10 Normal Emotions Women Have After a Miscarriage or Pregnancy Loss
Discussing any emotions after a miscarriage or pregnancy loss can be very difficult. Whether your a 1st time mom, already a mom or have been trying to have a baby for a while. If you have experienced any of these losses, my condolences. I am writing for you. In this post, I share 10 emotions I lived through and so many women have lived through in course of the healing process, along with ways to cope. My hope is to let you know, the emotions you are feeling are normal, even if you may think your crazy, feel guilt for feeling this way or just think your losing it. You’re not. Even if others don’t understand, I do.
Please know that letting yourself go through each emotion will help you get closer to acceptance. Acceptance is what helps inspire hope for a new baby, a new journey, and new blessings that will fill your life. So take my hand and let’s go through each emotion together...….
“This can’t be happening to me”
Many women, feel this emotion because you never think it's going to happen to you. You think, I want to start a family and that’s what will happen, until pregnancy loss occurs. It’s okay, I was blindsided too. One minute, I carried life and the next I was just my regular self, without my baby. It’s hard to be a mother and then that dream, that yearning, be taken away. With my first miscarriage, I felt it was like a dream, I wanted to wake from desperately. Even though, I was going through the pain, I thought the doctors could still save my baby or somehow I was still pregnant and the doctors were confused. I believe that denial is a feeling that is somehow easier to cope with before you accept that you are no longer carrying your baby. I need you to remember, many women have to face this emotion, once they are part of this club but we don’t need to keep quiet about it.
How to Cope? Let yourself go through this emotion. According to an article on pregnancy loss by Parents.com, denial is one of the first emotions you will deal with when you are faced with any type of loss in your life. It is part of the mourning process. I also suggest, when you are ready, to start reading about other women’s or couple’s experiences. This helps you realize you are not alone, many women have experienced exactly what you are feeling. By doing this, we can learn from each other and find different ways to cope.
2. DEEP SADNESS
“I just feel sad...why did this happened to me?”
I call this emotion a deep sadness because it's something you feel in your soul. You may cry more than you ever did in your life or maybe you don’t. Still, this sadness means you cared and loved your baby. Feel this emotion just as you felt the happiness of having your baby. After my baby Sofia died at only 20 weeks pregnant, I couldn’t find much joy in anything. When I got home from the hospital, I cried in the shower and begged God to help me because I didn’t know how I was going to heal from this pain. I felt this loss in every corner of my being. All I wanted to do was wear black and stay home. This is how I was mourning my baby and keeping myself sheltered from the harsh reality I was living. I cried myself to sleep many nights because in the dark was the only time I didn’t have to put on a face or smile so everyone thought I was okay. I could release all my sadness. This is how I coped for a few months. Find your way to deal with your sadness. Remember, you may never understand “why” this happened to you. Just know, it is part of your life’s journey.
How to Cope? Cry if you need to and when your done, cry some more. Let your sadness go one tear at a time. If you don’t cry, find a release by talking to your partner, doctor, therapist or write your feelings down in journal. Spend time with family or friends that bring comfort and joy to your life. My family and friends crammed in a studio (my hubby and I lived in) for two weeks after our baby Sofia passed away. They supported us through the toughest weeks by just being with us, next to us, holding us up when we felt we were drowning. I thank God for such a blessing.
“I will never get to use the baby clothes I bought”
“My body keeps going through pregnancy even after my baby is gone”
Regardless of how far along you were in the pregnancy, mothers, fathers all experience that moment of surprise or excitement when you know you made a baby. That feeling of elation, that in just a few months, you will be holding a baby in your arms. It's a great feeling. You start seeing the world in a different light and start planning everything for the baby’s arrival, buying clothes, decorating, and picking out names. If you are like me, I went to Babies R Us and parked in the spot with the sign that said “PREGOS ONLY”, and I was only a few weeks. Then suddenly, these little moments with your child are shattered when you go through a miscarriage or pregnancy loss and there nothing you can do to bring your baby back. You feel empty. You lost a part of you, you lost your baby. It’s okay to feel this loss. It’s okay to cry, when you see your body is still going through the pregnancy experience (ex. milk supply, hormones) and your baby is not physically here. I felt this emptiness, when my milk supply started to flow and the doctors advised I used cold compresses to stop the milk production. I was looking forward to the experience of breastfeeding my baby, holding my baby and sharing this bond. I never got the chance with Sofia, so I felt empty inside. This is one of the hardest emotions, I feel, women must endure after a miscarriage or pregnancy loss.
How to cope? Pray and give yourself time to recover from your loss. The hormones levels in your body, definitely intensify any emotions you are having of loss, so give your body time. Remember to pray, when you feel this way. When I would look at myself in the mirror and my breast were still engorged with the milk my child would never have, I felt sad and longed to have my baby. At these moments, I prayed and asked God to make the emptiness feeling go away and help me fill that void with hope. He did.
“I really wanted this baby...it's not fair I don’t get to be a mother”
“Why do other mothers, who don’t want their children have them.. I deserved my baby”
“God, what did I do to deserve this fate?”
This emotion is especially normal because you have a right to feel as though somehow you were cheated and your angry with God, with the world. You have the right to feel as though you lost the most precious thing in the world because you did. When I had my second miscarriage, I was so angry at my situation I couldn’t even go to company BBQ. At this BBQ, I knew my co-worker who recently had a newborn and my boss’s wife who was late in her pregnancy would be present. Just the thought of seeing them, I knew would make me upset and breakdown. I politely said I couldn’t attend but only a few close friends really knew why. I prayed a lot during this time and asked God to help heal my heart so any anger would dissipate. Eventually, it did.
We may never understand why this is happening to us but we must trust in God, anyways. Trusting God, did not come easy when I was angry and upset. After Sofia’s loss, I yelled at God wanting an answer so desperately as to why, but something inside me would remind me, it’s gonna be okay, I will support you in your pain. There were times, I felt God would send messages through people to comfort me in my pain. I remember my brother-in-law Edwin, said once “Sofia had a purposes she came to fulfill and we will never know how many lives she touched in the short time she was here.” This message helped mend my broken heart.
How to Cope? Do what you need to do to release this anger. Only you know how you feel in this difficult moment in your life. Cry if you need to. Yell into your pillow, if it helps. Pray, if this is calming for you. You have a right to refuse any requests for social outings if your not ready yet. Remember to listen to the messages God will send you to help heal your heart too.
“If I would have ___ my baby would be alive”
I need you to know, there is nothing you could have done to stop this miscarriage or pregnancy loss from occurring. I know, even if I stated this, a part of you will still having feelings of guilt, like you could have prevented this experience somehow. Many women want to find an answer and what better scapegoat than point the finger at ourselves. Then we come up with a list of reasons why, well if I didn’t works as hard, if I didn’t go the gym, if I would have ate better, the list is endless. Since I can remember, I always had issues with my weight. So my guilt trip was, “well maybe if I was healthier and ate the right food I would have a baby”. Now, when I really examined this story I told myself, I realized it was false. Yes, eating better is good for my health but even if I ate better that does not mean I would still have my baby. There are female athletes (i.e, Nancy Kerrigan, famous figure skater, article link below) who are in the best of shape, who still experience miscarriages or pregnancy loss. If you have a guilty thought come up because it will, remind yourself somethings are not in your control. It’s not our plan, its God’s plan.
How to Cope? Speak to someone you trust, your partner, therapist, or a good bestie who can listen and support you. Pray to God to remove any feelings of guilt from your mind and heart. Join a support group, if this is something you are comfortable doing. Read more about ways to cope with any feelings of guilt associated with miscarriages or pregnancy loss.
“Why can’t I just have a baby, like any other mother”
After trying, again and again, and still no baby, it's easy to experience feelings of failure. I used to tell myself, “if only my body worked right”, blaming my body, pointing the finger at myself. Instead of being kind to myself and acknowledging what my body has suffered physically and emotionally, we (body, mind and soul) have done together. My beautiful body carried my baby angel. I realized one day, I am not a failure but a survivor who has taken tough blows to the heart but is still standing. I remind myself everyone has a struggle, addiction, weight, connecting, succeeding, and mine is having a baby. Everyone may not get what they want the first time but they try again and again. Perseverance, hope and faith in God is what keeps me going. God helps me know I cannot fail, cause he is by my side.
How to cope? Feel empowered knowing that you are a survivor, not a failure. Praying empowers me too. When you are feeling this emotion, read about other women's or couple’s experiences and become inspired by their stories.
7. GUILTY FOR FEELING HAPPINESS
“How can I be happy...my baby is dead”
“How can I feel happy, if my child will never get this chance”
There is going to come a time when a few months after the storm you will begin to see a light (not physically, figuratively). A light that starts to shine within you, a thought that everything is gonna be okay and I can get through this miscarriage or pregnancy loss. It's a moment of happiness, when you see life in color again. The feelings of sadness starts to break away and your heart starts to heal. This moment was subtle for me and happened when I was with family, my hubby and I were at a family event. For a moment, I forgot my sadness and started enjoying life again, like I used to before I loss my baby (Sofia). In an instant, all these emotions of guilt caming rushing to my mind, telling my how could I be happy if my child would never get this chance? How could I be happy, if my child was gone, forever? The happiness I felt had turned on me or maybe I turned away from the happiness I felt. My instant reaction was to run outside, straight into my husbands arms and start sobbing uncontrollably. He was surprised because he had just seen me enjoying myself but knew, he just needed to hold me.
How to Cope? Just take it one day at a time. The feeling of guilt for being happy, for being alive and your baby angel is in heaven I believe, only goes away with time. The time I described above was the only moment I felt that way. What’s important is, I let myself feel that emotion and then let it go.
“I am afraid of being pregnant again….”
“I don’t want to go through the pain of loss again”
This emotion is probably the most common among women who are still on the journey of having a baby. This feeling is normal after one or multiple pregnancy losses. When you do become pregnant again, you many think “what if it (loss) happens again?” This fear may even stop you from enjoying certain activities or attending social events. If it makes you feel better to not do certain things then don’t. Always listen to your doctors advice but trust yourself too. Remember, somethings are out of your control. Pray and pray again, but don’t let your fear stop you from enjoying this happy time in your life. Let yourself enjoy being pregnant because if you go full term, great #rainbowbaby! If you don’t and never enjoyed your baby, then what’s the point? We can’t predict the future. Every baby is a blessing, so enjoy your baby even if for a small window. I know to some this may sound weird but life is too short not too enjoy every minute you get with anyone. I believe every baby has a purpose, a purpose we may not know was fulfilled while your baby was alive. This comforts me to know. Although, a baby loss can be heartbreaking, I know. I would not give it up or take it back because I loved each and everyone one of my baby angels.
How to Cope? Take it one day at a time, one step at a time. When you do become pregnant again, express your feelings of fear with someone you trust, a partner, therapist, family or friend. It’s normal to feel afraid but hold on to your faith. Pray, this helped me get through any fears I had. Remember to enjoy your pregnancy and every moment you have with your little one.
“ I can do this, other women have experienced my pain too”
“This is only a part of my life, I must learn to find joy in the journey”
When you gain feelings of acceptance, you will know. It may take time but you will know. It's not that you forget what happened but more a realization that this pregnancy loss happened to you and you want to move forward. It's a knowing, that you will overcome all the emotions of denial, sadness, anger, guilt, and fear. I knew I was in a state of acceptance, when I could start talking to people about my Sofia. After my loss, besides close friends and family, the only other person that knew what happened to me was my therapist. The first few months, I couldn’t come to speak about what happened to anyone else. Until the moment I could. The day my husband was sworn in for his citizenship, I told a woman sitting next to me in the courtroom, who was also waiting for her husband. We made casual conversation and she asked “do you have kids?” My stomach clenched but the words came out about my experience. As soon as I finished, she gave me her condolences and shared her daughter-in-law’s story with miscarriage. She gave me a few words of encouragement, we said our goodbyes and that was it. I felt so good that day, because I knew my heart was healing.
How to Cope? You know, when you will be ready to start down the road of acceptance. It may take a few weeks or months, let yourself experience your feelings. Don’t let anyone make you feel as if you should just get over it. No! Listen to yourself, take care of yourself, love yourself. You will know, when you are ready to share about your experience, go to social events or schedule an appointment with a therapist. Trust yourself, you will know. If you feel, you are not getting to this stage, get help. Speak to your doctor, there are many support websites and hotlines available, where you can call or email in to speak to a professional who can help with coping.
10. EMOTIONAL ROLLERCOASTER OF GOOD DAYS AND BAD DAYS
Even, if you reach the point of acceptance, there will still be good and bad days. Days when you think, “I got this!” and you tell your partner “I am ready to try for a baby again”, this is a GOOD day. Then suddenly the doubts and fears start to creep in and you find yourself feeling all the emotions you thought you were over, this is a BAD day. It’s okay, remember to take your time and pray. If you don’t pray, say positive affirmations as long as it helps improve your mood. I believe the loss of my babies, I will forever carry in my heart and miss them till we meet again. But the pain in my heart hurts a little less each day and now, instead of feeling sad, I can remember my angel babies with a smile on my face, trusting God’s plans for my life. I hope you can do the same.
How to cope with bad days? Trust yourself and look for support from family and friends, online blogs, groups on Facebook and non-for-profit organizations, like Pregnancy After Loss Support (PALS) (link below) that help bereaved parents. Personally, I like to listen to music that cheers me up. I especially like Spotify’s Compilation of Disney’s Greatest music playlist, its playful and whimsical and gets me out of my head. I also believe there are certain songs that help heal your soul, my favorites include “I Will Carry You” by Selah and “Gone Too Soon” by Daughtry. Talking to my husband and praying always helps. Or maybe you just sit on your couch, snuggled under your favorite throw blanket, crying it out, do whatever helps you make more bad days, good again.
Remember, going through an experience of having a miscarriage or pregnancy loss, is devastating to women (and men). Whenever you lose something you truly care for, there are a range of emotions you feel, that only subside with time. I found expressing these feelings in your own way, definitely helps your heart begin the journey towards healing. Try talking to someone you trust, go to therapy or join a support group. Try creatively releasing by writing or painting. Just try, even if you don’t think it will help. The physical act of taking your emotions and putting them out into the world by talking, writing, or creating, helps release everything you hold in your heart. This way you can move pass these emotions toward acceptance. Doing this helped me. Writing is my saving grace, healing me, one word at a time. What is healing you? Thanks for joining me and listening. Please comment below, I would love to know what emotions you experienced or can relate to from my post and any ways you cope that really helped.
Nancy Kerrigan, read more at https://www.ranker.com/list/celebrities-who-have-had-miscarriages/celebrity-lists
Pregnancy After Loss Support (PALS), read more at https://www.pregnancyafterlosssupport.com
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this blog are to provide support to couples who are grieving the loss of their babies. These are my opinions and not intended as medical advice, as I am not a doctor. Please check with your doctor on what is best for you.
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