I’ve had twelve miscarriages and I now work as a miscarriage support therapist, and I’m really familiar with the stages which we can go through, after we’ve lost a baby.
One of those stages is the point when reality really sinks in, and we realise :-
the baby I’d been carrying is gone – it’s over – and I’ve been left with the cold, bleak reality of my life as it is now, and the horror of realising that if I still want to have a baby, I’m going to have to start all over again.
I can remember this stage so well! …in my own case, it was often two to three months after the miscarriage itself. I was over the most acute grief and distress, and my body and hormones were more or less back to normal. And it was no longer upper-most in the minds of the people around me (and perhaps they expected that I would be over it by now.)
All of the plans and hopes I’d had for that baby were well and truly gone. The dates and events I’d anticipated - in the months and years to come - were back to looking like they were before I’d been pregnant (there wouldn’t be a baby with us at Christmas, after all; and I wouldn’t be pregnant when we were on holiday, either …that kind of thing.)
And the only way this was going to change is if I managed to become pregnant again – something which I thought I’d accomplished and finished with, and I wasn’t expecting to have to deal with again, so soon! (If it’s taken you a while to become pregnant, in the first place, this can be tremendously painful and disappointing to have to come to terms with.)
If you’re experiencing any of this, my heart goes out to you: I know how hard it can feel. And you might find it helpful to bear some of these points in mind:
1. Have compassion for how you're feeling
This is tremendously hard to deal with. You’re almost certainly still grieving for the baby you’ve lost. Research in the United States shows that most women do not begin to feel back to “normal” again for a minimum of four months after a miscarriage – and it can take a lot longer than that. So have compassion for what you’re going through.
2. It's normal to feel like this, and you're not alone
One of the things I really remember about this stage was how lonely and isolated I used to feel. All the excitement and connection of being pregnant was totally in the past. And the support and communications I received immediately after the miscarriage had also come to an end.
I used to feel as if I was completely on my own, left to pick up the pieces of the life which I’d known before I was pregnant, and which I actually felt a million miles away from, and not very interested in resuming. My heart wasn’t in it. I used to feel as if I’d lost the plot. There wasn’t anything I was looking forward to.
If you’re feeling any of these things, please remember that there’s nothing wrong with you for feeling like this, and you’re not alone. There are people who want to support you: that might be your family and friends, or you might want to contact me, or some of the organisations which exist to support women after a miscarriage. Talking to someone really can help.
3. You're not a failure; you're actually being really courageous
I used to feel as if I’d failed, especially as I had more and more miscarriages. I used to feel as if the world had turned away, and was getting on with things without me. I “should” have been continuing to be pregnant, and eventually having a baby, but instead I felt very left behind, and a little bit ashamed, as I very reluctantly started to contemplate the painful prospect of trying to become pregnant once again. This was a horrible feeling.
If you’re experiencing any of this, please remember that you’re not a failure. On the contrary, you’re actually being very courageous. It really takes a lot of strength and courage to be with all of this pain and disappointment, and still to be contemplating whether you want to continue to try to have a baby, or not. And again, remember that there are people who can support you through this, if that would be helpful. And there is no rush. You don’t have to come to any sudden conclusions or decisions about what to do next. Simply putting one foot in front of the other can be sufficient.
4. EFT "tapping" can help
EFT “tapping” (Emotional Freedom Techniques) is a gentle and effective self-help tool which you can use to support yourself through these feelings, and this process of healing and recovery. “Tapping” doesn’t take the grief away, or change your circumstances, but it definitely does lessen any painful emotions which you’re experiencing in any given moment, and makes them easier to bear.
I used it a great deal myself, and I teach it to the women I support, so that they can use it for themselves too, and we’ve all found it really helpful. It softens the intensity of unpleasant feelings, and that can be a great relief.
And it can also be very helpful to use “tapping” to support you as you begin to decide what it is you want to do next (and it can make the prospect, and the experience, of trying to conceive again easier to go through.) If this is something I can support you with, I would be very happy to do that (I use Skype and Facetime, so you can be anywhere in the world.)
5. Be really kind and gentle with yourself
This is really important, and it’s not something which we always remember. I invite you to treat yourself as kindly and gently as you would wish that a friend of yours would treat herself, if she was going through something similar.
And remember that you’re not alone, or a failure. You’re being courageous and really brave, even if you don’t feel it. And this will all become easier eventually.
I’m wishing you lots of peace and strength, whatever stage you find yourself at now. Please do feel very free to be in touch with me, if that would be helpful.
With so much love, and I’m wishing you all the very best,
~ Rosalind xxx