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After All These Years!
Written by Clara Hinton   |  Oct 30, 2001
It is not uncommon for a woman in her seventies to begin to grieve a miscarriage that took place forty years before. The pain can be as fresh as it was when the miscarriage first happened.

The average person’s understanding is that grief is a process that takes a bit of time, and then it’s over. Most people think that working through grief means that you can tuck away the problem, never to be remembered again. Miscarriage doesn’t work like that, though. Miscarriage leaves behind unfinished business, and the grief from this type of child loss can last a lifetime.

When an early miscarriage takes place, there is no baby to hold. There are no remembrances of counting little fingers and toes. There was no loud cry when the baby was born. There was nothing to see. This lack of experiencing something concrete complicates the entire process of “letting go”. It’s very difficult to let go of something you never actually saw or held.

For a woman, this can really cause a lot of pain that often returns in her later years. Unfinished business is serious business. When the miscarriage took place, a young life ended and there is nothing to show for it except a heart that feels void and hurts.

Women whose grief from miscarriage returns in later years will often say that they never had a chance to grieve the loss of the baby. It was common practice just a few years ago to miscarry and then never again mention the loss. Life continued on, never having even a brief intermission to acknowledge the loss. Eventually, grief does catch up to a person and demands attention!

When an older woman begins to have dreams about the baby she lost, she will often feel foolish to tell anyone. Because she is well past childbearing age, she is hesitant to share her pain, thinking nobody will understand. However, mothers need to grieve their miscarriages—even if it’s forty years or more later.

There are several ways that will help promote healing for a woman who is beginning her grief from miscarriage late in life. By acknowledging the loss as real, and talking about it, you have established a starting point. Journal your thoughts. Write a letter to the baby you never knew, saying how much you miss him being with you. Name the baby, even if you have no way of knowing if you miscarried a little boy or a little girl.

To help bring closure to this ongoing pain, have some sort of a ceremony or ritual in honor of the baby who died. Light a candle. Release a balloon. Plant a tree or some flowers. Do something “in memory of” the baby you miscarried.

Grieving a miscarriage after many years is not uncommon. Learn to take care of your feelings, working through the grief. By acknowledging the loss, you have begun to heal!
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