By Cath Franks on 01/04/2020
Miscarriage: 10 Gentle steps to help you heal
This is a message of love to everyone that has been through miscarriage. When you are aching and empty and need to know that you are not alone and that there is a way through this, I hope that these words will wrap a blanket of comfort round you, and help you to find the gentle steps towards healing that are right for you.
1. All about you
Nothing else that is going on is more important than what is happening and how you’re feeling right now. So often the silence surrounding miscarriage means that we keep it to ourselves, and do our best to plaster a smile over the cracks and keep on going as best we can. But I want to tell you that’s not how it has to be.
You have lost someone precious. Someone you love. Taking care of you, allowing yourself to feel whatever you need to feel, and do whatever you need to do, is what’s important. It’s what sends the message of love that you matter, that what has happened matters, and it’s this that opens the door for you to find your way back to the surface.
2. Gentle steps
Here’s the thing…even if we have done our very best to prepare ourselves for it or to protect ourselves from it, miscarriage is a shock that affects us physically and emotionally. A life-changing situation over which we have no control…in other words…a trauma. But, despite this, it’s still sometimes so difficult to be gentle with ourselves.
Taking care of the parts of you that hurt and pouring in all the comfort that you need, means that, even when it feels like it will never happen, you can trust that your incredible natural ability to heal will begin the repair work that your heart and your body need.
Whether it’s overwhelming sadness, grief, and pain that you’re feeling, whether you’re mostly doing ok, or whether you feel like a big jumble of everything that changes from moment to moment, the important thing is the permission you give to yourself. It sets the stage for everything else.
3. Coping with shock
Shock and not wanting to let others down can tumble us around so much in the beginning that we find ourselves carrying on with whatever we were expected to be doing. Going straight in to work or being swept along with day-to-day life for a while, going through the motions and not even aware how we get through it.
It might take every bit of strength you have to get through this bit, but trust that as soon as you are able, and you are ready to allow things to sink in as gently as possible, you will reach a point where you can pause, take care of yourself and know that you will begin to feel better. Where you will feel able to listen again to what it is that you need and start to feel strong again.
(A little way to support yourself through these very early stages of shock, especially when you don’t feel that you have the energy or the where-with-all to do anything else, is to take the flower essence, ‘Star of Bethlehem’ to gently lighten the load.)
4. Taking care of yourself physically
It can be really, really hard to discuss when your heart feels like it’s breaking, but talking to your medical adviser ensures that you are able take the very best care of yourself physically that you can. In my experience, the warmth, understanding and care you receive at this point paves the way for your healing, emotionally as well as physically.
This is the time to surround yourself with every bit of loveliness and kindness you can muster. I call it ‘Radical TLC’. Warm socks, soft, comfy clothes or pyjamas, comforting wholesome foods, rest or dipping into whatever feels good…anything at all that soothes your body and comforts your soul. If it feels right, holistic therapies can be another good way to nourish and support yourself physically.
If you end up feeling like swinging the other way too and loading up on all the things that you’ve been carefully abstaining from during your pregnancy, I’m a big believer that sometimes that’s exactly what’s needed, and that other coping strategies all come into balance as soon as we take the pressure off ourselves.
Finding ways to treat your body as kindly as you can even help to soften and heal the feelings you might be left with about being let down or betrayed by your body. Building these kindnesses in as and when you can, when you feel like it, or helping someone else know this is how they can help, brings you gently back home to yourself.
5. Taking care of yourself emotionally
Miscarriage is so full of emotion – it HURTS. The sudden shock of being pregnant one minute and not the next. The big black hole that opens up and feels like it might swallow you whole. The sadness of having to say goodbye to someone we never even got to meet. And all the dreams and hopes that go with them. The feeling that a part of us goes too.
Some things may feel the same for each of us, but there’ll be big differences too. Taking away the ‘but i should be feeling this’, or ‘i should be over it by now’, or ‘I should be coping better’ pressure, allows you to feel the way you need to feel right now. It’s the most healing gift you can give yourself.
Moments of breathing space, where you can let yourself be without having to plaster on that smile. Just feeling it, hiding under the duvet, writing, drawing or talking them through over a cup of tea…shining a bit of love on them untangles some of the layers that get caught up in this.
6. It’s not your fault
Even when we ‘know’ it, fears or seeds of doubt often find their way in to our grief about somehow being to blame for this happening…not being relaxed enough, doing too much, feeling stressed, our bodies not working properly,…or any other reason our brains throw in.
But you aren’t to blame. You didn’t cause this to happen. If you feel like you’re struggling with this, there is so much help to dip into in our Miscarriage First Aid Kit, or with a bit of Catching Rainbows magical one-to-one support.
7. Feeling you’ve failed or that you’ll never have the pregnancy you long for
You haven’t failed. I want you to know it, all the way down from your head to your heart. You have been everything that this little one needed you to be, and have cared for them in the best possible way that you could for the time that they were with you.
It’s so sad, but…whether you understand it from a physical point of view, that most miscarriages are the result of problems with the developing embryo; or a spiritual point of view, that this little soul may have needed to dip a toe in the water to fulfil their journey and then leave again (for now)…you have been everything you could be for them. It doesn’t take away the pain of this little one and this pregnancy, but knowing that you did everything you could is the starting point to re-gaining your strength, and the hope and confidence that it can all work out the way you want it to in the future. This is a big one to get our heads and hearts around, and boosting yourself up with some extra physical and emotional support, can really help to ensure that you feel you have all the strongest foundations you want in place for yourself and any future pregnancy, whenever you feel ready to think bout this.
8. Healing from loss
There’s so much pressure to ‘get over’ loss, but I want you to know that this isn’t about timescales and it isn’t about ‘getting over’ something or someone either. I believe so strongly, that you don’t need to ‘let go’ or ‘move on’ or push yourself to feel anything that doesn’t come easily and naturally, whether it’s days, weeks, months or even years after your miscarriage. It is possible to hold the memory of your baby and your pregnancy close. This relationship has a special place in your heart, no matter what has come before or comes after.
9. Honouring your baby
Acknowledging and honouring what your baby and pregnancy have meant, and still mean, to you is what heals your heart. Marking moments where you can let them know how special they have been to you and always will be. Creating a ceremony of some kind that feels right for you… lighting a candle, writing a letter to your baby, or planting a special plant…are all ways that people have found helpful. Whatever helps you hold the memory of your little one close. It can be as simple as a tiny heart tucked in your pocket.
10. Reaching out for help
Our culture of not telling anyone about pregnancy until 12 weeks, means that all too often we end up in the very strange position of going through miscarriage without anyone knowing, or even knowing that we were pregnant at all. It makes it even harder to cope with and intensifies all the horrible feelings that others don’t get it or worse still, don’t care.
It all adds up to making it so difficult to talk about, and on top of that, we don’t want to feel like we’re making anyone else feel sad or sorry for us too…BUT…reaching out for support can truly work wonders in helping hearts to heal. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a friend, family member, on-line forum or helpline, or more specialist support, all that matters is that it feels good for you. There is magical healing power in talking to someone who knows in a flash precisely what you’re talking about because she’s experienced that thing too.
I hope that these words will help to bob you back up to the surface and know that you will absolutely get to where you want to be, finding your steps to take you forward into feeling strong again and ready for new chapters to begin.
…and that you don’t need to do it alone. It means the world to us to be able to support you in whatever way you need.