Every expectant mother anxiously awaits that special “glow” that’s the trademark of motherhood. It’s the new, shiny, thick mane of hair, the strong fingernails, and the adorable baby bump that lights up the mother’s life.
But for some women, that glow fades all too soon as they face the challenge that every mother fears; the challenge of losing of their baby. Although often times unpreventable, a miscarriage can leave an expectant mother feeling guilty, lost and alone.
But those coping with the loss of their baby are not alone. 15 -20 percent of pregnancies end in miscarriage, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine. Regardless of how frequently miscarriages occur, it isn’t something that many women talk about. Possibly because their loss feels too personal or because they feel the subject is taboo, but there are many women out there who understand your struggle and are there to help.
If you’ve recently had a miscarriage you may struggle with emotions that range from denial to despair, and to make matters worse, sometimes your friends and family may not understand what you are going through and may be peppering you with their thoughts. Your relationship with your partner may also suffer as you handle your grief differently. For all of these reasons it’s important to know how you can effectively cope with the loss of your baby.
1. Find a support system. Family and friends will be there for you. While they may not know exactly what you are feeling, they can be tremendously comforting and helpful with tasks that might be wearing you down at this tender time. There are also numerous online support groups, and Utah Share offers local support and advice on how to cope with a miscarriage.
2. Anticipate mood swings, and understand that as your hormone levels return to normal, you’ll start feeling a lot more like yourself again. The line between normal grief and depression requiring treatment can be hard to distinguish sometimes, as the two have nearly identical symptoms. If your feelings are interfering with your ability to go about your daily routines for more than a few weeks after your miscarriage, it is a good idea to talk to your doctor to see if you might benefit from further treatment.
3. Make peace with your loss and return to your life. It is common for women and families who have experienced a miscarriage to have moments where they feel like none of it is real and they may suppress or even refuse to deal with the reality of what they’re experiencing. Taking time to grieve and heal is essential. Start doing the things you love and get back into your daily routines. This will help with the grieving process. It’s also important to discuss with your partner your feelings about if and when to start trying to get pregnant again.
4. Be patient. Time may never heal all of the wounds, but it can help soften the ache that is inevitable after a miscarriage. The bond you felt with your baby as you carried it was real, and this is not to say that time will weaken that bond to the point that no loss is felt, but rather, with time the bond you felt with your baby will be remembered with fondness and gratitude instead of sadness and sorrow.
Remember that you know yourself better than anyone else, and your experience coping with a miscarriage may be unique. Sharing your experience with others may not only help you cope with your feelings, but may help many other women who are facing similar struggles. In helping other women cope, you may find that your own healing is more complete.