The Effect of a Miscarriage on a Relationship

The effect of a miscarriage on a relationship depends on many factors. Was the child wanted? Is the couple married or just dating? If the baby was an “accident,” there may be some sense of relief for either party if a miscarriage occurs. Still, for the woman, a miscarriage can always bring on some level of depression, similar to a post partum depression.

If the child is very much wanted by the couple, a miscarriage can be devastating. The effect on the relationship, either short term or long term, depends a lot on what preceded this pregnancy.

What Came Before the Pregnancy?

Has the couple been trying to get pregnant for a long time? If so, the miscarriage is even more devastating. Is this a first child or does the couple already have a child or more than one? The dynamic is very different in this case.

Ordinarily, a relationship should not be affected negatively by a miscarriage unless one or both parties consciously or unconsciously blames the other for the miscarriage. This need not be a rational reaction but it will nonetheless impact the relationship negatively.

If it is a first child, one or both individuals might think that there is some genetic or other physiological problem with their partner that led to the miscarriage. The woman, who carried this fetus for some months, is likely to be more emotional about the miscarriage than her partner because she has already begun to bond with the fetus as a baby.

Dealing With a Miscarriage

We assume that the couple loves one another and they want to keep their relationship intact after the miscarriage. What can they do? To the extent that there may be irrational feelings or unconscious blaming going on, keeping the relationship healthy may not be easy.

If the couple talks to each other about the miscarriage, each one giving the other space to express their feelings about what has happened, their relationship will have a much better chance of surviving. The man, especially, needs to support the woman emotionally because she is likely to suffer the most from this loss.

It is best when there is a larger support group such as an extended family, circle of close friends, and/or a group such as a church or synagogue. The more outlets the couple has for their feelings, the better.

If nothing else, the couple could seek counseling, separately and together. A miscarriage is very much like a death in the family. There is not the same kind of bonding that occurs with an older child but there is still grieving in most cases of miscarriage. A professional can steer the couple through the grieving process and allow them to clear all of the feelings that may make it difficult to continue with the relationship as it was.

The worst thing that could possibly happen is if one or both partners go into a shell and avoid talking about what happened. This is also true of the death of infants from SIDS or other causes. Guilt and blame can be the death knell for a relationship.

A miscarriage will always have an impact on a relationship. The important thing is that both individuals make sure that they talk about their feelings. It is not the time to retreat. If feelings are shared, they can become less of a burden. Mutual support in such a situation can actually strengthen a relationship.