Hormone Trauma

This is a touchy subject, but one I can address more easily in general rather than with someone specific in an email or post. Hopefully some of you out there googling miscarriage and emotional recovery will hit upon this.

Those wonderful female hormones that govern our cycle and turn us into emotional swingers right before a period, in early pregnancy, and in post partum have an extra special role right after a miscarriage–they often get completely out of whack and make our lives hell.

Often when someone writes me in the first two weeks after a loss, upset and angry, wanting to leave her husband, afraid she’s not doing well with the children, and sure that every one of her friends is trying to make her feel worse, I know her body has made life less easy to cope with.

We already are saddled with a lot after a loss: grief, frustration, fear, despair. It’s a terrible kick in the gut that in addition, our confused reproductive system often sends out so many mixed hormone signals that we can’t manage our emotions. In this state, a casual “How are you doing?” becomes a cold-hearted slam. A husband asking, “What’s for dinner?” is grounds for divorce. Can’t they see life is horrible, our baby lost, nothing will ever be the same, and can’t he make his own freaking dinner just once?

What is happening is partly the people around us–most don’t really know what to do or say to a greiving mother–and part of it our inability to process outside stimulus. These hormones literally become a jumbled filter and so much of what we would ordinarily handle perfectly well–a mess on the floor, an abrupt end to a phone call, a comment about our appearance–will become huge issues.

It’s not really our fault. And hopefully everyone will give us the space and understanding we need. We will get better, not because we’ve forgotten the baby or the sadness of our loss, but because our bodies have filtered out these conflicting hormones and now we can think more clearly and organize our feelings into those that bear getting upset over and those we can wave away.

If you’re here, and everything seems upside down and everyone in your life is upsetting you, just take a deep breath, get as much time to yourself as possible, and when the going gets rough, break some small piece of inconsequential dinnerware. You’ll get better. I promise.

8 thoughts on “Hormone Trauma

  1. Cracking post! It’s so true too. A friend explained this to me at the time and it really helped me to understand what was happening. It meant I could explain to my husband what was going on, too and it made life a lot easier… and of course it means you don’t worry you’re cracking up! I’m one year out but I find that my PMT still focusses my attention on all the negative sides of my loss, efforts to get pregnant etc. Understanding that it’s just hormones helps and this post has underlined the fact.

    So, thanks for posting.



  2. Thank you so much for your website and candor. I am just now going through the grief of a fresh miscarriage. The part about the hormones are so true. I have gone through one miscarriage, one successful birth, and this has been my second miscarriage at 6 weeks. You experience the hormone rollercoster with a live birth but you have a beautiful healthy baby to hold in your arms and that helps you get through it. With a miscarriage there is only the sadness and empty arms with still the roller coaster of emotion to ride through. Your site has really helped me today and I plan to read it agian. Thank you for taking the time to make this site possible.

  3. I could not find the post you were refering to on another blog. I would like to read it if you can reference it for me…

  4. I remember about two days after my d&c for missed miscarriage I was a complete mess. Sobbing hysterically, holding my head in my hands and crying and crying. My husband was horrified because I had previously seemed as if I was dealing with it ok. The hormones do take their toll on you but as you said you DO get better. It takes time but you do.

  5. This was the most traumatizing thing that has ever happened to me and I’ve seen some messed up shiz. I’m not sure if I can have children now.

  6. Thank you for this. I’m a week post D&C, sitting up at 12:00 p.m. when I should go to sleep, hysterical crying. I’m generally super grounded, and I’m praying to god that my inability to control my emotions has something to do with the hormones in my body. I’m fine with being sad, I just don’t want to feel like crap all of the time. I just want it to go away for a moment, an hour, a day. I had a similar experience with our best friend died of brain cancer three months before my daughter was born. I didn’t haven an off button. I cried all of the time. But now it’s worse, because it’s my own body that reminds me this has happened. Thank you.

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