How To Take Care Of Myself After a Miscarriage?When a woman becomes pregnant, she turns all her attention to nurturing the new life within her. Eating properly, getting lots of sleep and exercising in the correct way all become even greater priorities. As the baby grows, so too does a woman’s determination to do all she can to ensure she has a healthy, strong and happy newborn.Miscarriage interrupts that joyous process.The sudden end of a pregnancy can be emotionally devastating for a woman, particularly if it is one she and her partner have hoped for. Losing the baby, no matter how or why that loss happened, can be deeply traumatic for a woman, who may feel like she has failed her unborn baby somehow.But from devastating loss can come healing and recovery.In this article, we offer some suggestions for self-care to women who are getting over a miscarriage. The single most important thing for anyone in this situation to remember is this: only time can lessen the grief a miscarriage brings. Taking care of oneself, and taking the time needed to deal with the loss, are both keys to recovery.
- Understand That Your Sadness & Depression Are Natural Reactions
Losing a baby triggers profound sadness, especially if you’ve been trying to get pregnant for a while. Allowing yourself to mourn the baby, and feel the depression and sadness that accompany that loss, is essential. It’s important that you do not minimize what happened, saying, for example, that you were “only” eight weeks pregnant and it could have been worse had the miscarriage happened later. Women who lose their babies, no matter what stage of the pregnancy they are in, have lost something that profoundly changed their perception of themselves. Don’t bury or ignore those feelings.
- Try To Avoid Self-Blame
It’s only natural to wonder why this has happened. According to one study published in June in the United States, up to 30 percent of all pregnancies end in miscarriage before 20 weeks. (And the risk increases to 40 percent during the summer months, largely due to the effects of excessive heat.) While asking why it happened is understandable, most doctors agree that, if a mother is healthy, most miscarriages cannot be pinpointed to one precise cause.Talk to your doctor. Ask if there were risk factors you hadn’t considered. Talk to your mother, too; some research suggests that women whose mothers had one or more miscarriages are at risk of miscarrying themselves. Although every pregnancy is different, familial factors can impact your reproductive health.
- Talk With Your Partner Or Spouse
Sharing your grief with your spouse or partner is essential, as is recognizing his pain and grief. You are both experiencing the loss, albeit in different ways, and going through that together lessens loneliness and isolation. Having someone to grieve with, talk to and share your feelings with is an important and helpful tool for dealing with this loss. Of course, your husband cannot experience the miscarriage in a physical way, but he is suffering emotionally. Opening up to him, telling him what you’re feeling and the deep sadness you’re experiencing helps you bond as a couple. Sharing grief can relieve its burden, and if you face this hurdle together, you will come through the ordeal stronger as a unit.
- Decide Together Who To Tell
If it happens early in your pregnancy, before you’ve announced it to lots of folks, it may be less difficult if you don’t mention the miscarriage to anyone outside your closest circle. After all, if people at work didn’t know you were expecting, you are not obliged to share this with them. But if they did know, consider talking to your supervisor only. You need not feel compelled to offer details to anyone who isn’t in your immediate sphere at work or who (for example) was going to fill in for you during your maternity leave. In other words – tell those who need to know, and don’t worry about anyone who doesn’t. Eventually, you may confide in a wider array of people, but in the immediate aftermath of the miscarriage, do only what feels right to you.
- Consider Joining a Support Group
In the weeks and months afterwards, you may want to talk with other women who have experienced miscarriages. This kind of support can be incredibly helpful. Do a little research online, and learn whether there is a group in your vicinity. (There probably is).If your community is small and no such group exists close to home, join one online. The feedback and consolation that comes from women who’ve experienced this will lessen your feelings of isolation. Because miscarriage is quite common, particularly in the early weeks of pregnancy, knowing that others have lived through this and come out the other side is truly healing.
- Talk To a Therapist
Many therapists specialize in this specific kind of grief counselling. Again, do a little research online or ask your doctor for a referral. Talking with someone one-on-one can help restore your emotional well-being. A therapist can also offer tools and strategies for handling events that may trigger your grief all over again in the future – like a friend’s baby shower.
- Keep Caring For Yourself
While it may be tempting to crawl into bed and stay there indefinitely, doing so simply forestalls recovery. As soon as you feel able to (and your doctor okays it), get back to your self-care routine. That means making healthy meals and snacks and exercising regularly. Try to remember that most miscarriages do not impact your ability to get pregnant in the future. While you need time to grieve, you should also try to think about the next steps. If you’ve been trying to get pregnant for a while, ask your doctor about when you can try again – even if doing so is the furthest thing from your mind right now.
- Don’t Put Away Reminders Of The Baby Unless & Until You Are Ready
Depending on how far along you were, there may already be signs of the baby’s impending arrival all around you. Perhaps you’ve painted the nursery or bought a crib or an adorable mobile to hang over that crib.All these things that once represented the coming change in your life will suddenly become painful reminders. You needn’t rush to put these things into storage. Only you and your partner can decide when it’s time to pack away these items, at least until you’re ready to try for a baby again. There is no set schedule, no right or wrong way to deal with these baby things. Every woman is different, and so is their ability to put away material symbols of motherhood. Do this at your own pace, and don’t let others influence you. Consider keeping something small just for yourself – like an image from an ultrasound – as it can be very consoling.
- Don’t Get Pregnant Again Too Quickly
Experts agree that just because a woman can conceive again almost immediately, that doesn’t necessarily mean she should. Therapists and grief counsellors say people need time to heal the emotional pain of losing a baby. Nothing can replace the baby you’ve lost – including another pregnancy. Talk it over with your partner, and when you both feel unabashedly joyful at the notion of another pregnancy, take that as a sign you’re ready. Rushing is understandable but unwise.
- Consider Holding An Event To Memorialize The Baby
If you lost your baby at five months or before (after that, it is considered a stillbirth), having a memorial service can be incredibly helpful. How you do this – in a religious or secular fashion, with others or just you and your spouse– is entirely your call. But acknowledging your baby in this way is very healing for many women. Talk this over with your partner, and your faith leader, if appropriate.
Losing a baby through miscarriage, no matter how far along you were or whether the pregnancy was planned or unexpected – is a life-altering event. Though some women miscarry before they even know they’re pregnant, at six weeks or so, for many, it happens at a much later stage, and it is deeply upsetting.Taking care of yourself, and letting others take care of you too, is how you will recover. And you will recover – but it will take time. Time for your body to stop producing the hormones necessary for giving birth and feeding a baby. Time for your emotions to stabilize and stay on an even keel. And time to begin looking forward again to a brighter future. That future can include children, as most miscarriages do not jeopardize a woman’s ability to procreate.What matters most is that you will eventually return to feeling like yourself on a physical and emotional level. You will never completely forget what happened, and nor should you. But you can heal, move on, and find joy in motherhood sometime in the days ahead when your body and soul have healed and you are ready to tackle all those wonderful challenges.
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