“I was so hopeful!
And then I got my period …and it felt as if I’d lost my baby again, for yet another time…”
Caroline was very upset. She’d had a miscarriage quite a while ago, and now she’d been trying to get pregnant again, for a number of months. And each time, she’d really hoped this month would be different, and then when she found that it wasn’t, it was really upsetting.
I’ve had twelve miscarriages myself, and I now work as a miscarriage support therapist, and I really understand what Caroline was going through!
It can be hard enough, trying over and over again to conceive each month, hoping that you’ll get pregnant.
But if you’ve also lost a baby in the past, then getting your period (and discovering that you’re not) can feel that much more distressing, because you really are back to the beginning again - back to square one, having to start all over again - when you thought that you’d left this stage behind. And the whole thing can be really upsetting.
If you find yourself in this situation, then my heart really goes out to you, and I would like to offer you the following thoughts.
1. There is a cyclical nature to what you're experiencing
We are cyclical creatures, with monthly menstrual cycles, and varying hormones, and our feelings can be cyclical, too. It’s very common for us to feel that our mood and our energy levels are lower, when we have our period. So it’s not surprising that you might be feeling upset!
And it can be natural to feel more hopeful and optimistic again, as we move through our cycle towards the time when we’re ready to try and conceive. And if you can try to relax and enjoy this more positive time, then that can give you some respite for several weeks, in each phase.
(And I do realise that this can be easier said than done! – especially if the fact of having to try to conceive each month is putting you and your partner under pressure.)
2. Having your period can be a physical reminder of losing your baby
I vividly remember the shock of getting my period, after my first miscarriage (and I was horrified that it had come round again so soon, and it really felt as if it was adding insult to injury.)
And you may be all too aware that there can sometimes be real physical similarities, between your period and a miscarriage (lots of blood, pain, upsetting hormones etc.)
And so when we see the blood, and experience the discomfort, it might be triggering distressing feelings and memories from when we lost our baby.
And this can be acutely upsetting, especially if you’re not expecting it, or you haven’t made the connection (- you might just be feeling very low, and sad, without having registered that there could be echoes from earlier occasions.)
3. There might be lingering trauma or distress, from your miscarriage
We often experience some really unpleasant and upsetting things, when we lose a baby.
And those memories and feelings can be stored in our minds and our bodies, and they can be triggered by situations that in some way remind us (unconsciously, quite possibly) of those circumstances. This directly links into what I was describing before.
In my work as a therapist with Caroline, I helped her to stop having painful emotions from upsetting or traumatic memories, from the time when she lost her baby.
Those memories will never be pleasant, but they no longer hurt her in the way that they used to. They felt far more emotionally-neutral now, and she found that the sight of blood, and the experience of period pains, no longer triggered those distressing feelings in the same way.
This means that when she got her period, this particular component of the upsetting equation was no longer coming into play.
She was “just” upset, because it was that time of the month, and she’d failed to get pregnant again (and I don’t mean that flippantly, at all, I promise you!!) but she wasn’t actually feeling traumatised too.
4. EFT "tapping" can help
EFT “tapping” (Emotional Freedom Techniques) is one of the two gentle and very powerful therapeutic self-help tools which I use with my clients, to help them to feel happier and more peaceful, after a miscarriage.
“Tapping” and TAT (Tapas Acupressure Technique) are both very effective for helping with upsetting and traumatic memories, in a very kind and gentle way, and that’s what I used with Caroline.
They are also wonderful tools to have at your fingertips, as you move through the monthly roller-coaster of hormones and emotions. Any time that you’re feeling unhappy, low, anxious, sad or disappointed, “tapping” can help to lessen the intensity of those emotions.
You can use it for physical discomforts too – so that can make period pains feel less intense, for example.
And you can also use it to support you in actively positive ways, as well. If you would like to feel happier, more energetic, or optimistic, and if you would like to make any kind of visualisation (that you might be possibly be doing) more effective, then “tapping” is a very helpful addition.
It's very easy to learn, and to do, and you can "tap" on yourself any time you would like to change the way you feel, and I can show you how to do this.
5. Remember to be kind and gentle with yourself
No matter what point you might find yourself at in the process of trying to have a baby, remember to have compassion for what you’re going through, and to be extra kind and gentle with yourself.
Trying to become pregnant can be a real emotional roller-coaster, and sometimes it can feel as if it’s been going on for a very long time.
It’s really important to give yourself time and space, to accommodate all the things you’re experiencing. And try to make sure you do some things for yourself which you find comforting and nurturing too.
If you think it might be helpful to have some emotional support as you go through all of this, then please feel very free to be in touch with me. I really do know what it’s like, and I would love to do whatever I can to make it easier for you. (I use Skype and Face Time, so you can be anywhere in the world.)
I’m sending you lots of love, and reminding you to take kind and gentle care of yourself, and I’m wishing you all the very best,
~ Rosalind xxx