Friday, November 21, 2008

Thoughts on Miscarriage

Hello! I've been reflecting a lot on the past lately...remembering some of the hard times we have been through in our journey to conceive this child. I remember how after each loss I would scour books and internet sites looking for advice on how to cope. I just didn't find very much out there. I ended up joining an online support group that helped a lot. There were instant connections with tons of other women like me going through the same things; it felt soothing to hear the kinds of words I really needed at those times. I highly recommend joining an online support group if you ever have to face miscarriage or any other sort of problem you may need help with. That being said, I've had emails from lovely people all over who have wanted to get in touch and ask me for advice on moving forward after early pregnancy loss. Let me say, I'm no expert but I do have a few thoughts on the issue that I feel are paramount in MY moving forward through each day with a little less pain. I restate: these were discoveries that worked for ME and I share them in hopes that they may very well help YOU.
1. You will need to grieve. Don't expect to just "get over it." You won't. I don't know if you ever do. The pain will start to dull (like any wound) but you will carry the event with you forever (like a scar.) I don't know how long it takes...I would burst into sudden tears over my first loss even over a year later. It still bothers me to think about it. This is the death of a most precious loved one. It is the loss of the hopes and dreams you had started to formulate for this little life. The loss of what might have been. Don't be shy about being upset about it or needing to cry. And don't let anyone tell you not to feel upset.
2. While it is important to grieve, do not allow yourself to lose touch with life and become entrenched in depression. There is a difference from feeling sadness from loss and feeling unable to get out of bed every day. I slipped into a depression myself and it was a dark place to be. I just didn't know how to feel better. I was dwelling on all negative things...feeding the beast. When I made a conscious decision to focus on only positive things my life completely shifted and I felt light again. If you need to consult a grief councilor then do so! They are trained to help you move forward and this is a good time to be proactive in your mental healing.
3. While grieving, please remember that your partner/husband, family, and friends are not all trained councilors. Most people have no idea of what to say to you to make you feel better. Frankly, there's nothing to be said that can make it better. But it is easy to try and always turn to family and friends for a listening ear when you are feeling upset...and after several months they may throw up their hands in dismay and say "snap out of it!" Try and remember that while everyone cares, they simply aren't trained to know what to say to you. You will likely hear a lot of sound-bites in attempts to make you feel better: "God works in strange and mysterious ways" is an example I heard a lot (not quite sure what this even MEANS) or even better "at least you lost it early and you know you'll appreciate your next pregnancy even more!" Yes, that was a gem. I guess my point is, don't let it get to you if nobody knows what to say anymore...they DO care. Again, consider an online or in-person support group or grief councilor to help you. And also, remember that for many of you: your partner is hurting too. My husband was a rock for me...showing me so much love, attention, and concern. But after several months, I hadn't really seen HIM shedding tears and asking WHY. It took a long time before I saw him start to show those sorts of emotions...he'd just been such a strong force for me to lean on...it was harder for him to "let go" his feelings in light of that. It's not like he could call up his buddies and just bring up the topic. I wish he'd had more of an outlet for his sad feelings. Women seem to have a much easier time talking to each other about these issues. Remember to be sensitive to your partner's feelings as well. It's a loss for you both! Communication makes a big difference.
4. Avoid the internet. This, for me, is the biggest piece of advice I could give. After my losses, I scoured the net looking for comfort. I looked for reasons and explanations and statistics. I read other people's sad stories. In a nutshell: I made things so much worse for myself. I read so many horror stories that I worked myself up to tears nearly every day. I'd convinced myself that I would NEVER have a healthy child. That I would NEVER get pregnant and keep it. I read horrible statistics and warnings. The truth is, most people aren't out there to write about how "everything went great." Usually they are out there sharing their terrible stories in hopes to find kindred spirits. So, in your quest to find comfort and "success stories" you will really mostly find tales of woe and heartache. The medical sites focus on clinical data and leave you feeling hopeless. Let me tell you this: You are unique. Nobody has YOUR EXACT medical history and DNA. Your issues are your own. That same rule applies to everyone else. So if you read a horror story, remember that it is THEIR story; not yours. You don't know the full medical history of these people or what they are leaving out. In the end, surfing the net for answers and comfort only leads to tears, fear, and hopelessness (in general). I'm all for using it here or there if you want to look up basic information. But don't spend hours and hours scouring and falling into the "web of horrors." It took me a year and a half to turn away from the computer. Remember that negative brings more negative? I'd decided to focus on the positive in my life and that meant turning away from my beloved internet every time I felt sad and wanting "answers." It was the best decision I'd ever made. Avoid the seductive call of the internet! Find peace and comfort amongst humans and through your own doctor. It's all you truly need.
5. Try to find a sense of acceptance. I know this is virtually impossible. But in life, bad things happen to us all the time. It's all part of the cycle of living. I asked WHY!? every single day and I'll never know the answer. It just IS. Why do birds sing? Why is earth round? There are some things that just ARE. And this, I feel, is one of them. I had a much easier time moving forward when I accepted my losses as a part of life and that I will never know the reasons. Whether it is one loss or 20 losses, each one is painful and horrible. Nothing takes that away. But we move to a place of acceptance that this is what we've been dealt and we must choose the path of love and peace (don't we owe it to the little ones we lost?). In love and peace we will always find happiness.

These are just thoughts of my own on the topic...they were specific to the feelings I dealt with. Everyone is different and has different circumstances. There is no cookie cutter way of handling our feelings. But, I wanted to share my own experiences in hopes that maybe someone out there can pull something out of this entry that is useful in their own journey. My thoughts and best wishes are with you all!

5 comments :

DangAndBlast! said...

Thank you for this. I just shared this post with my mother, and she says it's all good advice. She knows what she's talking about, too -- she's had personal experience, and worked as a counselor for women after abortions, then, after reading a newspaper article in which a man said that nobody should feel bad after an abortion because "nobody mourns after a miscarriage" (and knowing how massively wrong that is), she expanded her reach to women who have lost babies before birth for any reason. So many women are told that they're not supposed to feel anything because "it was never alive," which is so hurtful. The "your friends aren't therapists" and "don't go online" she especially agrees with. Thanks for your post!

alicia said...

very wise advice.

Anonymous said...

Hi Megan, I've been obsessing about your gorgeous nursery and love everything about it! And I just stumbled across this post and wanted to send you a huge congrats. I've had 5 losses in the last 1.5 years and am now 15 weeks along, so my heart really goes out to you and finds great hope that you are so far along. All the best to you and your growing family.
Nancy

Meredith said...

Thank you for this post. I randomly happened upon your website a few months ago after seeing the nursery on another webpage. I found out I was pregnant soon after and just lost the baby at 7 weeks. I don't know if God or fate or whatever brought me to this page today, but I think you are the best messenger and I am really going to try to follow your advice (especially about staying off the internet looking for answers - something I've been doing fruitlessly for the past 48 hours). Paige is beautiful and I hope to one day experience the joy you are feeling with her.
Meredith

Anonymous said...

Just like the poster above me said - I happened to come across your page via seeing your beautiful nursery on another website. I experienced a miscarriage in January and it just rocked me to my core. I am already blessed to be a mama of 5 and the pregnancy was not planned, but oh how I wanted that baby from the first moment I found out. I would do anything to get that baby back. I had no idea what terribly lonely grief miscarriage can be. Thank you for your wise words.

R

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