Miscarriage Q&A: Healing after loss
The loss experienced after a miscarriage can be overwhelming. Like any bereavement, it can take some time to deal with.
Here are some answers to your questions...
Q. I have miscarried twice in the past six months and feel like such a failure that I can’t even do a simple thing like carry a baby. I can’t seem to get past it.
A. I’m so sorry for your loss. Losing just one baby is incredibly devastating, let alone going through it all a second time. It is very normal to feel a deep sense of loss or even failure even when you know logically there is nothing you could have done to prevent the miscarriages.
Research has shown that the depth of grief felt at miscarrying a baby can be as deep and profound as actually losing a child so right now you need to be very gentle with yourself and allow yourself appropriate time and space to grieve. This means that some days you might feel fine and others you just feel emotionally knocked off your feet.
Please bear in mind that the grieving process may take a lot longer than you initially thought and it tends to come in waves. One minute you are absolutely fine and the next you are in floods of tears.
A good idea would be to get emotional support. This may be from a miscarriage support group in your area, an on-line forum of women who have been through the same experience or seeing a therapist who deals specifically in these types of issues.
My experience as a therapist has shown that multiple miscarriages can bring up some very deep seated emotional issues around femininity and sexuality, your relationship, your trust in your body and issues of self worth. The right support can help you not only clear these emotions but also allow you to move forward feeling stronger with a much deeper understanding of yourself.
Q. My husband is doing anything he can to avoid thinking about my recent miscarriage and we're starting to bicker, which is making things worse. How can we start to communicate again?
A. The first thing to understand is that men often deal with these sorts of situations very differently. They find it much more difficult to express their feelings verbally but this does not mean that they are not feeling very strong emotions. Often when we don’t know how to deal with something, it can be much easier to withdraw into ourselves and this can leave you both feeling vulnerable, sad and unsupported.
I suggest in a quiet moment together you tell him the truth of how you are feeling and that you know he can’t fix it but you really need him to listen. This can give him a very practical way to support you and also give you an opening to discuss how he is feeling and find out if there is a way you can support him.
Many couples really benefit from taking time to have a ceremony to remember and mark what has happened. This can give you both something to focus on that acknowledges your loss and can give you the closure you need before you can move on.
Q. Can I prevent a miscarriage?
A. No, if you have actually started bleeding and the body is going to miscarry there is nothing you or the doctor can do to stop it.
What you can do is take steps to help yourself get physically and emotionally healthier for when you start trying again. The physical health of both you and your partner in the 12 weeks before conception can influence the quality of the egg and sperm produced.
Smoking, drinking and caffeine have all been linked to increased risk of miscarriage so it would be a good idea to cut back or give them up altogether. Although stress has never been proven as a factor in causing miscarriage, it is a good idea to actively take some time each to day relax and just take it easy.
Using a tool like Relaxation for Natural Conception can help you to relax deeply and positively impact your reproductive hormones. For more details, refer to the end of this post.
Q. I don’t feel like I’m coping after having a miscarriage. Who can help?
A. There are two avenues of support which may help. Firstly, you might want some really good factual information to help answer all the questions you may have. The Miscarriage Association have some fantastic leaflets as well as a helpline that you can call.
Secondly, for emotional support you may feel most comfortable speaking to a friend or family member. Bearing in mind that one in every four pregnancies ends in a miscarriage you may find there is someone very close to you who has also been through the experience.
If you are finding that you are still not coping you may want to speak to a bereavement counsellor or specialist therapist, like myself, who you can help you release the emotions and re-balance the body physically. This can be a very valuable experience and really help you to move on in a much healthier, happier way.
Q. I had two miscarriages last year and am now pregnant again. I really want to enjoy this pregnancy but am finding it so difficult to relax.
A. This is completely understandable. I had two miscarriages in late 2007 and when I fell pregnant with Max (born in March 2009) I found the first trimester very stressful. When you have had a miscarriage, the body has physical memory of the trauma, it’s not just an idea in your head. So not matter how ‘logical’ you are about it, your body wont let you forget.
Having an early scan may really help to allay your fears when you are able to see the baby and hear a healthy heartbeat. And the good news is that once you have made it through 12 weeks, your chances of miscarrying decrease significantly.
I have a Relaxation for Natural Conception that you can purchase for download at www.pattigood.com. This is a powerful healing tool for helping you stay calmer and feel more in control.
Relaxation encourages the body to release endorphins which actively reduces any stress hormone present in your body. This has an incredibly beneficial effect not only for you but also on your baby. Time to relax each day will give you very precious time to bond and connect with your baby and also help to restore your faith in your body.
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