I started writing my book “How to Survive a Miscarriage – A guide for omen, their partners, friends and families” after I lost my very first child in 2011 to a missed miscarriage.
Here are my top five tips:
1. Pick a ritual.
A miscarriage is a complicated loss. We have lost someone we love so much but have never met. It leaves a special void in our hearts and souls. There are often not many memories to hold on to and to find comfort in. Therefore, it is very important to find a ritual to remember this little life and to create memories. Miscarriage is often not considered a ‘real’ loss, which is highly inappropriate and plain wrong. It is a real loss. So we are more than entitled to pick a ritual to honour our little ones. This can be lighting a candle on their due date, planting a tree or creating a garden or making a scrapbook to reflect your journey and emotions. The one rule to follow is – do what feels right for you.
2. Self care.
After a miscarriage, many women experience a number of conflicting emotions. It is not only the question ‘why me?’ or ‘why my baby?’ that plagues us but also disappointment, anger and maybe even disgust at our own bodies for having failed us. While these thoughts and emotions are normal, it is important to keep them in check. We did nothing wrong. Self care is absolutely crucial after a loss like miscarriage. We have been through a traumatic experience, often unnoticed by the outside world, and we deserve a break. So go and have a spa day, get a massage, buy something nice for yourself. You deserve it. Beating ourselves up over our loss will only take us so far. Instead, to begin the healing journey, we need to focus on ourselves and recognise that we deserve to look after ourselves and do so in a way that suits us.
3. Give it time.
Just like any other loss, a miscarriage needs time. Time to process, time to heal, time to remember. There is the expectation that women have to just ‘get over it’ but that is nonsense. Take all the time you need to grieve, to be sad, to be upset and to heal. You lost your baby! Grief knows no time limit. Know that it is OK to take as long as you need to feel better.
Miscarriage is first and foremost on many occasions, a very lonely experience. We were pregnant one day and the next we are not. If we are lucky, we have supportive family around us. If not, we lose our babies and no one cares. Therefore, it is very, very important to connect with the right people – fellow sufferers who understand what you are going through. They will listen and support you and give you strength to face the outside world again.
5. Say their names.
This might feel weird to start with but it is so important to do. We might not have a ‘proper’ name like Harry or Lisa for our babies because often we didn’t even know the sex of our baby. That is OK though. Many of us have nicknames for our little ones, like peanut or little bean or baby XX. Keep referring to your baby that way. Don’t say ‘it’ and don’t let anyone tell you different. It was a real baby and a real loss. To give them a name that is right for you makes only sense.
LISTEN: Libby Trickett on miscarrying. Post continues...
Why Karin Holmes wrote "How to Survive a Miscarriage – A guide for omen, their partners, friends and families" after losing a child in 2011.
The pregnancy was a surprise to my husband and I, and I had very conflicting emotions about it. I was excited and worried at the same time. Were we ready for a baby? Could we do this? Before I could make up my mind, the decision was made fore me.
One day, about six weeks into my pregnancy, I started bleeding and cramping. I rushed home from work and went to the ER. I was pleading with my baby to please stay with me. But it wasn’t meant to be. After two harrowing weeks of waiting, blood tests and ultrasound, my husband and I heard the words no expecting parent wants to hear ‘I’m sorry, there is no heartbeat.’
I had to go back to hospital to have a D&C (dilation & curettage) to remove my baby from my womb. After that, I fell into a deep, black hole. My world just had been turned upside down. I lost someone so dear to me but whom I never got the chance to meet.
I fell into a deep depression, trying to make sense of it all, but couldn’t. To make things worse – no one cared. I tried to reach out to people but was met with silence and disinterest. The loneliness in my darkest hour was suffocating. I couldn’t believe that no one other than my husband and I cared about this baby we lost. It first upset me, and then angered me. This wasn’t right!
As a trained journalist, I turned to writing to make sense of my emotions. Piece by piece and word-by-word my book came together. I wrote it to try and help other women in a similar situation and to tell them they are not alone. I want to put an end to the silence around pregnancy loss – no matter at what stage a baby was lost. The loneliness and disinterest I felt, I want to make sure no one else has to feel. I hope my book can provide guidance and healing to others in their grief and struggle after a loss like mine.
Because I didn’t have the support I wished for, it was very important to me to also include chapters in my book containing advice for people trying to comfort a miscarriage survivor. It can be hard to find the right words and I address these issues as well in my book. It hasn’t only been written for women suffering such a devastating loss but for those around her as well.
You can buy How to Survive a Miscarriage here.