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Did I cause my miscarriage?

...what to do if you're blaming yourself

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“I didn’t know I was pregnant!

I did all of these things I wouldn’t have done, if I’d known I was pregnant - and then I had a miscarriage.

And I wish I hadn’t, and I can’t stop blaming myself…”

 

Karen was really upset. She’d been on a (batchelorette) ‘hen weekend’ with a group of girlfriends, before she’d discovered she was pregnant, and they’d enjoyed two days at a countryside centre that specialised in outdoor activities, and relaxation.

 

She’d been for a long bike ride, and drunk coffee, and sat in a hot tub and drunk prosecco.

 

And when she had a miscarriage a couple of weeks later, she assumed that the things she’d done that week end must have caused it. And she was beating herself up, and wishing she could turn back time and do things differently …and she was feeling heart-broken, and inconsolable.

 

When we lose a baby, especially in the first twelve weeks of pregnancy, it can be incredibly common for us to blame ourselves, and to wonder if we did something to cause it, and to beat ourselves up for it.

 

If you’ve found yourself wondering whether you caused your miscarriage, here are a few things to remember…

1. The everyday stresses of modern life do not cause miscarriages

Scientific studies have not found a link between miscarriage and the ordinary stresses of modern life.

To put it more bluntly, we could say …babies are tough. (Someone once told me that babies often survived war zones and concentration camps, and so the moderate stresses of our everyday lives do not generally threaten a healthy pregnancy. It’s a bit of a drastic thing to say – but it’s essentially true.)

So the fact that Karen drank coffee and some prosecco, and went for a long bike ride, and sat in a hot tub, does not mean that she caused her miscarriage. So why did it happen?

2. Most causes of miscarriages are either unknown, or beyond our control

Scientists believe that more than half of the miscarriages which happen in the first twelve weeks of pregnancy are random medical events, caused by chromosomal abnormalities in the fertilised egg.

 

What this usually means is that the egg or the sperm had the wrong number of chromosomes, so the fertilised egg could not develop normally. And so it miscarries.

 

And this is thought to happen roughly every one in four or five pregnancies. And as I said, scientists believe that when this happens, it’s random. It doesn’t mean that you can’t have a healthy baby. It’s simply the case that not every sperm and egg is perfect.

 

So the chances are that Karen didn’t do anything to cause her miscarriage. She was just very unlucky. This may well have been one of those times when something wasn’t quite right, and so it naturally didn’t progress, and she miscarried.

 

And that is still heart-breaking …but it wasn’t Karen’s fault.

3. Try not to blame yourself

It’s really common for us to blame ourselves, when we’ve had a miscarriage. And we can still do this even when people around us are telling us that it wasn’t our fault.

You may have been told by a doctor or a nurse, that you didn’t do anything to cause your miscarriage. Or your partner, family or friends may be telling you this. And a part of you might want to believe this, but part of you might still be thinking it’s your fault…

Try not to blame yourself, if this is the case.

And I know that can be easier said than done! …which brings me on to my next point:

4. Just talking about it might not be enough, to change the way you feel

I’m a miscarriage support therapist, and over the years I’ve worked with many, many women who’ve had a miscarriage. And I’ve discovered two things:

The first is that it’s very, very common for us to think we might have done something to cause our miscarriage.

And the second is that it’s not that easy to “talk” someone out of feeling like this.

Our rational brains may (or may not) be paying attention to the logic and the scientific explanations. But the emotional, gut-level part of us can still feel very upset and hurt, and this emotional part doesn’t necessarily “listen” to explanations at all!

So if you still find yourself wondering if you did something which caused your miscarriage, and you’re beating yourself up for it, you’re not alone.

You almost certainly didn’t! But don’t be surprised if part of you is still wondering if you did (- and have some compassion for the fact that you’re feeling like this. It’s really common.)

5. EFT "tapping" can help you to change the way you feel about this

One of the two powerful and effective self-help tools which I use with my clients is EFT, Emotional Freedom Techniques (commonly known as “tapping”.)

EFT releases stuck emotions from our bodies, very easily and gently. It’s these stuck emotions which make us feel so unhappy, and which keep these ‘limiting beliefs’ stuck in place.

When we no longer ‘feel’ as if we caused our miscarriage (at an emotional, and gut level) then our minds have a chance to catch up, and we can feel far more peaceful, and stop beating ourselves up, and regretting any actions we may (or may not) have taken.

It can be a huge relief to let go of these thoughts and feelings. When we’ve been believing that something we did caused us to lose our baby, that makes the whole thing even more painful! And so recognising that we didn’t cause it, and that we were just unlucky, allows us to take that upsetting element out of our grieving and healing process. And it can feel a lot more peaceful.

I’m blaming myself for my miscarriage’ is the title of one of the “tapping” videos in my online miscarriage support Video Program and it helps with exactly this issue. Many women have told me that it’s really changed the way they feel. And this is also one of the things we do together, when I work with people individually, using Skype or Facetime.

So in summary, I just want to ask you to be kind and gentle to yourself. And to have compassion for how you may be feeling. Try not to blame yourself, as your miscarriage was almost certainly not your fault. And if you’re struggling to let go of that belief, remember that there are ways to help you change the way you feel about it.

If you have any questions, do please be in touch with me. Take very great care of yourself, and I’m wishing you all the very best.

~ Rosalind xxx

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