How to heal after pregnancy loss

This truly might be the hardest blog post I have ever written, but maybe the most important one. Despite the fact that every google search will tell you 1 in 4 women go through pregnancy loss, actually experiencing it is the most isolating feeling in the world and I am hoping that one person reading this will find some – I don’t even know the right word -but maybe comfort, in knowing that you truly aren’t alone. Not that that will make it any easier, but I did find it easier once I started talking to other women who had a miscarriage as well and maybe I can be that other woman for you.

The new beginning

I must admit, when I saw those two pink lines I was surprised. With my first pregnancy I knew days before I was testing positive that I was pregnant. I was feeling so hot, I was having terrible indigestion, I was exhausted. This go around I didn’t feel pregnant at all, but I figured I should test before going out for a Thanksgiving dinner – and to my surprise it was positive. Because everything went so smoothly with my first pregnancy, I had it in my mind that this would be no different – and so two days into finding out we were pregnant, we told our inner circle. Three days into finding out I hopped on a plane for a work trip. Eight days into finding out, it was over.

The end

I remember waking up that morning and I saw a bit of spotting. I thought that was weird but it was so little I didn’t think much of it, that was until I got to the bathroom and it was very evident what was happening. I was all alone on a work trip and I was losing my baby. I called my husband right away in absolute hysteria. He tried to calm me down by saying it might not be a miscarriage¬† and that I should speak to a doctor, but I knew what was happening. I had an interview for a story I was working on in 30 minutes, so what did I do? I grabbed some toilet paper and got dressed and went to the interview -that is the thing about us women, we suffer through the worst of pains all on our own¬† with a smile on our face because that is what society makes us think we have to do. Thankfully I was able to get a hold of my doctor and figure out the next steps – being RH negative I wasn’t sure what to do next – so at least I know what to do physically – but emotionally was a whole different story.

After speaking with my husband I went out for a little solo dinner. I tried to sit at the bar solo, but the only spot they had was a table in the back facing out to the entire crowd. Even though no one was actually looking at me I couldn’t help but feel like all eyes were on me as I went through every emotion and thought possible. From trying to be thankful of the beautiful family I have, to complete and utter devastation thinking about the one that was no longer. I couldn’t help but blame myself – what if I didn’t get on that flight? What if I didn’t have that second cup of coffee? The next few days was filled with a rollercoaster of emotions – from thinking I would be ok to bouts of extreme sadness.

The New Beginning

The miscarriage took a lot form me. it took my excitement, it took my joy. A few months later when we were pregnant again, I didn’t have that same happiness when I saw those two pink lines, instead I felt fear that it would happen again. Every morning, instead of looking forward to the first ultrasound, first kicks, I was waking up looking for signs that it would go wrong again. Instead of dreaming of my future family, I was dreading every doctors appointment, every lab test, every milestone. So much so that my blood pressure was through the roof every time I had an appointment for anything. My joy was overtaken by anxiety and fear. So just know that all your feelings, emotions, and fears are completely validated. But I did find a few things helped me on this journey.

1. Reaching out to the community

My friends were amazing. Checking in constantly and lending a shoulder to cry on, but for some strange reason it didn’t give me any relief. And so I took a step that I was so afraid of, I posted it publicly. I share a lot of my life online but I didn’t think I would share this. But then I remembered how almost ashamed I was that it happened to me, that I did something wrong, despite knowing how common it is. And so I shared the news and I was so overwhelmed with gratitude for how many incredible women reached out and shared their story. Telling me about their experience, about their isolation and feeling alone. I felt so terrible for the women and what they had been through – but in some way I also found a community that I knew what I was going through and that created a safe space for me.

2. Don’t blame yourself

I know that this is easier said than done having gone through it first hand, but something I found useful was doing research and trying to think of what happened to me logically. Every once in a while an invasive thought of blame would pop up in my mind. My therapist would tell me to let those thoughts sit and feel them, but then let my brain refocus on the logistics.

3. Understand what grieving you need and allow yourself to take it

There were so many feelings that came along with the loss. Sadness, exhaustion, isolation. While there was a side of me that wanted to just brush it off and focus on work – I realized that wasn’t healthy. I needed to take the time to grieve the loss and accept the feelings. I also needed to understand what I was mourning for the next step in healing. I realized that I was mostly mourning not growing our family and so while I mourned the loss of this child I know emotionally we did want to try again. And if you need to take a real break – take it. Women shouldn’t feel the need to have to hide what they are going through and pretend that everything was ok.

4. Memorialize your child

I kept trying to shove my feelings away saying that I was only a few weeks along and I shouldn’t be this sad. But that isn’t true. No matter how early or late you are in your pregnancy¬† – a loss is a traumatic experience that you should grieve. I found it both hard but also soothing to think about this baby. I wrote down thoughts and feelings about this pregnancy and I felt like that helped me.

At the end of the day there is no right or wrong way to heal. There is no timeline on how long it should take. And even when you do “move on”, you never forget the trauma, the loss, the sadness, but you just take it one step at a time, one day at a time. Nothing will take this grief away, but you will find ways to slowly get back to you, to find reasons to smile again, to find joy.

Sending the biggest hugs mommas