Nobody realizes the devastating effects that a miscarriage can have on a woman, until they experience it first-hand. It’s a profound loss, made only worse by the fact that not many people understand the pain and grief you are going through.
If you have recently suffered a miscarriage, chances are that you are struggling through a rollercoaster of emotions. It’s no wonder; your body is still processing the pregnancy hormones in addition to your intense grief.
This article will explore a few concrete, practical tips for moving on with your life after a miscarriage.
1) Take care of your physical health:
Before you can begin to move forward, you are going to need to take care of the medical practicalities, if you have not already done so. Whether this means a D & C (dilation and curettage), medications or waiting it out, you can’t hope to achieve any healing while your body is still dealing with the aftermath of the losing the pregnancy. In most cases the medical issues resolve themselves relatively quickly, provided there are no complications.
Once your body is on the road to recovery, you can start taking care of everything else that will need to be done. And make no mistake; there are a few practicalities that are going to need your immediate attention once your doctor has given you the all clearâ€¦
2) Deal with the admin:
If this was your first pregnancy, you probably shared your happy news with everyone as soon as you knew you were expecting. Whether you posted it on your Facebook status or shared your happy news with your loose-lipped neighbours, a painful task awaits. Try to let people know, either indirectly or directly, as soon as possible. There is nothing more painful than someone (who doesn’t know about your miscarriage) still talking about your pregnancy or asking about the baby. Hopefully you have a strong, supportive partner who is able to take some of this strain from you and let people know what has happened. Have a succinct answer prepared for anyone who doesn’t receive the sad news initially.
You will also need to cancel any memberships or subscriptions you may have joined in an information-seeking frenzy after your positive pregnancy test, as there is nothing worse than receiving weekly updates of how your baby would have been developing!
3) Create some kind of goodbye ritual for your baby:
Don’t underestimate the importance of creating some kind of ritual around saying goodbye. For women who miscarry at later stages, it’s often a good idea to have the body cremated so that you can scatter ashes or bury the body in a cemetery. Take some time out to put the hopes and dreams that you had about your baby to rest.
You and your partner will need to mark the occasion in some way that is meaningful to you both. Many women (and their partners) find it very healing to write your unborn child a letter. Keep it, bury it or release it in a balloon and experience some powerful healing. It might also be a good idea to name the baby; as many couples find that this simple gesture quite healing. Whatever works for you, make sure to mark the occasion together and most importantly, to acknowledge that you have both suffered a profound loss.
4) Find support:
Your partner probably had his own hopes and dreams for the baby you were carrying; and he is undoubtedly dealing with his own feelings of loss. Your immediate family and closest friends should be your first port of call. You will probably find that several have experienced miscarriages of their own. If not, the web has a variety of resources to help you find support in the ways you need it most. From helpful organisations to support groups and forums, there really are multitudes of ways to reach out to other women going through the same thing. And the understanding and comfort you will find far outweighs anything that well meaning friends and family (who haven’t suffered through miscarriages) can provide.
Many women (and their partners) find that they need a few sessions with a qualified profession to work through their feelings a little more effectively.
5) Start moving forward:
While it may be tempting to hide from the world and take some time out to nurse yourself back to complete psychological good health, keeping busy is possibly one of the best things you can do right now. Becoming absorbed in activities, hobbies or anything that will keep you occupied is a fantastic way to take your mind off your ordeal, even if only temporarily. Miscarriage can be a very isolating experience, especially if your friends don’t know what to say or how to help. Take action and actively participate in whatever activities you can. And be gentle with yourself. You’ve been through a physical and emotional ordeal that will take some time to begin to heal.
Treat your miscarriage like the loss it is. Take time to grieve the death of your baby. With time, you will heal.