This post was inspired by a co-worker who doesn’t know that I know about their miscarriage. I didn’t know how or what to say to them. So in a perfect world it would have been something like this…
You will never “get over” your miscarriage. Why the title then? Because after our first loss that’s what I googled in a vain attempt to find to something on the internet that would help ease the pain and bring some comfort. But no, you will never “get over it”. You will never forget the loss of your unborn child(ren) and that’s ok. They are always in your heart and always with you. Over time, it will become easier. There will still be days where it hits you like a smack in the face. You will read something, see something or remember a date (due dates, anniversaries of the loss) and it will hit you hard. Those days will never go away, you will just get better at dealing with them.
So what does help? My ideas and thoughts are below, feel free to add yours to the list.
Be sad. Allow yourself the time to grieve and the time to be sad. Know that you and your partner will handle grief differently so allow yourselves time to grieve alone and at each other’s own pace. Cry. Just let yourself cry. And after the initial shock and sadness, make sure you find some time to be sad together. Wallow in the misery together for a bit. It helps to know the other person is hurting too.
If you can (and I know not everyone can do this), take some time off work. A few days to absorb the reality of what has happened, to cry and sleep a lot. To just be in pain.
Don’t put a time limit on the pain and don’t pressure yourself to “move on”. Take the time you need. Do not let people belittle your loss. It doesn’t matter how many weeks it was or how quickly you got pregnant or “at least you know you can get pregnant” or how many miscarriages someone else had before they had children – none of that helps, none of that matters. This is your loss and your story.
Find a way to memorialize the loss together. Trust me on this one. It will feel awkward at first but you will be glad you did it. We didn’t do this with the first one and as a result I feel we didn’t really bring closure to the loss until much later. Memorializing the loss is what the living do to help manage the death of a loved one. Your child lived and it deserves a goodbye – you don’t have to do a funeral but something to bring closure helps. After the second loss we wrote a note to the baby together (If love could have saved you, you would have lived forever) and then we burned it (in the jungle in Bali) and said good-bye. With the third we did a memorial walk. We named all three of them. It doesn’t matter that we didn’t know the gender. We had a feeling in our hearts and having a name helped us say good-bye. Others have planted trees or purchased plants, others have made donations, got a tattoo – I bought a necklace for all 3. The point is, just find something that is meaningful for the two of you and do it.
If you don’t have to be alone, don’t. It can be a very isolating feeling and you are not alone. I look forward to the day where there isn’t a stigma about talking about miscarriage. Telling close friends and family can get you an “out”. A free pass from having to live up to social obligations for a while – take it and use it. It is a also a really good opportunity to find out who your friends are! If you really don’t want to or can’t tell anyone, then find solace and comfort in a community on the internet. Search “miscarriage” on Pinterest and you will quickly see you that you are most definitely not alone.
Be angry. People forget that anger is a part of the grieving process and by goodness you are going to be angry. Let it happen. Yell and scream in your car, your house, the shower – whatever. I have a journal, this blog and a psychologist. All places where I can be very angry and very ugly if I need to be and it is judgement free. So just go for it.
Exercise. It releases chemicals in your brain that mimic anti-depressants. Get out there and do it, even if it is just a walk with your partner for now.
Take comfort in the fact that one day there will be more good days than bad days. Don’t rush yourself, it will come. And if doesn’t come or you don’t feel like you are moving forward after giving yourself time to grieve – then get some help. Talk to your doctor.
Oh and one more thing – drink the wine, eat the sushi, have brie – because you can!
If you are interested in an awesome memorial necklace, be sure to check out The Charmed Wife on Etsy.