How to cope with miscarriage

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Photographed by Kat J

Miscarriage is when a woman loses the fetus they are carrying before it is 20 weeks of pregnancy. Miscarriages usually take place early on in pregnancies and it has been reported that most of such loss happens within the first 3 months. 

About 20% of all pregnancies end up in miscarriages, which makes miscarriages more common than we think. 

Yet even though it is very common, we treat it like a taboo and something that we don’t have to talk about. 

Causes of miscarriages 

As a woman when you are going through a miscarriage, your first instinct is to ask yourself what you could have done better. You ask yourself if there was some food you ate that you shouldn’t have eaten? Some men even blame their wives when they miscarry. 

The truth is miscarriages just happen and so there is nothing the mother does that causes her to lose the baby. Sometimes people blame certain foods, or not resting enough or walking too fast, or working too hard.

Miscarriages are not caused by the pregnant mother. Miscarriages do happen sometimes due to certain factors such as; overweight, diabetes, infections, improper implantation of the egg, or abnormal chromosomes in the fertilized egg. 

Dealing with the loss

Miscarriages are very common than we think and a lot of women have experienced it before; 

yet only a handful of women talk about it.  

When someone loses a child or relative, we talk about it and we even find various means to help the person heal, so why do we not do the same for women who go through miscarriages?. 

Why are miscarriages a taboo to talk about especially in certain cultures?

Women who go through miscarriages are oftentimes left to deal with the pain on their own. Because society has made it in such a way that no one talks about it. But if you talk to 10 women, you will get at least 1 woman who has gone through this loss before. 

Miscarriages can be emotionally draining and very lonely times for women. 

Women who experience this kind of loss go through different kinds of emotions from shock to sadness, to self-pity, to guilt and blame.  In these times, some women even tend to feel not being woman enough. Some women also get shamed by their family members or others for not being able to carry a baby to a full term like other women. 

But the feeling nobody talks about is the fear and anxiety these women who have experienced miscarriages go through about their next pregnancies.  The fear remains until the very day they give birth. 

Grieving the loss of your unborn child

In most cases, because miscarriages are something that people hardly talk about, some women find it hard to grieve their loss. In some cultures in Africa, women are prohibited from grieving miscarriages, because elders claim it may prevent the woman from becoming pregnant ever again. Some families and friends in the western world also look at women who grieve miscarriages as weird and over-emotional.

While these attitudes towards women who experience miscarriages are all unfair, they unfortunately exist. This is because some people usually tend to consider early miscarriages as something that should not be mourned.

But what they forget is that the minute a woman finds out she is pregnant, she makes a way and immediately starts preparing for that child. They imagine what the baby would look or talk like. So to tell a mother not to grieve because it was not full-term is completely not fair and cruel.  Women should be allowed to feel all the emotions they feel. 

To my fellow women who have been going through this painful experience, please know that what you feel is completely normal. You are entitled to the pains and grieve and so I want you to know you can take all the time you need to mourn your baby. 

Allow yourself to feel and grieve the loss and don’t let anyone pressure you into feeling as though you should not mourn or grief. 

If you feel like laughing do it. Just because you didn’t cry as someone else did, doesn’t make you less of a woman. You are entitled to your feelings. Give it some time and I promise you will feel alright again. Time really does heal some wounds. 

When you are ready, open up and talk about it with people you trust, it will surprise you to know that a lot of women have suffered miscarriages.

From experience, I have found that talking to people who have been through the same ordeal, helps a lot. By sharing your experiences and how you feel, you might help someone who is going through the same thing to heal. 

How to cope with the loss as a couple

Remember that even though you and your partner both lost a baby, he might react differently from you. Everyone deal with pain and loss differently so don’t judge your partner or spouse for reacting differently. 

What we very often forget is that men also go through painful periods when their wives or partners miscarry. They become helpless and even feel not strong enough to help in such difficult times. As a result, they try to fix things and take care of the women but deep inside them they feel the pain as well.  

I remember when I suffered a miscarriage, even though we didn’t inform many people about it, the few people who knew about it,  kept asking how I was doing and if I needed something. Yet no one asked how my husband was doing. He was going up and down trying to help me but I knew he was in pain and shock as I was but he wanted to put on a brave face just so I would be okay. Whenever he would hold me or hugged me, I felt his pain.

So to let him know I feel his pains too, I made it a point to check in every now and then to see how he was really doing. I didn’t want him to feel alone so I encouraged him to talk to his friends and colleagues at work about it.  Because I knew talking about it would help him understand it and it so he could heal. 

As a couple when you face something as severe as a miscarriage, talk to each other and remember that you are in this together. It is nobody’s fault. 

And to my dear men who are lost at this time and don’t know what to do; please prepare a nice meal for her. Give her a warm blanket and a nice cup of tea every now and then. Let her know how much you love her and hug her tight when she allows you. And when she cries don’t try to tell her to stop; just sit next to her and listen to her talk. 

Lover each other through it.

Trying to conceive again

After a miscarriage, depending on your circumstances, doctors may either give you a go-ahead to try again or tell you to wait. 

Trying to conceive again after miscarriage depends on the couple when they feel ready to try again. Everyone heals differently so if you have the go-ahead from your doctor and you feel ready, you can try again after you see your menstrual circle.  Some women take from 4 to 6 weeks to see their menstrual circle after miscarriage. So feel free to try again right after if you feel ready. 

Things to do to get ready 

It is important to drink a lot of water, tea, or sups to help your body recover. Remember your body has been through a traumatic experience so you need to treat it well. If you intend to try right away then don’t stop taking your prenatal vitamins, continue taking it because it will help your body to get ready. 

Do small exercises, like walking to help your body stay active. 

Once you have suffered a miscarriage, the fear of going through it again never leaves you. If you need to talk to your midwife about it, do so. They will talk to you about how to deal with fear. 

Remember it is normal to feel anxious and afraid but trust that you will be fine. 

Pregnant after a miscarriage

Note that just because you had one miscarriage means that every pregnancy will end up in a miscarriage. The truth is most women who suffer miscarriages go on to have a normal pregnancy after. So enjoy the process. However, if you feel uncertain and scared, ask your midwives to give you echos to ensure that everything will be fine. 

Enjoy your pregnancy. Hold your stomach when you feel like it. Touch it if it gives you comfort.

To the mother who has experienced a miscarriage 

I understand your pain and my heart breaks for you. I stand in solidarity with you and I want you to that it is not your fault. So please don’t blame yourself. 

Yes, you are a woman enough and I see you, I love you. 

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