Miscarriage is a traumatic experience and many who experience it can be left trying to process their emotions and grief. Below are some tips from a Shout Clinician to help support your mental wellbeing after a miscarriage.
1. Allow space for grief
Miscarriage can be unique in that we are grieving a future lost versus a past lost. Traditionally, our rituals around grief, like funerals, celebrate and remember a life lived. With miscarriage we’re in unknown terrain of how to grieve a future. This can inhibit us from grieving the loss fully. Many people find it helpful to create a personalised ritual to support with grief. You could consider lighting a candle, a piece of jewellery, designating a tree near your home, or writing something. Rituals can give us something concrete to mark and process grief.
2. Tune into your emotions
Take time daily for a self check in. Ask yourself how your mood and emotional state are. Pay attention to just observing without judging how you think you should be feeling. Different people grieve and process differently. If you catch yourself thinking you should be feeling a different way or trying to control or change your emotions simply remind yourself that however you’re feeling is normal and acceptable. Allow yourself space to feel however you need to feel.
3. Consider connection
There may be physical aspects of the miscarriage that require decision making. You may be feeling confused or overwhelmed by these decisions about your body and health. Connecting with others can be a powerful way to cope. By talking through your experience you may gain helpful information. Other people can empower you with knowledge, whether it be information about a resource or someone's personal story of how they dealt with difficulties. Even if others can’t provide practical resources, you might find that talking helps you understand your own thoughts and feelings. Remember though that you don’t have to share your experience with anyone. You might find it helpful to write down or think through how you made difficult decisions in the past. Successful past decisions can inform how to approach your current situation. Tune in to what feels right for you. There’s no right or wrong way to connect.
4. Embrace mindfulness
Afterwards your body may go through changes which can contribute to low mood or anxious feelings. Furthermore, you might experience tiredness or other new or more extreme states. Embracing mindfulness can help you cope. Mindfulness means bringing your attention to the present moment, instead of allowing yourself to be absorbed in the past or the future. Without judgment or analysis, simply notice what you feel in the present moment. Remind yourself, “this is a moment of pain” or “this is overwhelming” or “this is nerve wracking”. Remember that each moment adds up to each minute, each minute to each hour, each hour to each day, each day to each week. While we can’t control everything, we can control each small present moment. Focus on how you can cope one tiny bit at a time. Can you watch a distracting TV show, take a walk outside, call/text a friend, or pamper yourself?
5. Seek the support you deserve
Everyone grieves and reacts to trauma differently and it’s important to do what’s right for you. There is no one size fits all. If you need to talk to someone about how you’re feeling, you can text SHOUT to 85258 to speak to a trained and empathetic volunteer. Other resources such as The Miscarriage Association might also be helpful to you.