Miscarriage – How to Avoid the Shame Game

Dealing with the Shame of Miscarriage

What is Shame? Shame is Poisonous

Shame and guilt often walk hand in hand. The difference is that shame can bury itself far deeper, and is much more poisonous.

Where guilt is a feeling about something we have done, shame is the conclusion we come to about ourselves as a result of that act.

Guilt is the feeling that we have done something bad.

Shame is the feeling that we are bad.

We find ourselves thinking things like, “I must be a horrible person if I am capable of that”.

Shame is About Ourselves

Shame is not a feeling about an act, but about ourselves, and is far more permanent.

It is us brutally inflicting the judgment that we so fear from others upon ourselves. The result is almost always feelings of unworthiness.

Shame Affects Our Behaviour More Than Guilt

Shame also affects our behaviour more than guilt, because it closes us down to experiences that could lead us to revisit our shame or be shamed again.

Shame is the next step along the same path as guilt, but where guilt can have its purpose, shame is unhealthy and will often prevent us from living a full and healthy life.

Shame in Pregnancy Loss

An underlying feeling that our babies died because we are ‘not good enough’ to be mothers can cause us to feel shame in pregnancy loss.

It can also show up as embarrassment surrounding our actions or inactions during the process and particularly around the experience itself.

This often leads us to withhold information about what happened for fear of being judged by others in the same way that we are judging ourselves.

Shame Tends to Last, Prolonged Shame Harms Healing

Shame, like guilt, tends to be a lasting state rather than a transitory emotion. Where other emotions come and go, shame stays with us and undermines our confidence and ability to live fully. As with guilt, it is the unresolved, prolonged shame that becomes harmful to our healing.

Understanding is the Key: What Happened To Us is Not Us

The only way to address shame is to truly understand that what has happened is not because of who we are.

We are no more or less because of our loss – we are the same person, just with some additional life experience.

Whether the loss happens unexpectedly for unknown reasons or because of genetic issues, we must reach a place where we fully understand that it was not within our control.

We Made the Best Possible Decision

When tough decisions have been put before us, we must understand that we have been forced to choose between two unappealing options and we have made the best possible decision under the circumstances.

Only when we reach this place of understanding can we take action and express any of the underlying sadness that perpetuates shame.

Take Care Until Next Time


Previous post:

Next post: