After my losses, I took my grief and attempts at healing very seriously. I was devastated. I felt helpless, heartbroken, and depressed. The jealousy I felt towards pregnant women consumed me. And most of all I was scared. What if I can’t have children?
The emotional aftermath of miscarriage can be a long road. I’ve compiled some ways to help the grieving and healing process.
1. Perform a private ritual to say goodbye to your baby. Plant a tree, have a ceremony, or write a letter to your little bean. When we have miscarriages we miss out on the closure that funerals can provide. Creating a space to acknowledge the life that was lost can help memorialize the loss and provide a way to say goodbye.
2. Create a special object or token to honor your lost baby. For example, you could purchase a piece of jewelry with the birthstone of the baby. My second miscarriage happened a few weeks before Christmas. We bought two ornaments and had them engraved with the nicknames we had given each of our babies to put on the tree to have them as part of our holiday.
3. Give yourself space to grief. It’s ok to take time off work, friends, and facebook. You’ve suffered a devastating loss. It’s ok to feel sad.
4. Communicate with your spouse about how your are feeling. Let each other know what your are each experiencing and how the loss is affecting you. Chances are you will grieve in different ways. Communicating will help avoid the distance that this can create. My husband and I even went to a couples counseling session after our second loss, to help us communicate to each other what we were each experiencing.
5. Find someone to talk to who will help you process your feelings. I sought out a therapist after my first loss and continued therapy through my second loss. She gave me a safe place to talk about everything I was experience that others may not understand. She helped me learn to become comfortable with my feelings instead of avoiding them. This helped to release these difficult and complex emotions instead of having them stuffed inside of me, and this aided my healing process.
6. Do something special for yourself and your husband. Go on a weekend getaway, spend the day at the beach, or get a couples massage. My husband and I each took a week off following our first miscarriage, and it turned into a really special time for us. We took day trips and spent our time together talking, crying, processing, hugging, and supporting each other.
7. Don’t be afraid to say what you need from others. Often those around you will want to find ways to support you, but won’t know how. If you just need someone to listen, let them know. If you need help with groceries or taking out the dog, ask for it.
8. Stay off Facebook. It will only make you sad.
9. If you need space from pregnant friends, take it. Being around pregnancy and babies is incredibly difficult and traumatic following a loss. You can let them know you are very happy for them, but need some time on your own to heal from your loss. If they are good friends, they will understand.
10. Know that even as you start you feel better, you still may experience waves of grief and sadness and that’s ok. It doesn’t mean you are not making progress in your healing. Grieving is not a linear process. Seeing pregnancy announcements or hitting due dates and milestone may trigger your sadness. Let yourself experience these feelings, and don’t try to push them aside as that will only prolong the healing process.
11. Find support online. After my first miscarriage I tried to find a support group in Los Angeles, but was unsuccessful. Instead, I turned to forums and groups on the internet to share my experience and find others going through the same thing. It was amazing to find so many other women that I could relate to who could truly understand what I was going through. It helped me to feel less alone, during an often lonely and isolating experience.