But, here I am, over two years later and my strength and positivity have grown. But it wasn’t easy and it’s most definitely not something that can be ignored. There are things I did to help me get past the sadness.
I talked about it
When I had my first miscarriage it still seemed quite a taboo subject to talk about. It wasn’t something that was openly talked about and the ‘rule’ about when was the correct time to announce a pregnancy still revolved around the risk of miscarriage, yet, I’m so glad I had told close friends and family of my pregnancy earlier than the 12-weeks because it meant I could talk about my loss.
Talking about it certainly wasn’t easy but the support from the people that knew about it got me through. If you don’t say anything, people are none the wiser, they have no way of supporting you when you need it most. You will also find that talking about it gives other women the courage to talk about their experience and when you can talk about similar experiences, it is the best way to vent emotions instead of bundling them all up inside. As a blogger, I also found that sharing my miscarriage experiences meant that other women felt less alone because it was, in fact, a subject that was so infrequently discussed.
It’s OK to acknowledge the loss of your child
When I lost my first pregnancy, I was 9 weeks along. I’d seen my baby’s heart flicker on the screen and so, to me, it was real. This little being inside me was my child and so after I lost her, I chose to acknowledge an actual baby. Don’t ever think that because you experienced loss early in pregnancy that it wasn’t a ‘real’ loss. It is your baby from the very moment you conceive, you experience every emotion, hormonal and body change from the beginning. It is a human life growing inside you. It is real and you can acknowledge it as such.
Seek the support of women
One of the most important things is to have the support of female friends and family. At the time, I was part of a playgroup and the mums there offered so much support, particularly when I could not physically be with my own mother who I’d usually fall on for support. My friend who was to have her baby only a couple of days after my experience still took the time to come and visit and help me through. She turned up on my doorstep to support me the day I found out I had to go in for surgery. It’s OK to cry with them, hug them and just let it all go. As women, they will understand.
Don’t forget your partner
Don’t distance yourself from your partner, it’s just as hard for them too, perhaps not in the same way, but it’s still hard. I think the most important thing for me was to talk about the experience and our emotions, to be open with our feelings. I particularly tried not to expect my husband to fully understand what I was going through but to give him a chance to and to try and understand his loss from his perspective. Obviously, they don’t have the physical connection with the baby but that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t affect them emotionally as their hopes and dreams are too, snuffed out.
Take your time
As I said, I still experience the sadness of my miscarriages every now and then and so I truly think it’s important to accept that the grieving process will take time and that you may never get ‘over’ the loss, things just get easier. The loss will most likely make a huge imprint on your life, shape who you are and your outlook.
Don’t hurry, let yourself grieve, take time out, you don’t need to prove anything to anyone. Remember to look after yourself too. As easy as it is to let the grief take hold, there will be a day when you will rise from the darkness and be able to move forward, but you won’t be able to do this if you don’t look after yourself first.
Remind yourself that it is not your fault
This is such an important reminder. I remember blaming myself after my miscarriages, that it was because I was stressed, my second miscarriage because I was sick with bronchitis and my body struggled, because I didn’t exercise enough, because I conceived too close to coming off contraception. You name it, I blamed myself for it. But when I started talking about and writing about my experiences, I came to realise how common miscarriage actually is and stopped blaming myself less and less. I accepted it as a part of life.
Miscarriage is something that can never be undone. It’s life changing, it’s perception changing, it’s hard. But I hope you can take comfort in knowing that as time passes, it will get easier and, I hope, some of my tips will help you along the way. If you find you are really struggling, please go and see your GP.