Ask Dr. Z
By Laura Zipris, Psy. D., LMHC
Dear Dr. “Z”,
I recently suffered from a miscarriage in my 15th week of pregnancy and I am just devastated. My husband and I had been trying to have a baby for almost 1 year so when we found out we were pregnant we were ecstatic. Every day, I was designing the nursery in my head, thinking about baby names, and imagining our family of three. Since the miscarriage, I have been crying every day. My husband says he is sad too but feels like I am overreacting. He is starting to lose his patience with me. We have been fighting more and more and I feel so alone. I can’t understand why he is so blasé about the whole thing and he can’t understand why I just don’t move on. He told me that I should stop feeling sorry for myself and that we will keep trying but I can’t think about trying to get pregnant right now. I’m too scared and anxious to think about doing this again so soon.
I don’t know how to just “move on” and I don’t want to just “get over it”. I do, however, want him to at least act as if he cares.
Jenny S., Wellington, FL
I am so sorry for your loss. I know that you are in intense pain right now. Not only are you mourning the loss of your pregnancy, but you are also mourning the dream of parenting this child and growing your family. The multiple losses you are experiencing make you feel so grief-stricken. For many, reproductive loss can be so traumatic because it can challenge the fundamental beliefs a person has about themselves, their femininity/masculinity, their relationships, and their sense of belonging in the world.
Reproductive loss is a very personal experience and people cope with it in very different ways. Often individuals within the couple feel so alone in their experience and they find it difficult to express their feelings of anger, guilt, fear and pain. Instead of leaning in to each other at this fragile time, both partners may begin to become critical of one another, lean out, and eventually disconnect.
Psychotherapy with infertility and reproductive loss is essential for both the individual and the couple. At its base, therapy can provide a safe place for you to give voice to your experience, which will help you grieve, integrate the depth of your losses, gain more control over the trauma, and begin to move forward. Couple’s counseling could also serve to help you and your husband deal with the infertility strains on the relationship. Improved communication can be facilitated through therapy and you and your husband can learn how to honor and validate each other’s experience, as well as how to best support one another through this time in your lives.
If you are interested, I recommend a support group that I run called “Coping with Infertility and Reproductive Loss.” There are many benefits from this group therapy that are similar to those I mentioned for individual therapy, but, in addition, you have the added benefit of hearing from others who share similar stories. This will help you to normalize your experience, help you to understand different perspectives and to gain knowledge from the wisdom of others who have successfully navigated some of these same challenges. I also recommend you read the book, “Unsung Lullabies”, by Doctors Jaffe, Diamond and Diamond.
Best of luck to you on your healing journey!
Laura Zipris holds a doctorate in Psychology and is licensed to practice psychotherapy in New York, as well as in Florida. Laura is certified in Imago Relationship Therapy, a transformational approach that has been used successfully with couples around the world to help them to strengthen their partnerships, deepen their connection and reignite their passion for one another. Laura sees individuals of all ages and sexual orientations, couples, families, and groups in her office located in Delray Beach. For more information about Laura, please visit her website at www.drlaurazipris.com or to set up an appointment, contact Laura directly at (561) 558-7815.
Questions for this column should be sent to “Dr. Z” atDrlaurazip@gmail.com.