Staying Positive After A Miscarriage – Tips for a Healthy Mindset After Pregnancy Loss
Let me start by saying that I am SO sorry for your loss.
People who have not experienced pregnancy or child loss don’t quite understand the grief or loss you feel.
You lose yourself.
Staying positive after this kind of traumatic life event can be difficult, but your grief doesn’t have to last forever.
My Miscarriage Story
The very first time we found out that we were pregnant, both my husband and I were pretty excited. I mean, it wasn’t planned, so there were a lot of things that we had to figure out, but we both wanted kids, so it looked like it was time.
Honestly, we had so many other things planned—my husband was going to start grad school and work on leveling up his teacher license, we had all kinds of travel plans, we wanted to buy a house in a few years—we weren’t even going to start considering kids until next summer. But chances are, next summer would have become the summer after that. Or maybe 2 or 3 summers later.
I was already 30, so I could feel the clock ticking, but all the fears that I had about being a mother overshadowed the ticking clock. I worried that I would feel overwhelmed and scared—after all, having kids is a HUGE decision.
(I mean, in the olden days, people wouldn’t worry about having lots of kids because it was free manual labor… they thought of kids not as these precious little princes and princesses who would rule their lives, but smart, functional humans with a lot of potential to get things done around the farm. Just sayin’.)
At least, I thought it was a huge decision.
But once I got pregnant, all that changed. It felt totally natural! I felt like I was on cloud 9 and nothing could bring me down! It was effortless and I realized that I don’t have to know everything about children before conceiving… that we can take it one step at a time!
Our employer has a reasonable maternity leave program in place… it’s not fantastic, but it would work for when our baby was due! We had this plan, and we were reimagining the future in ways that we never had before.
I pictured myself making a costume and being Padme in her Mustafar outfit for Halloween, since I would be developing a baby bump at that time (and there was no way Padme was in her third trimester with twins. Seriously, Hollywood.) I pictured myself visiting Ohio over the Holidays and getting to see everyone and I would have a 6 month baby-bump!
My sister-in-law was already planning a baby shower! I did extensive research on child-birth and labor and had already decided on a natural birth in a birthing center. My husband had already agreed to be my birth partner. I pictured all the wonderful joy that this baby would bring into our lives.
Little did we know that all that would be taken away from us.
When I was 7 weeks and 5 days, I started spotting. It was just a little at first, so I didn’t worry. This was the time I would have started my period if I hadn’t been pregnant, so maybe it was just breakthrough bleeding.
But I started bleeding a little heavier. It’s okay—50% of women who bleed in the first trimester go on to deliver healthy babies.
And even heavier. At exactly 8 weeks, I realized that I was bleeding severely and had lost all symptoms of my pregnancy. All the feelings of pure joy were gone. My sore breasts and water-bloated belly—gone. My super-sniffer was but a memory. I felt like normal me, except broken.
When I started passing big clots and I knew it was over. I was at an Orff workshop when I realized I was having the miscarriage, so I frantically packed up and left without a word to anyone, crying in the car on the way home as I talked to the on-call midwife. She confirmed it was likely a miscarriage and that I would go to the ER for an ultrasound, or I could just go to my appointment that was scheduled for Monday.
I spent that Saturday afternoon watching the Office with my husband and trying to go about normal life. We spent a long time out on the porch talking—he was having a particularly stressful year at school and needed to vent. We went back inside because it was cold (surprising for August), and after sitting down on the couch, I started to cry and cry…. and cry. It seemed like hours.
This baby had only been a part of our lives for three weeks! Three weeks and that’s how much everything in our lives had changed.
I laid the blame on myself
I blamed myself even though I knew it wasn’t rational. Because it had been a surprise, I hadn’t been in as good of shape as I would have liked. I drank alcohol several times there in the beginning weeks, had espresso nearly every day (after bringing home an espresso maker from Italy, how could I not?!). I was eating desserts and sweets regularly. I was still on vacation. My sleep schedule was messed up because we had just gotten home from Europe and were jet-lagged. As soon as I had found out, I changed my diet, stopped all the wine and espresso and started sleeping regularly and exercising again.
But I fear it had been too late.
And then when I got sick and developed a fever at week 7, well that could have done the baby in too.
But if I’m being totally honest, I didn’t feel like the pregnancy was anchored from the beginning. I felt unsettled. I had never been pregnant before, so I didn’t know if that was the way it was supposed to be or not. (Guess not.)
Staying Positive After Miscarriage or Pregnancy Loss
At first, I didn’t think staying positive after a miscarriage was possible. But slowly, things started to change.
But I learned so much in those few weeks that I was blessed to have a baby inside me. I was able to find some hints of positivity in the storm. It is possible to stay positive after a miscarriage. Here’s how I stayed positive and you can too:
Faith and Strength
Bad things happen and I’m going to get through them. I’ve already been through some tough shit, but sometimes I forget. Life gets a little too cushy and comfy and you forget how strong you are.
When you go through something traumatic, you have to dig deep to find your strength. Sometimes that’s easier than others. For some people, it might be faith in God or God’s words that gives them strength and comfort. For others, it might be faith in yourself and your own abilities.
My Support System
I have an amazing husband. He listened without judging, and he loved without expecting anything back for a few weeks. He even validated my feelings when I expressed my frustration at other family members who weren’t as helpful… and sometimes I expressed those feeling a little loud.
A good support system is whoever you have in your life who can validate your feelings and listen to you. Having good support in times of need can help you connect to others and feel like you’re not alone. Even when you don’t feel positive, having people there make the pain more bearable.
Everything only happens for a reason if you’re willing to look for that reason. Believe me, this is NOT something you want to say to comfort a woman who has been through loss of a baby. But if she finds meaning in her loss, then that is up to her to look for it. I found meaning in my loss. It doesn’t make the loss more bearable or less painful, but it does make the future look a little brighter.
Learning about yourself
I was afraid that I wasn’t ready for children, but that did not have any meaning to me once the time came. My natural instincts took over and I felt beyond ecstatic to be carrying a child that I hoped would be a part of our lives forever. I was ready for children, even if I didn’t know it! And now that it’s happened once, there is no going back to what we had planned for before. This baby made me realize how much love I had to give.
I also learned how to grieve. Until my miscarriage, I had not had many traumas in my life. I knew what it looked like when I grieved, and I know the things to look out for when interacting with people around me. I know my triggers and how to avoid them.
Staying positive after a miscarriage doesn’t look like bright happy sunshine and unicorns. Sometimes staying positive just looks like learning to grieve, finding your strength and faith, and utilizing your support system. Find meaning in what you’ve gone through can help you to look toward the future with realistic optimism. Who knows, you may even glean some wisdom that may help others.
Keep moving forward. If you’ve gone through a miscarriage, I send you virtual hugs and love. I know how difficult it is. But you have the strength to stay positive for the future.
There is light when it all seems dark, and now my life is filled with more love than I could have ever imagined!