Nine months of pregnancy is a unique time in the life of any mother, and the thought of something going wrong is unbearable. Yet the truth is that one in every eight pregnancies in the UK ends in miscarriage.
Unfortunately I have been one of those one in eight more than once. My first miscarriage occurred around 11 weeks when I was just 19 years old. Then I lost my little girl Keira back in 2011. Keira was not a miscarriage but a neonatal death. She came at 23 weeks and lived just 10 hours. This was sadly followed months later by my 3rd loss at 20 weeks when a scan revealed my baby had no heartbeat.
Whether it happens in the first 12 weeks or later makes no difference to the mother, and indeed the father. Recovery is difficult and takes time, strength and faith. Phrases like “time is a healer” sound like a cliché but are based in truth, and it is important to believe that your grief will have an end. Family and friends are always important in times of adversity, but ultimately, only you are responsible for your own recovery. At some point, you’ll face two questions – how to come to terms with the grief, and what happens next?
Merely asking yourself these questions shows you are a step closer to moving forward. But where to start?
1) Look after your general health
Think about your state of health before, as well as after, the miscarriage. Your doctor might be able to offer some suggestions as to why it happened, although often there is no single root cause. Nevertheless, take all the tests that are suggested and be sure to follow the advice you are offered.
2) Watch your diet
After a miscarriage, some women have no interest in food, while others use it as a crutch. If either of these applies to you, you will know it. Your body has been through a tough experience and needs the right nutrition and plenty of hydration. Try to maintain regular mealtimes, and stick to them whether you really want to or not. Keep a close eye on your weight, and if you notice significant changes, consult your doctor. Try to be sensible around caffeine and alcohol. Neither of them are what you really need right now.
3) Routine is important
Routine goes beyond mealtimes. Go to bed at the usual time in the evening, even if you do not feel sleepy. Avoid artificial sleep aids and instead, pursue natural approaches.
4) Stop trying to be so brave
Do not hide your grief. Give others a chance to support you outside the immediate family circle. That might mean friends, colleagues, neighbours, a priest or whoever you feel comfortable confiding in.
5) Distraction really helps
Hiding your grief is bad, but so is wallowing in it. Take your time, and there will come a point that you are ready to think about other things. This might mean changing your wardrobe, doing some jobs around the house or exploring the opportunities at a site like Cygnet Jobs and getting yourself back into the world of work.
Maybe there is somewhere you’ve always wanted to visit – this could be the perfect time to do it, in tribute to the one you lost and as a symbol of times ahead.
One day, you will look in the mirror and wonder at how far you have come along the path of psychological recovery during this time. The majority of women who have survived a miscarriage go on to become happy mothers of healthy babies. Even the harshest experiences ultimately leave us wiser and stronger to face what is ahead.