Having experienced a miscarriage at 8 weeks following 3 years of infertility and 4 rounds of fertility treatment I want to share some of the techniques that I am finding indispensable to my well-being and happiness. Everyone is different but I recommend the following ways of how to cope with miscarriage, be that one you are going through at the moment or one that happened in the past:
It can be tempting to carry on as normal but you and your body have been through a lot and you need time to process what has happened and recover physically. Take time off work if you can (you are entitled to time off), cancel your immediate commitments and take some time for you. I’m not saying take to your bed for weeks but give yourself a few days off especially during the actual miscarriage. Also just stop at intervals throughout your day and breath. You could practice my 3 + 2 = 5 breathing. Breathe in for the count of 3, hold your breath for 2 counts and breathe out for the count of 5. This sends the message to your body that it is safe to relax.
Nourish yourself and your body
Take this time to really nourish yourself both physically, by getting as much sleep as possible and by eating and drinking (water) frequently, and emotionally by practising mindfulness, being totally present in the moment, not going over past events or looking to the future. To learn more about mindfulness and listen to an hour-long interview on how mindfulness has changed my perspective of every area of my life see ‘What is mindfulness?’ To receive your free mindfulness meditation and guide ’10 easy ways to bring mindfulness into your life’ sign up.
Give yourself a hug!
Experiencing a miscarriage is likely to put your body into stress response, to read more on this subject read ‘Fight, flight or freeze and Fox’ and to bring your body back out of stress response and into relaxation response try the self soothing techniques at the end of that blog. Simply hold or tap on certain acupressure points whenever you are feeling in need of comfort – my favourite is giving yourself a hug. Wrap one arm around your ribs under your breast and then wrap your other arm on top holding just above your elbow and give yourself a hug! This position allows you to hold acupressure points that calm your body down and give you an energy boost. Hold for a few moments while breathing deeply and then swap sides.
Don’t fight the feelings
Most importantly do not fight how you are feeling, by shoving emotions down they will resurface at some point. Acknowledge your feelings in one or all of the following ways:
Write a letter to your unborn child
Incredibly powerful no matter at what stage you lost your baby. It can be beneficial to name your baby, perhaps with a non-gender specific name, to honour the fact that you were pregnant. Miscarriage, especially during early pregnancy, can be brushed under the carpet but you can experience the same sense of grief as if you have lost any other family member. You do not need to say goodbye if that does not feel right to you you could just write a letter expressing how you feel, perhaps how you feel about the loss, anything you would like to say to them. You may prefer to find a poem that feels special to you. I also recommend this exercise for anyone experiencing infertility even if you have never been pregnant as the feeling of loss can be just as overwhelming. I wrote my poem ‘An Unborn Mother’ following our first IUI fail. During the Embrace 10 week Mindful Fertility Course we also write a letter of complaint, this can be addressed to whoever or whatever you like and allows you to voice all of the anger, frustration and grief that you may be feeling. You could end the letter by writing about why you will be an amazing parent. I encourage you use emotional freedom technique (EFT) while reading your letter aloud.
Use EFT to release those emotions
Emotional freedom technique, where you simply tap on acupressure points on your face and body while focusing on the emotions/thoughts you would like to be free of has been a keystone in my emotional well-being during the past few months. To learn more and receive two free videos on how to use this technique to specifically help cope with miscarriage I highly recommend that you visit my colleague Rosalind’s fantastic website. Rosalind, having experienced 12 miscarriages herself, specialises in supporting those affected by miscarriage. Visit www.miscarriage-support.com and sign up for your free videos:
‘3 things you should know about recovering emotionally after a miscarriage’ & ‘How to feel better after a miscarriage’.
Hold a ceremony
You may also like to hold your own ceremony, many women find this incredibly healing and gives them an outlet to express their emotions. It can be very private just you or you could include your partner, family or a close friend. Do whatever feels right for you but here are some ideas from Sjanie Hugo Wurlitzer:
Collect any items that remind you of your unborn baby.
Find a special place to do your ceremony that is meaningful to you.
Perhaps light candles, play some music or sit in silence.
Read your letter/poem aloud if that feels right.
Allow as much time as you need to say what you need to.
Find a symbolic ritual to end the ceremony. Bury or burn your letter or release a balloon perhaps.
Find a symbolic ritual to give thanks, perhaps planting a flower or some seeds.
Or attend a Church service
The Saying Goodbye Services are the first national (UK) set of remembrance services for people who have lost a child at any stage of pregnancy, at birth or in infancy. www.sayinggoodbye.org
Having the support of the ladies in our Embrace Fertility online support community is so important to me. Being able to connect to others who have been through similar and to know that you are in no way alone is incredibly healing. It is free to join us simply tick join online support when you sign-up. The Fertility Network list support groups across the UK.
I also suggest getting professional support if what you are experiencing is too overwhelming to cope with on your own. Rosalind specialises in helping women who have experienced a miscarriage, she also helps their family and friends. She is based in St Ives near Cambridge and does sessions by telephone and Skype. Visit www.miscarriage-support.com for more info.
Even therapists have therapy!
I had a 1 – 1 session with Rosalind last month and I highly recommend her caring and compassionate approach. Yes even therapists have therapy, if we did not it would be like a massage therapist only ever massaging themselves! There are some places it’s just hard to reach on your own! We did Tapas acupressure technique that I had not experienced before. It is a beautiful technique that involves holding acupressure points while focusing on emotions/thoughts. Our session was on the telephone and it was lovely to be able to curl up on the sofa with the cat and take time to really honour my pregnancy and work through how I was feeling following the miscarriage. Rosalind guided me through the session with gentle encouragement and I experienced some big shifts in my thinking. Following the miscarriage I was experiencing a flareup of physical symptoms that I had not had for months, digestive problems and headaches. I was also feeling stuck and unable to move forward on our fertility journey, we had already planned to take a break for the summer but I was feeling like I really couldn’t even think about moving forward until the end of the year. Part of the technique allows you to imagine, if you wish to, connecting with your unborn child. I found this incredibly touching and healing. In just 90 minutes we worked through many concerns I had and by the end of the session I felt incredibly relaxed and empowered.
To learn more ways to deal with upsetting memories after miscarriage and to learn about Rosalind’s video support course click here.
To read more about how Rosalind works and to contact her visit www.miscarriage-support.com.
Did you find this blog helpful?
I would love to hear if this post has been helpful for you please leave a comment below, come and join the conversation on our online support group or email me and let me know.