Pregnancy is usually a happy time spent planning and preparing for the arrival of a new baby, however, for others less fortunate it means having to deal with miscarriage depression. While women are usually thought to be most susceptible as the healing process is two-fold for both the body and mind, men also are not immune from feelings of grief, loss and anxiety. The “blues” is also a contributing factor to many failed relationships due to the unexpected loss of an infant
Women are usually immediately stereotyped as suffering from miscarriage depression at the first signs of intense visible grief. According to A. Broen, from the Department of Behavioral Science, Olso, Norway, et al (2005) recent findings reflect “Women who had experienced a miscarriage had more mental distress at 10 days and six months after the pregnancy termination.” While the immediate affects may not be felt within a pre-defined timeline that does not necessarily indicate immunity.
After termination of a pregnancy women are forced to initially focus on physical restoration, especially for those requiring surgical procedures. A woman’s mental health, however, should be the primary focus of recovery. Feelings of loss and intense grief are to be expected, yet often more sinister underlying symptoms point to a mental disorder that potentially affects the ability to perform everyday tasks and may even lead to suicide.
Depression miscarriage is often confused and misdiagnosed as extenuating feelings of grief and loss. The tell-tale signs to differentiate between the two depends on if the symptoms prevent the carrying out of daily activities such as getting dressed or returning to work. Symptoms that should not be ignored include weight loss, obvious changes in appetite, insomnia and inability to concentrate. Women experiencing the mental disorder before pregnancy are more likely than those who do not to have repeating occurrences. On a note of interest, Anick Berard, from the Faculty of Pharmacy at the University of Montreal (2004), conducted a study and found that women taking anti-depressants have a “75% higher rate of miscarriage than women without depression.”
Men are viewed as strong and stout individuals that are prevented from grieving and do not suffer from marriage depression after the loss of a child. This could not be further from the truth. Men experience much of the same emotions as their female counterparts, especially grief and loneliness. A recent study conducted in Hong Kong found that out of 83 couples, 40 percent “suffered significant psychological distress immediately after the miscarriage.” Although the report goes on to suggest that men are able to recover faster, nonetheless men still experience a connection to his unborn child. Unfortunately, there is a gap in research to fully study the correlation.
Marriage depression can also infiltrate the most steadfast of marriages, soiling the relationship with primary feelings of jealousy combined with a lack of communication. Kristin M. Swanson, professor of family and child nursing at the University of Washington, School of Nursing in Seattle, is credited for studying and following-up couples and the changes in a relationship after spontaneous abortion. She finds one year after pregnancy loss according to female participants in the study “ 32% felt more distant from their husbands interpersonally; 39% more distant sexually.” Additionally, Women in distant relationships may have felt more abandoned.”
Seeking help is vital to well-being and the ability to successfully cope with the ongoing emotions resulting from the loss of a child. For couples, it is even more of a pro-active step to not only heal emotional scars, but also to mend once strong loving relationships. Fear of appearing weak should not be an excuse not to find help. Being able to openly communicate with both yourself and a partner is the most effective form of therapy when dealing with miscarriage depression.