“Grief, I’ve learned, is really just love. It’s all the love you want to give, but cannot. All that unspent love gathers up in the corners of your eyes, the lump in your throat, and in that hollow part of your chest. Grief is just love with no place to go.”JAMIE ANDERSON
A miscarriage is one of the most painful experiences any individual or couple will ever go through. Losing an unborn baby leaves a gaping hole in your heart and fills you with profound grief that is impossible to explain to someone that has not experienced it themselves. Although one in five pregnancies ends in miscarriage, it’s a painful topic to discuss, and everyone handles the experience differently. Grief isn’t one-size-fits-all nor static; it ebbs and flows, often hitting you in the most mundane moments like a crashing wave. While some women want to start trying to get pregnant again shortly after experiencing a miscarriage, others may hold off for years. There is no “right” time for having a rainbow baby. Still, when it happens, there is a whirlwind of emotions that follow: happiness, renewed grief, anxiety, joy, heartache, and even guilt. Keep reading to learn more about how to celebrate new life while honoring a loss.
Healing Mentally After A Miscarriage
Contrary to popular belief, your odds of conceiving after miscarriage are no different than any other woman your age, barring any medical conditions. Ovulation can occur about two weeks after your miscarriage, though many physicians suggest waiting to conceive until one entire menstrual cycle has passed for both physical and mental reasons. The reality is, the anguish from losing a pregnancy won’t disappear overnight and won’t be erased by another pregnancy. It’s helpful to take however long you need to seek out support from friends, family, or even a licensed therapist.
Allow Yourself Time To Grieve
After a miscarriage, you deserve the time and space to process the loss entirely. The grieving process should not be rushed or ignored, as it is crucial to healing. Allow yourself to be angry, to cry, or to spend time alone. Although each person will grieve differently, many people find it validating to memorialize their baby somehow. For example, creating a pregnancy book as a way to remember your lost child can provide a sense of closure.
Talk About It On Your Terms
Now, more than ever before, people are talking candidly about infertility and pregnancy loss. Social media, especially, is a hub for these raw discussions. If you want to share your experience publicly, you absolutely should, and you may find that you know many others that have experienced the same thing. If you don’t want to share your loss with people you know, there are also many Facebook groups for women that have experienced pregnancy loss that you can lean on. At the end of the day, though, you shouldn’t feel pressured to talk about your experience unless you’re comfortable. Remember, it’s your story. You can choose when, where, and with who you share your experience. If you only ever want to talk about it with your spouse and your therapist, that’s great too.
Re-Connect With Your Body
After a miscarriage, you might feel like your body betrayed you, and that’s normal. You may also feel disconnected from your body and unsure of how to navigate your post-miscarriage life. Once you get the go-ahead from your physician, you may want to try dipping your toes into some forms of gentle exercise. For example, stretching, swimming, walking, yoga, or dancing could help you feel at peace with your body again. If exercise isn’t an option, meditation can be a powerful way to anchor yourself with breathing techniques.
Being pregnant after a miscarriage can lead to a wide range of emotions, including anxiety, panic, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Every single milestone of your new pregnancy may trigger a flood of negative emotions, including fear of losing the baby or guilt about the baby you’ve lost. Some people may even avoid baby showers or other celebrations because of worry about another miscarriage.
To ease the negative emotions during pregnancy, there are several things you can do:
Instead of worrying about the future, try focusing on each day at a time. Pay special attention to your successes each day and how you are honoring your body. For example, maybe you took a long walk, did yoga, or had a sonogram appointment. By focusing on the daily successes, the entire experience feels less overwhelming.
Lean On Your Partner
When you’re in the depths of grief, it can be easy to forget that your partner suffered a loss too. While men and women often deal with loss differently, talking about it is crucial to healing. Try not to bottle up your feelings or invalidate theirs; each person processes loss in their own way; it’s just essential that you support each other.
Ensure Your Healthcare Team Knows Your History
When selecting an obstetrics team, it can be beneficial to choose one that knows your history, is compassionate, and understands your need for extra assurance. You might want to pop into the office to hear the heartbeat between visits or call with specific questions. Having a provider that is sensitive to your needs can put your mind at ease.
Connecting with others in similar situations is highly worthwhile for those navigating pregnancy after a miscarriage. Share is an organization that supports people who’ve experienced pregnancy and infant loss, and they can help you find a group in your area.
At The Gift of Parenthood organization, we aim to help couples and individuals struggling with infertility achieve their dreams of becoming parents through fertility assistance grants ranging from $1,000 to $16,000, available four times a year.
Want to spread hope? Donate to our cause here.