Some women feel they are responsible for the end of their pregnancies.
There’s a stage of grief in miscarriage which may involve guilt. Even though I was the male counterpart in three miscarriages, I always wondered if something I did was responsible, either in terms of my physical input (flawed sperm due to not looking after my body correctly) or even something more personal- perhaps I’d been a “bad” person and that had caused the foetus to bail out. It’s such a traumatic time that morally, rationally and physically questions without answers may be asked.
Take the British TV actress, Gemma Collins. In her new biography, according to the Daily Mail, she says she’s convinced that she had a miscarriage as a result of “God punishing me” for a previous abortion.
Medically, she’s a statistic: Probably as many as one in five pregnancies result in miscarriage, most often in the first trimester. Usually the miscarriage is as a result of the egg not implanting in the uterus correctly, or some structural flaw in the egg itself, according to Baby Center, which acknowledges that it’s almost impossible to give an exact reason for a miscarriage.
Good old “Catholic” guilt
For would-be parents from a Christian background, a sense of guilt over previous actions may be overwhelming in a situation like a miscarriage, a situation which is beyond one’s ability to control, and therefore in “God’s hands”. The guilt may lead to the sense that this loss is punishment for sins or thoughts- if the pregnancy is extra-marital, or if the woman had an abortion, or even if the mom had had doubts about having a baby, for example. Sometimes one may even feel guilty about certain foods consumed or that glass of wine or an fitness routine- what if those were responsible? What if...
Whether or not you follow a Christian tradition, it’s important to acknowledge that guilt for “losing” a baby may occur after a miscarriage. The sense of “what did I do wrong?” is hard to suppress. If you are the male partner, it’s vital that you provide support to your female partner and that you downplay these guilty feelings.
These are the stages of grief, according to Elizabeth Kubler Ross (although they may not all be experienced):
- Denial: "This can't be happening to me".
- Anger: "Why is this happening to me? Who is to blame?"
- Bargaining: "Make this stop happening, and, in return, I will..."
- Depression: "I'm too sad to do anything".
- Acceptance: "I'm at peace with what happened".
Guilt is a complex part of these, and the offering the gentle reassurance that nothing the miscarrying couple has done could have prevented the loss is important.
For trying to conceive couples, this is of particular relevance; the numbing cycle of trying to, and yet not, falling pregnant may become appallingly emotional. Self-loathing may rear its ugly head. “It’s MY fault”, the would-be mom may say to herself, when, in realty, it’s a simple matter of biology.
A woman who goes through repeated miscarriages may also assign the blame to a doctor or even her partner for the same reasons (and a man may do that, too).
If you find that these kinds of feelings: irrational blaming, overwhelming guilt, are taking over, you may want to chat to family of friends, a grief counsellor or join a support group.Have you ever experienced guilt over a miscarriage?