We don’t talk about miscarriages, and we need to – one patient shares her experience.
Guest writer and patient of Hennepin County Medical Center’s Nurse-Midwife team shares some invaluable advice about miscarriages for mothers of angels and their support systems. We are proud to share Megan’s thoughtful and rarely-explored insight from her personal experience with miscarriage.
“You’re Having a Miscarriage. Now what?”
About this time last year, we had our first miscarriage. Miscarriages are more common than we acknowledge. To help angel mothers and loved ones navigate this life-changing experience, I created two lists, “10 Things to Do When You Have a Miscarriage” and “5 Responses to Someone Having a Miscarriage”. These lists are a way I could share practical thoughts that might help you or someone you care about during and after a miscarriage. When I first had a miscarriage, I looked, in vain, for an article like this because no one talks about this experience – and we need to talk about miscarriages. This is not medical advice, and you should consult your medical provider for any medical treatment. I also respect that everyone’s experience is unique to them, but hope some general thoughts might be helpful to some.
10 Things to Do When You Have a Miscarriage
- Inform: only inform people as you feel comfortable. For example, you could leave work saying “I’m not feeling well.” You could tell co-workers or clients that “I’m out on leave” or “I’m having a non-life threatening medical issue.” Consider designating a spokesperson who can inform others. Also, consider updating (or removing) any pregnancy apps. I personally deleted Babybook, I mean Facebook, from my phone. In choosing to inform people, keep in mind that there will be days when you may need more support than you and your partner can offer each other, and that’s ok; that’s how friends and family can help.
- Indulge: As you feel up to it, indulge in sushi, your favorite caffeine, favorite alcohol, raw oysters, cold-cut sandwiches, melons, soft cheeses, all the things you couldn’t do before. Eat lots of iron-rich foods. If red meat sounds like the least appealing food in the world, try other sources, such as most cereal.
- Love your Body: Get a haircut, get a pedicure, get a massage. Rest – go to bed early, sleep in, and take naps, grieving takes a lot of energy. Eventually, if you want to do a light workout, take it easy for longer than you think. Enjoy the activities that were restricted during pregnancy, such as a twist in yoga, a high-heart rate run or ride.
- Support and Socialize: Spend time with family and friends. Listen to podcasts, or join an online or in-person counseling/support group. Journal. Read books about grief and healing, if it’s helpful. Engage in community activities and gatherings, including your religious community if you have one.
- Honor: Consider a ceremony or symbol of your journey and loss. Take time to think about what would be meaningful to you and bring some peace.
- Romance: Go on a date that doesn’t revolve around pregnancy. Get out of town, you’re not tied down to your doctor or clinic’s schedule (at least for a little while).
- Relax: Take a break from reading infertility, pregnancy, and parenting books, articles, and posts, and immerse yourself in new reading, either a different non-fiction topic or fiction. Binge-watch a new show, or movie or watch some old favorite classics. Listen to or perform your favorite music or pick up some new material. Or mindfully meditate.
- Create something, anything – jewelry, a garden, a recipe, a remodel project, a research collection, new friendships or rekindle old ones.
- Enjoy: Appreciate the free time without doctors’ appointments and tests – no scheduling, no test results, no doctor’s messages – until and if you feel ready. Spend time in the sunshine or a favorite place, such as a garden, a museum or a library.
- Take Care of the Details: Catch up on all the medical bills, reimbursements, disputes with insurance, etc. Warning – reading through the dates of service, not to mention office visit notes, can be emotional, so consider asking someone to help with, or do, this. Do the non-pregnancy medical stuff, like an annual pap smear, mammogram, or dentist x-rays.
By Megan Hladilek
Check out part two of this article for info on how loved ones can support someone experiencing a miscarriage.