I’ve heard of stages of grief. You probably have too: disbelief, depression, anger, bargaining, and acceptance. There’s been research that now says not everyone experiences them in that order or may not even experience every stage. Miscarriage is a form of grief, but I’ve found those stages don’t quite capture what I’ve experienced and where I’m at now.
Hallow pain. Crushing heartache. Roller coaster/Bipolar. Full blown mania. Just go to therapy already. Healthy balance.
These are the stages I have identified for myself and I haven’t verified them with other women who have had miscarriages so I’m not sure if this fits for everyone, but this is my story.
Hallow pain: the first days I would cry. I would sit in silence. I felt numb in moments, but that was laced with pain. My baby. There was supposed to be a baby in my belly, growing strong. The week before I had just taken my first picture, holding up a marker board marking the 8 week stage. I had pictures on my phone of the pregnancy tests and videos of telling our parents. I didn’t feel it in my core. Almost like it wasn’t all the way true. And even if it was I didn’t have time for life to stop. I had a husband, full time job, and church commitments I had to attend to. So back to it I went. I got back into running, to Bible study, house chores, and working full time.
Crushing heartache: And then my heart was like what are you doing? You just lost a baby. Why are you trying to pretend that didn’t happen and that it didn’t hurt? So I stopped pretending and allowed myself to feel all the feelings. And all the feelings hit hard. The weight of the lost was overwhelming. It crushed me and I did not even recognize myself during this stage. This was probably the scariest stage for me. My heart was broken. I could not believe I was not going to be a mom.
Roller coaster/Bipolar: In this stage, I really didn’t know how I was going to feel basically moment to moment. I could be completely fine all day and then something minor would go wrong and I would crumble and not be able to function. Especially pregnancy announcements. Oh boy. I should’ve deleted my Facebook. Every time that I opened my Facebook and there was a new pregnancy announcement I was crushed. Other times I was completely fine. I carry my baby in my heart and the grief was just a part of me I was learning to live with.
Full blown mania: Okay. I can live with grief. I can accept that I had a miscarriage. I’ve seen the statistics. It’s a common occurrence in the first trimester. I will accept this truth. Now I’m ready to have a baby again! I will literally do anything that needs to be done. I spent hours online looking at what exactly I needed to do to become pregnant again. All the research said to try again right away. I have better chances in the first 6 months let’s make this happen. Why is my body not cooperating? I can’t predict my cycles or my ovulation anymore. 2 months after I had a miscarriage I did not ovulate. That month was probably one of the worst months for me during this process. I am a control freak and I felt like my body hated me. I was spinning out of control and stressing myself out. I needed help.
Just go to therapy already: I am a therapist. I see clients every day going through hard things. I talked myself out of going to therapy because it didn’t seem like something worth going to therapy for. But the rule of therapy is that if you are experiencing distress, it is worth going to therapy for. So after I talked with a very encouraging social worker friend, I actually made the appointment. After going to therapy for 3 months now, I can officially say it is the best thing that I have done for myself. So much good stuff has come from it. I will sing the praises of going to therapy! I should write a separate post about all the good that has come out of it. Side note: do your research and find a qualified one and if it doesn’t click after 2-3 sessions then find a new one. Therapist/client fit is important for progress in therapy. Ok moving on. This stage is what helped me to move to the next stage where I am currently.
Healthy balance: I feel good. I just found out on Christmas morning that I am not pregnant. Hello aunt flow. Merry Christmas to you to. During past months I was crushed. It consumed me and I was heartbroken. I felt sad when I realized I wasn’t pregnant, but I was able to cope and enjoy my time with my family. I still want a baby. I still do some obsessive things to try to get pregnant (OPKs, gonna try preseed, fish oil supplements). It isn’t my whole life though. I think about it daily. I am able to engage, be present at work, and not be devastated when something minor happens. Don’t get me wrong, I still have low points, but as a whole I am better able to say, I trust God in this process and He has a perfect plan for me.
Isaiah 41:10 – So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
So what stage do you find yourself? Do you have another stage you would add or one that doesn’t fit with your own experience?