- It is natural to feel despair and incredible, debilitating sadness. You may not want to get out of bed, talk to anyone, eat, or even breathe. You may think about killing yourself to be with your baby or just lying in bed until everyone gets the point and leaves you alone. I felt all these things.
- You have every right to feel this way. Let it go for a day or two, even as much as a week. By then, it should start to ease a bit. Your emotions may shift to anger or defeat. But when you cry, you do eventually stop. Your mind will drift to other things occasionally. And you will start getting better.
- If in a week you are not feeling somewhat better, if you are still feeling like being with your baby would be better than being here, reach out to someone, anyone, call someone you know, find a miscarriage support group, go to a church, do something. Fight to get back to the surface and out of deep despair that you feel.
- Remember that you still have things to live for, things out there in a future you can’t see right now–children you will eventually have, either yourself or through adoption, love you will feel, friends you will make. Don’t give up yet.
- When is despair dangerous? When you stop thinking about committing suicide and start planning it. If you have taken any steps toward really doing it, or sorted out in your mind what would be the easiest way, please, please, get help immediately. What is happening to you isn’t just the loss of your baby, it is a hormone imbalance that is affecting your thinking. It is very possible to get out of your despair with just a little bit of help from a professional. You must do this. You have a future.
- You are perfectly justified. It’s hard to know where exactly to direct your anger, though. God? Fate? Your doctor? Your husband? Yourself? You wonder why in hell you had to get pregnant if this was going to happen. Why did you have to carry the baby so long? Why did it have to happen to you?
- Anger is one of the natural parts of the grieving process. It is a healthy emotion right now and will get you feeling stronger. But it will probably not last. Anger usually gives way very quickly to sadness and despair. Sometimes you will feel flushed with anger, and just as quickly you will be sobbing. You may feel like you are out of control. Maybe you want to smash things. I actually did smash some things. It helped for a moment or two. Then I just had to sweep it up.
- All these things are real and valid feelings. And we all experienced them. You are part of a large sorority of sad and angry mothers of angels. We all understand. And we’re angry too.
- I can’t tell you how many women have explained to me what they did to cause their miscarriage, or to ask if their stressful job or glasses of wine were what did it. For a long time, I blamed myself too. Then I learned I had a malformed uterus. All that guilt was for nothing.
- Let me be the one to tell you: YOU DID NOT CAUSE THIS MISCARRIAGE.
- I don’t care if you were smoking crack–those babies are born all the time. Stand up on the job all day? Doesn’t matter. On bed rest but got up a couple of times to raid the refrigerator or use the bathroom (or even to go out to dinner)? Insignificant. Nature is not perfect. Our genetic code sometimes doesn’t work just right. It’s terrible; it’s sad. I hate it. But it has nothing to do with your sins, your stress, your mistakes, your nutrition, or your relationship. There was nothing you could have done.
- I know. Some of you still feel a nagging guilt. But try to put it out of your mind. It really, truly was not your fault. And most likely, it will not happen again.
I think I’m going crazy. Remember to give yourself time to handle your grief. IT IS REAL AND VALID. You may want to read some of the other women’s miscarriage stories here or on other web sites to help you see that the crazy things you feel are normal. I did and thought many things after my miscarriage that I thought were really unhealthy or insane, including:
Wanting to die to be with my baby Cuddling the sonogram pictures like a baby Hugging the tree we planted in Casey’s memory (in full view of neighbors) Getting angry with myself for laughing or having a good time Picking fights with my husband for no reason Telling perfect strangers about my baby
It may not get much better for a long time. There will probably be a time, about 3-4 months later, that it will actually get worse. Getting pregnant again may not give you the release from grief you seek. Just give yourself time and surround yourself with people who care and understand. Forget the rest of them, for now.
If I could make one recommendation that has helped me tremendously, it would be to put together a memory box of your baby’s things, even if it is only sympathy cards and a positive pregnancy test, or just letters you are writing to him/her. For several months, I went into the nursery and opened that box and cried every single day. I found that if I didn’t, I felt like I was in a grief-fog all day. The memory box validates my baby’s existence. Since I don’t have a grave or a container of ashes, I go to it.
- You are right. Unless they have had a miscarriage (and fairly recently at that), people you talk to will not understand what you are going through. The average person will expect you to completely “get over” the miscarriage in about two weeks. This is about the point that things may actually get worse for you, when reality has set in, and you are failing to cope. Women suffer alone with miscarriage, and even the baby’s father, your own mother, your best friend, or others you thought you could rely upon will fail you. The best course is to surround yourself for a while with people who DO understand, who are going through it right with you. You can find them in local support groups (call your doctor’s office or a large OB practice in your area). See some of the topics under “dealing with others” for other ideas on how to cope with solitary grieving.
This is the number one complaint of women. They feel sad, overwhelmed, and grief-stricken, and their partners are still watching football, going to work just fine, or even telling them to “get over it.”
There are a few critical points I want to bring up about this:
|Almost every single woman feels this way (only a very small number mention partners that are sensitive and helpful)|
|100% of dads I’ve talked to or who have gotten on the board either want to know how to be strong for their wives or confess that they are grieving deeply and don’t want their wives to know|
|Men (and many women) really do believe that if you stop thinking about something, the problem goes away. Thus, they say comments like “Stop thinking about it” or “You’re getting obsessed about this” or “I don’t want to talk about it anymore.” Truly, nothing could be further from the truth. Talking about your problems is a catharsis and will help you heal faster.|
|A very natural dynamic in every couple, particularly if you live together or are married, is that only one person can fall apart at a time. If you both fall apart, no one will be making dinner, keeping the clothes washed, or manage other children, if you have them. This is an important function of the partnership, and is very rarely breached. Whoever is less sad at the moment will swallow their grief and deal with it later. The other person will feel abandoned and alone, and the partner may recognize it, but feel helpless to really get involved due to the pressure of keeping everyday life going. This time will pass, and the acute phase is usually a month or less.|
This is perfectly natural, and is reported by 100% of women who have lost babies. Why you and not them? Why does your teenage niece get to have a baby when you don’t? Or that woman who is still smoking? Or the five friends of yours who are pregnant right now?
You will feel surrounded by babies and pregnant women. You will see reminders of your loss everywhere. This is something you are going to have to tough out. Here are some things that might help:
Buy something for your baby. Or better yet, make a little memory box. (See memorializing your baby.) You will feel comforted and more like a mom yourself–because you are one!
Don’t feel obligated to go to baby showers. Don’t bother with excuses, or to explain yourself. Just send a lovely note with a gift certificate to the mall, or Target, or an online baby store, and say, “Wish I could have made it. Best wishes.” Will some people be upset? If it is your best friend, or your sister-in-law, maybe. But that’s okay. One of the two of you were going to get bent out of shape with this situation, so let it be the one who is about to have a joyful moment and will forget all about it in a few weeks.
Don’t bottle it up. If pregnant co-workers or friends talk incessantly about babies, just say, “I am so happy you all have so much to look forward to. I can’t wait until it is one day my turn.” Then walk away! There is no need to stand around and endure the conversation. Even if they say something negative about your sensitivity, they are just projecting how guilty they feel for upsetting you. They know it’s their fault. And they have no idea how hard this is for you. Often you’ll find out who has had a miscarriage before, because they will seek you out with a sympathetic, understanding ear.
Remember that this is a joyful time for them. You too will want to shout to the rooftops when your healthy baby is born. They are having a happy moment, and in the momentum of their anticipation, they don’t always remember that you are grieving that very thing that they have. When women are pregnant, and blissfully ignorant that anything could ever go wrong, they don’t always put others’ feelings first. Forgive them, and don’t seek their company if you cannot handle it. Joining in their joy will be one of the last things you will be able to do as you heal from your loss. Laughing at a baby shower will be a sign that you are moving through your healing stages and looking forward to a happier future. This is going to be a long way down the road, and may not happen until your own little one is safely delivered. It’s okay, and don’t beat yourself up about it. You’re a survivor, and sometimes survivors can’t always act the way everyone else does.