In my 3 years of TTC number two I have had 5 losses. 4 miscarriage (all between 7.5 and 10 weeks) and 1 chemical pregnancy. It is extremely common to have one miscarriage. One out of every four pregnancies ends in miscarriage, but to have 3 or more consecutive miscarriages is rare. Only 1% of women fall into this category. Unfortunately, I am a member of that club. While the physical healing process is usually fairly quick for most women, the emotional healing is another story. During this rollercoaster, you may feel a lot of emotions including, sadness, depression, guilt and anger. Additionally, you may feel apathy and or be in disbelief. Some women are able to move on after the loss quickly, while other women may fall into deep anguish. There is no right or wrong on how you should feel. You will be the only one who can determine how you feel, no one can tell you otherwise. After my 1st miscarriage, I felt every single one of these emotions and possibly more. I’m not kidding you, but after five losses I have learned several things that helped me through this difficult time and calm the turbulence a bit. Although, I will never fully get over my losses, here are some of the steps I have taken to help me heal during this difficult time in my life.
- Allow yourself to grieve. Your natural response to loss is grief. Please make sure not to rush it. There is no set time on how long it takes to grieve or heal.
- Cry when you need to. Crying is a form of release. I cried in the shower, in the car, in bed, while I was cooking, in yoga class, at the grocery store. You name it. I cried there.
- Talk about it. For me getting things off my chest was extremely necessary and therapeutic. Unfortunately, some people can be difficult to talk to due to the stigma of it. (Please feel free to read my earlier post about The Stigma behind Secondary Infertility and Miscarriage). Do NOT worry if it makes them feel uncomfortable or about what they think. This is your journey and you have every right to share it. Remember you can always talk to a counselor, pastor or rabbi if that works better for you.
- Forgive yourself. This is NOT your fault. After 5 consecutive miscarriages, I felt that I was being punished by G-d or I did something to cause it. I questioned myself like crazy. Was it because I drank coffee? Did I exercise too much? Was it because I had sex? Was it the brie I ate? The answer was always NO! Since I had 3 consecutive miscarriages, I decided to see a Reproductive Endocrinologist to get some answers. Turns out, like most 1st trimester miscarriages, mine were due to chromosomal abnormalities. I found out later that feeling guilt or blaming yourself is totally normal. Remind yourself, this is not your fault. It wasn’t the soft cheese you ate or because you drank a cup of coffee.
- Take some time off if necessary to allow yourself to grieve, but after the dust has settled a bit, get back to your regular schedule. Make sure you get out of bed and get dressed. Get fresh air and do activities with other people. This seemed extremely difficult for me at first, but once I was out, it helped me tremendously.
- Join support groups. I found this exceptionally helpful. There several groups on Facebook and Baby Center that I consider a Godsend. There is also one that Resolve The National Association Of Infertility partners with called Inspire. I knew these women walked a similar path so I felt safe there. I was very lucky to not only get help from these groups, but also was able to make some incredible friendships. Some that I know will last a lifetime.
- Write down your thoughts and feelings. Writing a journal or writing poems can be extremely therapeutic during this time of tragedy. Sometimes even more so then talking about it. After my 1st loss was when I wrote the most. I found that I didn’t think about it as much as if I would if I were talking to someone. I was less scared, more raw and extremely uncensored. And now after my fifth loss, I have decided to write a blog to not only help myself, but to hopefully support others who may be suffering similar challenges and pain.
- Exercise!!!! When you exercise it releases many neurotransmitters including dopamine, endorphins and serotonin which play a big part in your mood control. Also, since exercise is a distraction it can help take your mind off any negative thoughts or worries. It’s true. I personally can attest to this working. And not only did this help my mood, it also helped me get rid of the foggy feeling I often get when I am grieving. If I lost weight, that was a added bonus of course. So do your best to get your blood moving. Even if it’s a short walk or bike ride around the neighborhood.
- Meditate. According to Buddhism, meditation is the best remedy for our sorrows, fears and anxiety. Meditation is about awareness. In our busy everyday lives, it is easy to lose that awareness. Add in all the emotions of a miscarriage then you can seem lost. Yoga and meditation allowed me to be honest and present with myself and my feelings while drowning out the commotion around me and in my head. I experimented with many types of yoga. I found all very helpful, but some more helpful then others. The one I found most helpful was Kundalini. It allows you to cleanse and charge your body and mind with poses, breath work, chanting and meditation. The 1st time I did it, I found myself crying. At first, I was taken back by this and was a bit embarrassed, but later I came to realize that I was actually releasing something I needed to get out. I found it truly helped me physically, emotionally and spiritually heal and transform.
- Be kind and gentle with yourself. During my 3rd loss, I not only was dealing with heartache, but also was so stressed out between working, taking care of my family and keeping up with all the cooking and house work among other things. I have learned the hard way that putting too much on plate is a recipe for disaster. Make sure to take time for yourself. Shut all of your electronics off and completely disconnect. Watch TV or a movie. Get a massage. Go get your nails or hair done. Take a walk. I don’t care what it is, just make sure you do something to take care of YOU! And remember, there is no silver bullet when healing. JUST DO YOUR BEST!
Love and Baby Dust,