If you’re having, or have had, a miscarriage, you probably have a lot of questions and unwanted feelings. Perhaps you’re not sure what to do next or what is considered “normal,” and it doesn’t feel like anyone can adequately guide you.
A miscarriage can be a very lonely experience. Often when you search for reassurance, you find more questions than answers, and end up more confused and frustrated. At Dallas Whole Life Counseling, we are experienced at offering emotional support during life events like miscarriage. Here are some words of advice to help you during this trying time:
Know that you are not alone.
Miscarriages are common. Approximately 31% of confirmed pregnancies (1 in 3) end in miscarriage, but the real number is likely much higher because many miscarriages go unreported. Tons of women have miscarriages and each person has a different body with a different reaction. This makes finding out what’s “normal” difficult.
One of the first things women think when they find out they’re having a miscarriage is “What did I do wrong?” or “What could I have done to prevent this?” The word “miscarriage” means “to carry wrong,” so the tendency to blame oneself is not unusual.
But know this: you didn’t do anything wrong. A miscarriage is your body’s way of starting over when some part of the equation wasn’t quite right. The cause is often unknown, beyond your control, and involves a combination of factors. It is critical to avoid blaming yourself, forgive your body, and trust the process, however difficult that may be.
Give yourself time.
Many women soldier on through miscarriages, carrying on family duties or going back to work right away. They do this despite feeling overwhelming waves of sadness, numbness or physical discomfort. They often cry in the car or the bathroom, zone out during conversations, and push through social situations without discussing what’s going on internally, so as not to make those around them uncomfortable. This is partly because there is no societal standard or ritual for how to treat miscarriages. There is often only silence, rumors and shame.
Miscarriages, even small ones, are traumatic. They often trigger conditions like depression or heightened anxiety, and that is nothing to be ashamed of. It is important to take the time to process what has just happened and reset.
If possible, take time off work. Ask for help around the house. Allow yourself time to be whatever and wherever you need to be. Establish your own ritual for mourning your loss. And don’t succumb to pressure, from yourself or from others, to be sexually active again before you’re ready.
Avoid comparing yourself to others.
One of the hardest parts about having a miscarriage is celebrating others’ pregnancies. It’s hard to be happy for them when you are mourning your own loss. You may feel sad, guilty, angry, frustrated or jealous. You may feel nothing at all. This is normal, and will pass with time. It’s OK to excuse yourself from conversations or situations that could trigger pain for you. Do yourself a favor and avoid comparing yourself to them. Remember that their pregnancy has nothing to do with your loss.
Talk to someone.
If you can, talk to your partner. They are going through similar feelings of loss or confusion and you may be able to comfort each other. If that’s not an option, or if you need additional support, talk to a close friend or family member, or join a support group. Sometimes hearing from others who have had a miscarriage can help you gain perspective.
If you have spiritual needs, seek support from a spiritual advisor. Be sure to find someone who is knowledgeable and sensitive to women’s health and family matters. If you prefer to talk to a professional one-on-one, visit a counselor or family therapist. The sooner you can find support, the sooner you can heal.
You may also want to find a constructive outlet for your feelings. Write, sing, paint, redo something around the house, or just watch movies, cry and let your body rest and recover.
A miscarriage is hard on your body and mind. It can take a village to get through one, and a remarkable amount of inner strength. The most important thing you can do is be patient and kind with yourself. Take things one day at a time. Eventually, you will emerge from the fog and feel ready to take on the future.