When I first miscarried last year, my initial concerns were practical: how long will this process take? How long should I have off work? As time went by, I became more concerns with the emotional toll miscarriage takes and the grieving process.
Annoyingly, there is no simple answer. With all 4 miscarriages last year the physical and emotional ramifications were different. However, there were some similar themes that have guided me.
Miscarriage can be quite painful, or at times, incredibly painful. It is important to give your body time to complete the process. You may feel ready to jump back to work after a couple of days after the heavy bleed has stopped (and the pregnancy has passed). On the other hand, you may not. With my first miscarriage, I felt I should go back to work as I had the mindset ‘it’s only a miscarriage’ and was mindful of taking time off work. However, pushing my body too soon led to an infection that left me bed bound for a further fortnight. Clear all thoughts of what you think you should be doing and try to focus on your body and what it needs. Pregnancy sets your body up for big changes and when you miscarrry it has to reset your body and hormones back to normal. This can lead to exhaustion, a vulnerable immune system and lots of cramps and other pains.
Personally, I felt more comfortable being at home while I bled. I just wanted to do that in private. Going to the toilet is traumatic when you are miscarrying so I preferred being in my own bathroom. I also listened to my body and knew I needed to take it easy. Gentle walks once the bleeding had slowed. Comfy clothes. Nourishing comfort food. It is not “just a miscarriage” – your body’s is going through big changes and you need to be mindful of that. However, you do you – as long as you are listening to your body and not life’s to do list, you will know what is right for you. Trust your gut and don’t feel guilty about resting.
With all my miscarriages my period has returned a month later. Like clockwork. For others this isn’t the case. Hormones are funny things and your body will work out when it’s ready to get reproductive again in its own time. Try not to panic. With my chemical pregnancies I didn’t leave any time between trying again. With the miscarriage at 8 weeks I waited for my period before resuming TTC. Speak to you doctor about what is right for you. I know you may feel desperate to be pregnant again but just take a little time to grieve and process what is happening. Waiting isn’t always the worst idea.
I currently need to listen to my own advice as I’m sat in a spa, 6 days after starting a 5th miscarriage. I have been so desperate not to become depressed that I’ve kept busy busy busy all week. As a result, I’m still bleeding heavily, have very painful cramps, have ruined more knickers and even some trousers … and I can’t enjoy the spa facilities. I didn’t get the balance quite right this week – I tired to just keep going but my body has been shouting REST!! Take it from me – you will heal quicker physically and emotionally if you face what is happening and act accordingly. Rest. Cry. It is a process that can’t be skipped.
When will I be over this? Truthfully: you won’t. The pain will just transform into something different. Pregnancy and miscarriage is a significant life event and it will stay with you. I know that in society we don’t really talk about it – that doesn’t mean that people aren’t thinking about it. Hopefully, blogs like mine will help people start to talk so it isn’t such a taboo and such a shock when the emotional pain doesn’t go away.
After losing George, I expected to feel better – physically and emotionally – in about a week. My milestones of miscarriages posts show that this simply isn’t the case. The heavy weight of grief became easier to bear over time, but it was still there with me. The due date was particularly hard. So hard, I am writing this post before I write about it as I don’t feel able to address that topic yet. Now the due date has passed I feel some of the weight has been lifted, however, the miscarriage will remain with me. My babies will remain with me – safe in my heart. Wrapped up in my DNA so we never have to part each other. The tears are less frequent. The pain that rips you in 2 and bores a deep hole inside you leaving you an empty shell will ease. It will become more bearable. Life will be good again. You will smile again. But don’t rush it – just because society only gives you a couple of weeks to talk about it, doesn’t mean that’s how long you should give yourself to process the trauma and grief.
If you are struggling with a miscarriage, whether recent or long ago, please reach out and talk. Search out blogs, forums, professionals. It is a process that is tough to navigate and you can’t just ignore it and hope it will go away. Now that I am brave enough to face my grief, I am coping better. And you will too.