Experiencing a pregnancy loss is unforeseeable and unfathomable. Couples who go through a miscarriage are often jilted to the core. Their entire beings are shifted irreversibly, and their relationships transformed. Going through grief with a partner can seem like an easier process than going it alone. But the truth is, until you actually go through a traumatic experience with your partner you will not know how each other is going to handle it. For some couples it can be a severely devastating and difficult experience to navigate together. But there are ways to help your relationship after a miscarriage.
There aren't too many large studies on pregnancy loss and the rate of break up and/or divorce. But according to a large study done in 2010 and published in Pediatrics, couples who experienced miscarriage were 22 percent more likely to break up than couples who had successful pregnancies. Additionally, those who experienced a stillbirth were 40 percent more likely to break up or divorce. The study said most couples broke up within one-and-a-half years after the loss. But researchers saw the higher risk for separation up to a decade after the pregnancy loss.
Many think going through traumatic experiences with another person can bring you together. And that may be true in some cases. But as concluded in the same study, pregnancy loss and stillbirths are enormous stressors and can significantly impact even the strongest of relationships.
Dr. Jessica Zucker, a clinical psychologist that specializes in pregnancy loss and miscarriage, and founder of the campaign #ihadamiscarriage has had a miscarriage herself. She counsels other couples going through loss and knows first-hand what navigating a pregnancy loss with a partner can look like and feel like.
"You see a lot about your partner when you go through challenging times," Zucker says in an interview with Romper. "Some might say through sickness and in health, but when you’re actually in it and watching how someone navigates unforeseeable and unfathomable experiences you may change your tune.”
As challenging as it may be to work through all of that grief, it's not impossible. And some couples can ultimately work together to heal and stay together. Here are nine ways to help your relationship after a miscarriage.