The 13 Emotional Stages of a Miscarriage
Too often, we suffer alone with our losses. Too often, our heartache is meant to be swallowed without much acknowledgement. I am one of you. I too have lost a pregnancy, had a miscarriage, said goodbye to a baby we would never hold or kiss. Together, we understand one another; the physical laboring pain, the heartache, the yearning, the sadness. The pain that only time can help. Together, we understand, but so many other mothers will walk this path and join our journey of life after a loss without support. For these women, and for those of you beginning the journey, I am writing today.
My words may ring true for you; they may stir up emotions, make you turn away, or even help you in healing, but they are true... as are your own words as you walk the journey. Together, we can spread the word and help other mothers survive this heartache and find the beauty in each day again.
The 13 Emotional Stages of a Miscarriage
There is no heartbeat. There is bleeding. There are contractions. There is real human tissue passed (or removed). There is more bleeding. There are more cramps. There are tears and questions -- so many questions. There is begging and praying that it isn't true, but it is. It is reality. A baby that was conceived will not be born. A lifetime of moments will not occur. Whether the pregnancy ended at 5 weeks, 8 weeks, or 12 weeks, it is over, and in its place is the heartache of knowing that it once existed.
Each of these stages can last as long as needed, but they will each arrive in waves, bringing you closer to healing - even when it doesn't feel possible.
It cannot possibly be happening. When you wake up it will all be normal again. Your swollen belly will be back where it should be.
Your heart feels as though it is being physically ripped from your chest. You cannot stop crying.
But sleeping will make it all disappear.
Eating, or not eating, and sleeping are the only things you can think about. Everything else is so numb that you can't understand why the world is still turning.
How can this happen? What did you do to cause it? You can't eat, sleep, or stop crying. The tears come in waves as strong as the tide, but they don't wash away the pain, only verify it.
(These two will cycle a few times in the beginning. Every mother will spend a different length of time within each stage.)
Doubt and Guilt
You will wonder every which way to Tuesday if that glass of wine, the yoga class, a night of sex, or the sushi caused the loss.
The answer is no. (But believing that is hard.)
The tears will burn your eyes and your emotions will shift to anger. There will be so much anger.
Grief tends to continually circle back around. The heart feels as though it will never heal, and it may not completely ever heal. The heartache will catch you off guard... baby showers, pregnant bellies, friends, movies, commercials, stores, or songs. A mother's mind has a way of drifting off to the land of unreal, and in this place is where heartache flows fast and hard. Here is where you envision every moment that was lost when your baby gained his (or her) wings.
ALONE. You wish to be alone. Wine, food, no food, music, silence, it doesn't matter, but you want to be alone with the grief.
Then, there is a moment when the world NEEDS to know. This pregnancy was not imagined; you were carrying a baby, and you need to tell people. The support you receive is not meant to heal, but it is meant to give your experience a voice and a life beyond yourself.
The heart will feel broken and a dark cloud may linger for a long time. Your legs are heavy, as heavy as your heart. It feels better to sleep than to consciously know the pregnancy is over.
In shear desperation, you will want to be pregnant again. It may consume you. You may feel as though a new pregnancy will heal everything, but it is not true. While a rainbow baby is a beautiful addition to a family, she will not replace the baby lost. Time is needed before making the decision to try for another baby.
A point will come when you accept that you have lost a baby. It will not be easy, and grief will continue to cycle around, but it will come.
A new pregnancy will bring with it fear you have never felt before. A heartbeat will never sound as good as a rainbow baby's heartbeat.
Miscarriage happens with 1 in every 4 pregnancies today. It has happened to someone you know, if it has not happened to you. It is real. Together, we can open our arms to the mothers who are currently in need of our love; after all, our angels are all dancing in heaven together.