I experienced a miscarriage in July 2020. My husband and I got married earlier that year, and we were thrilled that I was pregnant. I was 10 and a half weeks along when I lost the baby. In the week that followed, I processed a lot of emotions. During that process, I created this list.
Losing a baby is an incredibly isolating experience. I found so much comfort and healing in reading the experiences of other people online in the days that followed. I want to share this list as a way to pass along my story and to hopefully, in a small way, help others who find themselves on the other side of the trauma of miscarriage.
- Tell at least one person you trust everything. There is power in saying it out loud and telling your story, unfiltered, as you begin to heal and process your emotions. You might be surprised by what you say. If that approach feels too uncomfortable, try writing it down instead. Either way, breaking the silence can be empowering.
- Find a creative outlet. You might find yourself wanting a creative outlet at this time. I felt a need to channel all of the nurturing and care I’d devoted to my body and my baby, and I found that baking really helped me feel like I could create something beautiful that brought me joy. You might try art, poetry or gardening. Whatever you choose, check in with yourself to ensure that this feels like an emotional outlet and not a distraction. Staying busy and glossing over your feelings is not a long-term solution. Be kind to yourself and take it slow.
- Feel the full range of emotions in your own time. I tried to be strong for everyone else, including the doctor and nurses who provided my care. By the fourth day, I cried all day long. Fight the urge to go through the list of “at leasts” (“at least I could get pregnant,” “at least I wasn’t further along,” “at least I survived”). So many women invalidate their own trauma because other people have it worse. Regardless of the circumstances around your miscarriage, you owe it to yourself to grieve. This is a loss that you will mourn the rest of your life.
- Benefit from postpartum care. At the time of my miscarriage, I had never been a mother, but I did an extensive postpartum doula training that helped inform my recovery. A miscarriage is a traumatic event from an emotional standpoint but also a physical one. Rest as much as possible. Stay warm. Wear comfortable clothing. Avoid over stimulation, social media and violent or upsetting content. I found that belly support felt comforting to me. Stay hydrated and eat easy-to-digest foods. Focus on nourishing your body and your soul.
- When you’re ready, find ways to reconnect with your body again. I struggled with trusting my body and felt like it was a totally separate being that had betrayed me. Yoga was an incredible tool for me. Below is an excerpt from my journal in the week following my miscarriage. It describes the moment that I reconnected with my body. Disclaimer, this is very raw, so please don’t read this if you have recently experienced a pregnancy loss.
While I was doing yoga, I realized that I felt at odds with my body – a duality of sides. One side wanted the baby and the other side murdered the baby. I know that’s not logical. Actually, I guess there’s truth to it. The part of my body that keeps systems running and that knows how to create a baby also realized that the baby wasn’t going to survive. It was merciful. But there was another part of me that loved being pregnant and daydreamed about finally holding our baby girl, a part that rested my hand on my belly all day because I felt connected to her, and that part must not know anything because I was completely blindsided by the miscarriage. I put my hand to my belly for weeks without knowing that everything in my belly was dead. In that moment, I tried to connect with my body and integrate the two sides. As I sobbed, I could finally feel the cells in my uterus again. And they were mourning, too.
It’s been a year and half since my miscarriage. In that time, I got pregnant and had a healthy baby girl. But the fear and sadness of losing a child is still very fresh within me. And I think that’s okay. Healing will take a lot of reflection and self love. I hope that you have the resources you need to help your recovery and that you are able to find the time and space you need to grieve. And if it all becomes too much, please please seek professional help. You have my love and deepest sympathy.