “Now what?” So let’s answer that question first.

My Partner Is Unexpectedly Pregnant: Now What?

When you hear any shocking news that will affect your life, it leaves you wondering what happens now. The very first steps are to take care of both you and your partner and find accurate information to help in the decision-making process.

Step 1: Care for your partner AND yourself.

There’s no doubt about it — an unplanned pregnancy is one of the most stressful situations for you and your partner to get through. And being a supportive partner while you’re also wrestling with fears about the future isn’t always easy, but you can do it!

When you get good sleep, nutrition, and encouragement, it will help you cope and stay clear-headed while you caringly stand with your partner. Here are a few tips to support your pregnant partner:

  • Even though she is the one who’s pregnant, show her you’re in this together by your words and your actions.
  • Express concern about how she feels physically and emotionally.
  • Go with her to appointments if she wants you to be there with her.
  • Learn about her pregnancy options.
  • Do not pressure her into a pregnancy decision.
  • Support her even if you disagree with her pregnancy decision.
  • Don’t “ghost” her or bail on her.

Step 2: Get neutral help for an unexpected pregnancy.

The next step of “Now what?” is to get the answers you need to help you and your partner make the best decision about what to do.

Even though deciding what to do about an unexpected pregnancy ultimately lands with your partner, you also need to learn about her pregnancy options. The best way to do that is to go to a no-cost pregnancy clinic that will not profit financially in any way from her decision. The last thing you or your partner needs right now is pressure from anyone to make one decision over another.

What you do need are unbiased facts that will help your partner make an informed decision that’s best for her. Those facts are gathered through a pregnancy test, an ultrasound, and STD (sexually transmitted disease) testing.

  • Pregnancy Test

A medical-grade pregnancy test will confirm that your partner has pregnancy hormones in her system. However, 15%-25% of known pregnancies miscarry, and a positive pregnancy test doesn’t tell you if the pregnancy is viable. A viable pregnancy is one that is progressing normally and expected to survive, and an ultrasound gives you that information.

  • Ultrasound

Pregnancy ultrasounds use sound waves to create images on a screen. It will tell the healthcare provider how far along your partner is and if the pregnancy is viable. This step is crucial if your partner is considering abortion because options will change depending on if the pregnancy appears normal and how many weeks pregnant she is.

  • STD Testing

STD testing is critical whether your partner continues her pregnancy or ends it. Most women don’t experience symptoms when they have an STD, and an untreated STD can have serious health consequences for your partner.

What Are the Options for an Unexpected Pregnancy?

The next thing men want to know about their partner’s unexpected pregnancy is what the options are. Once the healthcare provider has determined your partner has a viable pregnancy, she has three pregnancy options

1. Abortion

Abortions can be medical or surgical. Be sure to gather information about abortion side effects and risks, too, so your partner isn’t caught off guard by side effects she’s unprepared for.

2. Adoption

Placing your child with an adoptive family is a loving choice if abortion is not an option for you and you aren’t ready to be parents. Adoption is flexible and can be “closed,” “semi-open,” or “open,” depending on what level of contact (if any) you want to have with your child.

3. Parenting

People rarely feel ready to be parents, even when pregnancies are planned. But if your partner decides that abortion and adoption are not good options for her, we have resources available to support you both in your parenting journey.

How Soon Do We Have To Decide?

Another thing men want to know about their partner’s unexpected pregnancy is how soon they need to decide. Feeling a sense of urgency is common, but this is a decision that can’t be rushed; too much is at stake physically, emotionally, and spiritually — no matter which decision is made. Options do change when a pregnancy is further along, but if your partner’s medical professional tells her that she has time to decide, encourage her to take it.

What if you and your partner disagree on how to proceed from here? Do you have a say about whether or not your partner continues her pregnancy or ends her pregnancy? With good support, you and your partner can receive the tools you need to have productive conversations despite the stress of an unintended pregnancy. However, in the end, it’s your partner’s decision whether or not she chooses to continue the pregnancy.

Where Do We Get the Answers We Need About My Partner’s Unexpected Pregnancy?

You undoubtedly have many more questions about your partner’s unexpected pregnancy, and now you need to know where to find accurate information? Willowbrook is a medical pregnancy clinic that provides all services at no cost. We offer the pregnancy testing and ultrasounds that give you and your partner the facts you deserve to make a confident decision about an unintended pregnancy.

Our licensed healthcare professionals are skilled and compassionate. You and your partner will never be judged about anything, including your questions or your decisions. Our role is offering support that helps you and your partner make the best decision for you and your future. Contact us today for your confidential appointment.

Pregnant from an Affair: Should I Keep the Pregnancy?

The unthinkable happened. You thought you were careful. Your mind is spinning, and now you don’t know what to do.

At Willowbrook Women’s Center, we understand how shocking and scary it feels to become unexpectedly pregnant from an affair. Know that you aren’t alone, and many women have successfully walked this path before you. You can too!

Take One Step at a Time

You might be feeling more anxious than you have ever felt. It’s hard to stop your thoughts from imagining how multiple scenarios play out.

Take a deep breath and pause.

You are facing one of the most important decisions that will impact the rest of your life, and it’s important to make that decision from clarity and strength. So pause, and take one step at a time.

1. Get a lab-grade pregnancy test.

The accuracy of over-the-counter pregnancy tests varies. A lab-grade pregnancy test will give you 99.9% accurate results.  However, it only tells you if the pregnancy hormone (HCG) was detected. If your lab-grade test is positive, the next step is to confirm your pregnancy.

2. Confirm your pregnancy.

Did you know that, according to the March of Dimes, as many as half of all pregnancies end in miscarriage? Eighty percent of those miscarriages happen in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. Before going through the difficulty of a “pregnancy or abortion” decision, you will need to confirm if you have a viable pregnancy. Viability is determined by ultrasound.

At Willowbrook Women’s Center, we provide many no-cost services including ultrasounds and lab-grade pregnancy tests, so you have the information you need before you weigh your options.

3.  Weigh your options.

You have three options for your unexpected pregnancy: abortion, parenting, or adoption. It might help you to ask yourself, “Would I make a different decision about my pregnancy if I wasn’t pregnant from an affair?” This, and other questions, can prevent you from making a decision from emotion, which may cause you to live with secrets or regret.

Recent research reveals that carrying secrets is detrimental to your physical and emotional health. Imagine how difficult it would be to keep the secret that your child is not your partner’s, knowing that someday, the truth will be revealed. Or, imagine going through the emotional and physical process of a secret abortion without the support of your partner.

As you weigh your options, consider them carefully, ask questions, and never make a decision based upon pressure from another person. Pay attention to the quiet voice within you as it may give you insight to the choice that you can feel confident about.

Willowbrook Women’s Center is Here for You

Make an appointment at Willowbrook Women’s Center today. Our licensed medical professionals and trained advocates have walked through situations like yours with many women, and we will come alongside you confidentially and without judgment. Willowbrook Women’s Center is invested in providing you with unbiased and accurate information so that you are empowered to make an informed decision – apart from the fear that can prevent you from being your healthiest.

Is it Important to Tell My Family I am Pregnant?

It’s hard enough to find out you’re unexpectedly pregnant, but it can seem even harder when faced with something else…How to tell my family I’m pregnant, and should I?

That question can bring back the shakiness and panic that hit when you first saw the results on your home pregnancy test. It might even be worse, depending on how you think they’ll respond to the news, and most women don’t expect it to go well.

Before you jump right in and blurt out, “I’m pregnant,” there are some things you should think about first.

Which Path to Take

There are options for you to consider as you look ahead to the future. Which option do you think is best for you—abortion, adoption or parenting? If you are unsure, that’s ok. At Willowbrook Women’s Center, we know this isn’t an easy choice to make.

Come in to see us and talk over your situation. We are here to support you and will go over all the information with you, make sure we answer your questions, and help you make a confident decision. This way, when your family asks questions, you will have answers ready, and be able to give them the reasons behind them.

Before You Talk to Them

Once you have decided what path to take, there are some things you should think about before talking to your family.

Where do you want to tell them? At home, at some other place? If at home, is there a particular room where you would feel most comfortable? If somewhere else, will you be able to make sure there is privacy?

What time of day would be best? It’s usually not a good idea to have this type of conversation, and then a short time later, say you have to leave. This is also a conversation best avoided right before bed when everyone is tired and cranky.

Do you want your partner there when you tell them? If he wants you to make a different choice than you have, will that make it harder if he is there? Would it be better if you had him come over after you tell them? Or, do you want someone else there with you?

Another option could be writing them a letter sharing your news and telling them you would like to talk to them afterward, perhaps setting the time out far enough that they can think things over and calm down before you return.

Prepare for Their Reactions

Before you talk with your family, consider their feelings and how they will react. They might be angry, frightened for you, shaky, stunned, silent, sad, or generally freak out, spitting out questions faster than you can answer them. They might feel they have failed you in some way, and guilt can be displayed in a variety of ways, from tears to yelling.

On the other hand, they may be excited for you or they might disagree with the path you’ve chosen.

Get the Conversation Started

When you have this kind of news, it’s best to say it upfront, but there are different ways you can tell your family you are pregnant. No matter what, do your best to stay calm.

You might start with, “I need to tell you something, but I’m afraid you’ll be upset/angry/disappointed…with/in me.” Or, “I have something to tell you. I’m pregnant.” You might start asking for support, by saying, “I’m pregnant and I really need your support.”

No matter what path you choose or how you get the conversation started, Willowbrook Women’s Center is here for you. We are glad to be able to offer you a no-cost pregnancy test to confirm your at-home test results, an ultrasound to confirm the viability of the pregnancy, and answers to your questions. Make an appointment today.