Miscarriage is a devastating loss for a woman and her partner, especially when they have been walking the path of ‘unexplained infertility’. After finally conceiving, the sorrow of miscarriage is deep and often debilitating.
What many women don’t realize is they are mourning much more than the loss of the life they were carrying; they are mourning the loss of the life they always envisioned for themselves as women: To conceive naturally, to carry a pregnancy to term, and to give birth to a happy and healthy baby – the way nature intended.
Healing is a necessary part of the fertility journey. Acknowledging and grieving the loss of miscarriage in your own personal way is an essential step before trying to get pregnant again. To help you along your way towards motherhood, I have put together my best insights and suggestions (inspired by an article by Ann Wolski) on how to heal body, mind and soul after miscarriage.
1. Take Time-out from the World
Women cope in different ways with the emotional impact of miscarriage. One of the common coping mechanisms is to shut everyone out and take time out to be alone. Retreating to your bed, ignoring phone calls, avoiding visitors and generally refusing to take an active part in anything outside of your own world are all perfectly normal reactions.
Retreating is the mind’s way of dealing with the emotional overload of miscarriage. Because miscarriage can occur very quickly, the impact on your mind and body can be profound which is why your need for this personal space is a necessity. You need time to process your loss and if that means you need to cry and snuggle up in bed for a while, then so be it. Give yourself permission to deal with your loss with all the comfort and quiet you need.
2. Observe your Mixed Emotions without Judgment
The misery following miscarriage is described by many as being more intense and consuming than any other sadness they have experienced. Sadness, however, is not the only emotion that a woman suffers following this loss.
Another major emotion is anger. You might be angry with yourself, your partner, and possibly with the baby that was lost. You may feel angry at other women who are pregnant and resent women who aren’t looking after themselves as well as you have been and yet have healthy pregnancies.
Having a miscarriage can also lead to feelings of inadequacy. You may start to believe you are incapable of successfully doing something ‘so basic’ as having a child and this can cause a drop in your self esteem. If you have already experienced miscarriage in the past, these feelings are multiplied, leading to a fear that you will never experience having a child. This can often lead to feelings of emotional insecurity and frustration.
This mixture of emotions is a very painful and difficult one to hold so please have compassion for yourself. If you are feeling overwhelmed, seek the support of a trusted friend, spiritual advisor or counselor.
3. Take the focus off: What Caused the Miscarriage?
The cause of miscarriage is a mystery. Sometimes contributing factors can be identified but in most cases not a causative factor. This can lead women to look for blame in themselves and to feel guilty as a consequence.
You may be asking yourself, “How can I be sure it wasn’t because of something I did or didn’t do?” No matter how much you are reassuringly told that it’s not your fault, you may be unable to stop yourself from taking on some sense of responsibility for the miscarriage.
You might also become consumed in seeking answers about the cause. Was it genetic, something in the food or water, pollution or something else? No matter how hard you search, there is no answer to be found. This is the kind of loss that is unexplainable and requires a loving dose of compassion, forgiveness and trust that life is on your side.
4. Acknowledge the Grief
The profound grief of a miscarriage can be compared to the grief of losing a parent or sibling, yet this is difficult for others to understand. Your loss is not equated to the length of time you were pregnant but to the degree you were bonded with that baby.
For your grief to be fully resolved it also needs to be acknowledged by all the people closest to you and to your situation. Because in the case of early miscarriage, you don’t get to see the baby there is also no closure. This can create another obstacle in the grieving process and makes it all the more important that you grieve with your partner and your family and receive their full support and acknowledgment.
Coping with the Grief
How a woman copes with miscarriage is rooted in her own beliefs and coping mechanisms. Some women take months to recover emotionally while others take less. Partly, this depends on the meaning she had already attached to that baby and the space she had already created in her life for the baby.
In the case of an unplanned pregnancy, there may indeed be a sense of relief from miscarriage though this is not to say that all miscarriages of unplanned pregnancy are less distressing than planned pregnancies.
Most women will grieve acutely for around a month or more before the pain of loss subsides. This does not mean that it is forgotten or even resolved but is simply less acute. For the first week following miscarriage, it is quite normal to cry all day and to feel that you have no control over your life.
A general rule of thumb is that it takes about six weeks to grieve after a major life event such as miscarriage. This is considered a time of greatest need and if you allow yourself to have this time to grieve fully and without judgment, you will find it easier to ‘move forward’ with your life. Of course, this is only a guide to grieving time. If you need longer to recover or if you recover sooner, that is also okay. Grief is a very personal and individual journey.
5. Conceive the Inconceivable
In my work with women on the fertility journey, I have seen the heartbreaking effects of miscarriage. My heart goes out to every woman who longs for a baby to come through the vessel of her body. And if you are that woman I want you to know there is hope and lots of it. Especially if you have been diagnosed with unexplained infertility. I have personally worked with dozens of women over the years who were labeled infertile; I have seen them conceive and give birth naturally once they gave themselves time to heal from the pain and grief of multiple miscarriages and/ or years of failed IVF treatments.
I want to guide you to move through your loss with a sense of resiliency and hope.
Because you CAN heal and go on to become a mother. You can start that healing journey now with a special meditation I created to relax into your own divine timing.
Most of us have an idea in our heads of when we should achieve the milestone moments of our life (like becoming a mother). And when we don’t – it feels like we’ve failed.
Use this meditation to help you on the days you feel down on yourself or when you’re losing hope. Get back in touch with your inner knowing that you are absolutely meant to be a mother.