For some women, the struggle with fertility happens after the pregnancy test comes back positive.
Imagine this: You’ve finally gotten past the loss of your pregnancy through miscarriage and now you’re pregnant again. You want to believe that this time is it—that you’ll really become a mom.
Then, you miscarry again.
When your doctor says you have recurring pregnancy loss, at first you feel devastated. But you soon discover that the emotional effects of this condition run the gamut from grief to fear.
Here’s what you need to know about recurrent pregnancy loss—what it is, what causes it, the emotional effects and how to cope.
What Recurrent Pregnancy Loss is and What Causes It
Recurrent pregnancy loss is a disease. It is not the same as infertility, says the American Society for Reproductive Medicine.
Infertility is an inability to get pregnant, whereas recurrent pregnancy loss means you can get pregnant but have had two or more miscarriages after the 10-week mark, the National Infertility Association explains.
Common Feelings Related to Recurrent Pregnancy Loss
Couples who live with recurrent pregnancy loss may find themselves asking, “Why me?” At the root of this anger is likely disappointment. You saw this part of your life going one way, yet it’s going in a different direction. There is likely no reason why you are having challenges carrying your pregnancies to term while others don’t.
There’s a reason it’s called “loss” and not “failure.” You have in fact lost something, much like families who face grief when an infant or older child passes away. Avoid trying to talk yourself out of how you’re feeling or letting anyone else do it. It’s perfectly okay to let yourself go through the grieving process.
Feelings of guilt may stem from a sense that, as a woman, you are letting your spouse down. But it is important to remember that recurrent pregnancy loss is not something you’re choosing. And it’s likely not anything you’re doing to cause it.
But when you have just suffered from a miscarriage caused by recurrent pregnancy loss, it can be hard to stay encouraged that you’ll eventually carry to term. Feelings of helplessness are common.
You may feel as if you have no control over your body, and you’re waiting on some stroke of luck to make this happen for you. Remember that by seeking the right medical care, you are in fact taking control. It’s about being patient and open to your options.
How often do you find yourself asking “what if” and then filling in the rest of the question with the worst-case scenario. You may feel as if you will never be among that 65 percent who eventually become moms.
Fear that you will continue to face recurrent pregnancy loss over and over is understandable. But it is critical to your well being to not let this feeling become all-consuming. Otherwise, you risk being tempted to give up before you’re ready.
Coping Strategies for Recurrent Pregnancy Loss
Your best bet for dealing with the tumultuous emotions of consecutive miscarriages is to talk to someone. Open up to someone who will listen to you and encourage you.
You may want to consider joining a support group if you are having a difficult time coping with the emotional effects of recurrent pregnancy loss. A support group can help you deal with feelings of loss, isolation and loneliness, says the National Infertility Association.
Support groups are especially beneficial if you feel as if you have no one to talk to about your experiences with recurrent pregnancy loss because no one you are close with has dealt with this condition.
Sometimes it helps just to have someone listen to your struggles without judging. If sharing in a group setting isn’t your thing, you could try individual or couples therapy. Look for a therapist who specializes in fertility related issues.
If you have recurrent pregnancy loss, you might consider seeing a fertility specialist for an evaluation. This is especially true if, in addition to miscarriages, you have a family history of repeated pregnancy loss or an autoimmune disorder. A fertility specialist can help you decide what the next step in fertility treatment should be.