With October being National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness month, I wanted to shed some light on having a miscarriage. A miscarriage is defined as when an embryo is expelled from the uterus before it can survive outside on its own. According to the American Pregnancy Association, between 10 and 25% of all pregnancies result in a miscarriage, but not enough people talk about how to cope with this devastating loss of a child.
In prior years, conversations about miscarrying have been seen as ‘taboo’ and not talked about much. However, as of recently, many celebrities have began to turn this around. Just recently, Olympic gold medalist Shawn Johnson shared a story about her recent miscarriage, shining a light on a subject that has been swept under the rug. Other celebrities such as Gabrielle Union and Kim Kardashian have recently shared their battle with miscarrying as well.
Aside from National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness month, initiatives such as National Fertility Awareness Week aim to change the perceptions around fertility, which is exactly why Secure Your Fertility was created. So many women suffer in silence and don’t feel as if they have a ‘safe place’ to discuss these issues.
So the question arises, when you have a miscarriage, how do you cope? How do you move on with your life without letting it affect your day to day? Here are a few tips that can help you on the journey to recovery after suffering such a loss in life.
1. Forgive yourself
The first thing you must do is forgive yourself. Miscarriage is something that happened to you, not something you did. When it comes to pregnancy loss, there’s very little that we are in control of. Biology takes over and in a way, you’re just along for the ride. Treat yourself as you would your best friend if she told you that this happened to her. Treat yourself with kindness at all times as it is a very sensitive time in your life.
2. Help your partner cope
As women, we can be extremely emotional beings. It can hurt when we see that our partner isn’t crying about the situation or reacting in the same way that we do. Many people grieve differently, it’s important to let them grieve in the way that best suits them. At this time, it’s also vital to have superb communication with your partner, instead of letting many things go unsaid. Check in to see if they are ok, too, and try your best to not get angry with them if they don’t show grief in the same way that you do.
3. Talk to other women who have experienced miscarriages
Again, it’s so important to have a group of women who you can confide in that have been through the same thing as you. Groups such as DEARS provide a safe-haven for women to realize that what they’re going through after miscarriage is not abnormal and that they are not alone. Find your confidants at this point in time, don’t isolate yourself. It’s important to not only share your story (if you’re ready) but to help others in their healing process if you can, too. This not only shows you that you’re not alone but also helps you to take it easier on yourself as well.
4. Get some rest.
The best way to keep your mental health in check is to make sure you are getting enough sleep. Letting yourself sink into a dark place will do more harm than good in the long run. It’s a perfect time to think about all of the things you are grateful about, whether it be your partner, supportive family or even the smallest things in life.
5. Plan for the future
It may be scary to even think of having another child after going through a miscarriage. However, it’s important to be open with your partner and let them know your expectations for the future. This way you both are in sync moving forward. Don’t get upset if you have adverse feelings of sex after a miscarriage, as it is completely normal to ‘fear’ something that now may have a negative connotation tied to it. Take your time before moving forward, but when you can, plan for how you and your partner will move forward from this.
The loss of a child in pregnancy isn’t something I want you to forget about. However, I do want you to make sure that you don’t let it swallow you whole. I understand that this can be an extremely confusing time in your life and even the smallest things can bring back that grief of loss you’ve once had. Don’t try to ‘speed up’ the healing process and realize that it’s not a one-path line, It happens in cycles. If you ever find the courage to speak up and share your story, I pray that you do. You never know who you could end up helping.