Coping with recurrent loss

When one miscarriage follows another, the feelings surrounding miscarriage become more complex. In addition to feelings of loss and grief, there starts to be concerns that there is something medically amiss. The process is relentless and draining. Here is how I’ve been coping (although it feels more like surviving that coping).

 

Facing Grief

As the burden of grief has multiplied, my natural response is to hide from it. It’s overwhelming and scary. But I’ve discovered that hiding from those feelings leaves me numb and anxious and deeply depressed. Facing those feelings and allowing myself to feel them has made it more bearable. That’s not to say it’s pleasant; it’s awful, but allowing myself to go through those emotions gives me some peace and calm. I’m not using all of my energy to fight back the tide of pain. I accept that I get angry. I let myself sob. I also let myself be happy.

 

Reducing Stress

The impact of losing multiple pregnancies shakes you. It leaves you vulnerable and stripped bare. I have found that I need to be careful about what I say yes to – I only do what builds me up because I can’t cope with added stress right now. It’s impossible to avoid stress altogether but where possible I don’t put myself in situations that will cause anxiety. I hope that people understand. This won’t be forever. In some way, this time will have to end. Right now, I am selfish with my time.

 

Accepting that it’s OK to not be OK.

I’ve talked about self care and being kind to myself.  I’ve worked on my mental health. But at the end of the day, this is hard. It is OK to find it hard. It’s OK to not be OK. At first, I thought I was weak and should be coping better. But as time has passed, I’ve realised that I’m coping really well. I am strong and I am brave. Crumbling and crying doesn’t change that. Being affected by my experience does not make me weak. Facing those feelings and taking action to help me deal with them makes me strong and brave.

 

Getting rid of deadlines

Since losing George in May, I’ve always thought we would be pregnant again before his due date. The closer we get to his due date, the more pressure I feel. But that pressure just leaves me feeling more and more deflated and depressed each month that ends in loss. So we have got rid of the deadline. In fact, we have taken away all expectations. We may not have another baby. That is OK. I am learning to focus on what we do have and find joy in that. Of course, we still would love to expand our family, but it’s not a race. We have some time and we have some options. And if they don’t work, we already have a wonderful life as a family of three.

 

If you have any more tips with how you coped and made it through, I would love to know. As you can see, my tips are pretty tin on the ground. And most of the time my coping definitely looks much more like surviving. But maybe that’s OK. Maybe that’s what I should be aiming for, afterall, recurrent loss is incredibly hard to go through.

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