The taboo of miscarriage
The aftermath of a miscarriage can be a devastating experience. If you have suffered a pregnancy loss, be it recently or a long time ago, the emotional and physical impact may be considerable. Miscarriage is shrouded in mystery for we do not talk about it, despite it being an incredibly common experience for women of all ages across the world. Whilst reports vary, it is estimated that as many as fifteen to twenty percent of pregnancies end in miscarriage.
If you suspect that you have suffered a miscarriage, or indeed any complications during your pregnancy, do not hesitate to contact your doctor or the emergency services right away.
What are the symptoms to expect after a miscarriage?
Some symptoms that women experience following a miscarriage include tiredness or fatigue, bleeding and pain. Overwhelming grief is also likely. This may manifest in terms of disruption to your sleeping or eating patterns, mental confusion, depression or anxiety.
Should you have any queries or concerns about any of the symptoms that you are experiencing, it is essential that you contact your doctor without delay. Many women feel a sense of shame or guilt following a miscarriage that prevents them from seeking medical attention. Whilst this is a natural emotion to feel in such circumstances, it is important to comprehend that the pregnancy loss is not your fault. It is imperative that you contact a doctor or the emergency services if you experience a heightened temperature, heavy bleeding, intense sadness or suicidal thoughts.
What can you do?
Be mindful: Bare in mind that the mood swings, along with the potential experience of anxiety or depression are normal, physiological responses to your rapid change of hormones. The impact upon you both physically and emotionally speaking, will take time to heal. Be patient and kind to yourself in your recovery. Above all, ensure that any guilt that you are harbouring is confronted. Whilst guilt is a natural emotion to experience following a miscarriage, remind yourself each and every day that what happened was not your fault. You must let go of any self-blame.
Find support: Seeking therapeutic support following a miscarriage can be incredibly beneficial in coming to terms with your grief. This is particularly essential if you are experiencing a shift in your mental health following a pregnancy loss, be it anxiety, depression, negative thought patterns or a general sense that you are not coping. Now is not the time to be alone. The therapeutic space will allow you to explore how you have been impacted by your miscarriage and what you need in order to recover.
Get moving: When you have healed physically from the aches and pains of your miscarriage, ensuring you have attained enough rest, get moving! Exercise is an effective way to boost your endorphins and assist in elevating your mood. Your hormonal levels are likely to return to normal up to six weeks following a pregnancy loss. This journey of recovery is to be taken step by step, one day at a time.
Take all the time that you need: You are grieving and everybody’s journey of grief is different. There is no right or wrong way to process your loss. Some people wish to be public in their grief, by way of a memorial service or a funeral. Other people prefer to be quiet, to say nothing and to confide in a few close friends or family members, if anyone at all. Some people grieve the loss swiftly, whilst for others the process is long. It is important that you own your response and honour the loss in whatever way you feel to be best for you.
Avoid the negative voices: Because miscarriage remains a taboo subject, the responses or viewpoints of people around you will most likely differ. There are many myths about pregnancy loss that people feel to be true. You may find that people do not know what to say, whilst you may conversely find that people do not hesitate to let you know their opinion on the topic. Whether people get it right or wrong in what they say to you, acknowledge their voice as one of condolence. Do not take any seemingly negative or dismissive comments to heart.
You deserve happiness!
You are allowed to move forwards following a miscarriage! So often I speak with women who have been reluctant to try again to become pregnant or to seek a joyful and positive life. Remember, what happened to you, could happen to any woman and that there should be no shame in your experience. It is my hope that in time, any negative perspectives, any ill judgments or misinformed opinions of miscarriage will change. Until that time, remind yourself of the courage and personal power that you possess to overcome your loss. Do not hesitate to reach out for the necessary help from medical professionals. Ultimately, however you wish to proceed following a pregnancy loss, be sure to prioritise and to take extra special care of your physical and emotional needs.
Wishing you strength and good mental health,
MSc, BA (Hons), Pg Dip
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