Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Surviving a Miscarriage

It a topic that very few people talk about, but in fact, is a very common occurrence. Talk to just about anyone and either they themselves have had one or know someone that has. Miscarriages are difficult at best and affect both the physical well being and also the emotional well being of everyone involved.

I had one several years ago, when my older daughter was about two (before my younger daughter was born. In fact, if the miscarriage had not happened, she would probably not be around and she is such a sweetie!) I will be honest with you, that for me, it nearly wiped me out physically. I was not as upset about losing the baby (my daughter was such a busy child and such a handful and I was not and still am not in the best of health), but it took me quite awhile (at least three months) before I felt remotely human again.

A miscarriage is tough, no matter how you slice it. It is one of the hardest things in life to bear. You have to allow yourself some time to grieve. Like any death, this is a loss. After the miscarriage, you may feel a rollercoaster of emotions from denial to shock to guilt to disbelief to depression to sadness. These are all very normal feelings and will take some time to heal. Some women have miscarriages before they even know they are pregnant and others have already bonded with the baby but it does not matter how pregnant you are or were, it still is a difficult time to endure.

There are a few emotions that you will need to deal with such as shock and denial; anger and depression and then finally acceptance. Shock because a miscarriage is unexpected; anger in the sense of why did this happen to me? I have taken good care of myself and I have always wanted a baby and finally acceptance in the sense of the knowledge that it was NOT your fault, things happen and there are many other women that have gone through the same thing and maybe I can get some help for myself from them.

Here are a few ideas that will help you cope with the loss:

Grieve. Do not let anyone tell you that you can get pregnant again or tell you to cheer up or tell you it was the will of God at least you were not very far along (yes, I did hear that one and how thoughtless is the person for saying that? A baby is a baby!) Crying is part of the healing process, so do not be ashamed of these feelings and your tears. Also, remember that men grieve differently than women do.

Accept offers of help. If you have another child and someone offers to take them for an afternoon, let them. Take offers of food and any other help that is offered!

Keep a journal. This is a good idea because a) it documents your feelings and b) it helps in the healing process.

Try counselling. Or you could try a support group and talking to other women who have had a similar experience can be very helpful. If you cannot find one in your area, try the Internet.

You could have a memorial service for the baby; you could plant a tree or a special plant for the baby. Any act that will help you remember the baby.

Physically, it will take your body a few months to get back to normal. Pregnancy hormones will remain in your body up to three months after wards and your period should resume again in about three weeks. My advice is to get as much rest as you can right after your miscarriage. Eat plenty of healthy foods and vegetables and take care of yourself. Cut yourself some slack and enlist the help of your family members.

Getting pregnant again can be full of worry and fear and until the baby arrives, well the worrying again is quite normal. You will be best to make sure your doctor or midwife understands and is extra supportive. If you feel better, squeeze in an extra ultra sound and extra doctors visits. It will help reassure you.

Doctors usually cannot pinpoint the actual cause of the miscarriage. Sometimes it is a trauma such as a fall, but usually the cause is unknown. In saying this, most people do not really care about the cause, they just wonder why it happened to them. If you have had a miscarriage, take care of yourself and if you know someone that has, be caring but do not be in their face, let them grieve and heal, but assist them when they need help.

As for me, I had a miscarriage in late January and got pregnant again in June. I was lucky in the sense that we would have stopped after two babies, and well I would have missed out on my sweet Hannah if the miscarriage had not happened (it helps to look at the bright side also). It took me a while to get back to normal both physically and emotionally, but believe me it is possible, so hang in there!

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