When I became pregnant in March of 2011, I started spotting a week or so after I got a positive pregnancy test. Since I was bleeding, I knew that a miscarriage was more likely and because of that, I tried to not get my hopes up. When a miscarriage was confirmed, it was really tough, but not completely devastating since I had seen the writing on the wall. I didn’t feel the urge to cope with miscarriage this first time.
When I became pregnant again in July of 2011, I didn’t start spotting and I assumed that since I just had a miscarriage for sure this pregnancy would be ok.
It wasn’t ok.
Around 8-9 weeks along I was shocked to find out that the baby had died in the 7th week or so. Shocked doesn’t really describe it… more like devastated, sorrowful, depressed, angry and sad.
I oh so wanted those babies.
The Tapestry of a Woman’s Heart
One thing I’ve noticed is that as soon as I get pregnant I start weaving this elaborate and beautiful mental tapestry by intertwining my life with the pregnancy.
When I calculated my estimated due date I thought about what time of year that would be, if it would be hot or cold. For my last two pregnancies I thought how interesting it would be to be pregnant and bundled up because it is cold outside. “Nobody would get to see my awesome baby bump!”, I thought to myself.
I thought of how fun it would be to be able to dress my baby in clothes because she’ll actually need them (when my son was born it was blazing hot and he spent a lot of time in just a diaper)!
I mentally located my wraps and slings because it would finally be cool enough to use them postpartum.
I decided I was having a girl.
I found out who would be pregnant at the same time as me and thought how nice it was to have a “buddy” to celebrate each stage with, and bemoan our nausea and aches together. More so, our kids would be the same age and of course, they’d love to play together too.
I started calculating when I’d be out of each particular trimester, and at what point in the process I would likely stop wanting to barf.
I found myself shopping the maternity clothes clearance rack because the clothes on that rack would be in season when I actually needed them. I organized my maternity clothes and removed the seasonal stuff that I wouldn’t wear for a year or two.
I thought about how long I would want to continue to work, and how long my maternity leave would be. I told my son that he’ll have a brother or a sister, and we talked about names.
Then, the unthinkable happened. My baby died and I realized that my new job would be to untangle all of the threads I had woven into my life.
Some threads were easy to untangle – it was easy to stop thinking about what baby things I already had or needed. I threw away the calendar I wrote pregnancy milestones on, and mentally saved my girl names for the future.
However, some threads have been very tangled and even when I thought they’ve come loose, I was surprised to learn that I hadn’t fully unraveled my tapestry.
It was emotionally difficult to pull out my “skinny” winter clothes, knowing that this winter I would not need jeans with a belly panel.
The day I saw my pregnancy buddy’s beautiful baby belly as she neared her due month I was slapped with another round of mourning. I wept and thought to myself, “I should have been pregnant with her!” I was relieved when I couldn’t attend her baby shower because I had to work.
A Different Weave
Ironically, working with women and their babies in the childbearing year has not been difficult to me post-miscarriage. I have even attended births when I was still bleeding from my miscarriages.
And now, I realize that’s because I didn’t intertwine them in my tapestry. They are my work, and I have woven them into a different tapestry altogether. They are my work, my passion and what motivates me to dig deeper as a mentor and doula, but they are not woven in the tapestry that sits close to my heart.
Going forward, I wonder if there is a way for me to prevent this heartache if God forbid, I endure another miscarriage. Can I protect my heart? Can I minimize damage by simply weaving a smaller tapestry? Or to postpone weaving altogether?
I have thought about this, and I have come to the conclusion that I cannot.
By weaving my heart’s tapestry I put my heart and my soul out to love. I leave it vulnerable, but ready to love and to be hurt.
It is risky and scary to love, but love I must. I was made to love and be loved and to protect myself would limit the profound love God has for me.
By protecting myself, my tapestry might become hard, unpliable and rough.
Despite the pain of last year, I have chosen to continue weaving a beautiful tapestry, loving throughout, as best as I can.
How to Cope with Miscarriage Now
After experiencing miscarriages, I’ve learned a few things about coping through the loss. Here are my best tips on how to cope with miscarriage.
- Take time to be alone and process. A miscarriage must be dealt with. It is a loss that needs to be acknowledged.
- Journal and write down your thoughts. Writing this blog post and sharing my story was incredibly healing for me.
- Try doodling, drawing or painting. Art can be a powerful healing tool.
- Go for walks in nature. Breathe deep and listen.
- Exercise. The endorphins and increased blood flow will help heal the body, make you stronger and allow you to feel really good.
- Pray often.
- Talk with other women about your miscarriage. You will be surprised at how many other women have been in your shoes. Do not isolate yourself.
- Consider making a memorial, or buying a small token like a necklace or a charm to remember your baby.
- Resist blame. Do not go down the toxic rabbit hole of blaming yourself, your partner, your family, your care provider, etc. It’s toxic and will poison your soul.
- Keep your heart open. Get rid of any anger, bitterness, jealousy and rage as it will ultimately poison instead of protect you.
- Remember that this sorrow is temporary and “joy comes in the morning”. This pain will not always feel this intense. One day you will feel joy again. I promise… there is hope.
Other Ideas to Cope with Miscarriage
What about you? What other ideas do you have to cope with miscarriage? Leave a comment to share with the Mother Rising community.