10 Things to Stop Thinking and Doing After a Miscarriage

How to Overcome Negative Thoughts and Actions After a Pregnancy Loss

Any woman who has experienced a miscarriage - especially when the pregnancy was wanted - knows that losing a child at any stage of pregnancy can be very difficult to come back from.

Emotionally, you may be all over the map after a pregnancy loss. Mentally, you’re probably feeling distracted and unable to handle simple tasks the way you used to. Physically, you may be exhausted and you may have trouble sleeping. You may still be dealing with the aches and pains of a delivery or miscarriage.

In other words, you’ve got a lot going on after your pregnancy loss. With all that you're coping with, negative ways of thinking about and dealing with your loss won't help matters.

Fortunately, there are many things you can do to ease up on yourself after a miscarriage.

This advice may help you cope and get through your pregnancy loss so you're truly ready to try again (if you choose to) at some point in the future.

Feeling Alone

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When you’ve lost a baby, you probably feel like the only person you know who’s going through such a tragedy. You don’t have to feel that way.

The truth is that miscarriage is all too common. Estimates vary based on how far along a woman is in her pregnancy, but many experts agree that as many as 15 to 20 percent of pregnancies end in miscarriage. Stillbirth also happens far more often than people realize.

The trouble is, we don’t really talk about it. Whether you prefer the safety and anonymity of the Internet or a more intimate and personal setting, there’s a support group for you so you don't have to feel all alone in this.

Blaming Yourself

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It’s hard not to feel like you did something wrong when you lose a pregnancy. Guilt is a natural reaction when something happens to someone important to us, and who could be more important to you than your own baby?

But guilt can be an unhelpful emotion when there’s nothing you actually could have done to change the outcome of your pregnancy. Finding out the cause of your loss may help, but even if the cause is unknown, you can learn to let go of self-blame. There are ways to help you get through your feelings of guilt after a miscarriage.

Wondering If You&re "Normal"

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Every person’s journey through grief is unique. Some people need to be more public with their experiences, by talking with friends and family, holding a funeral or memorial service or displaying memories of their babies. Others tend to be private, confiding in only a few trusted people and keeping their mementos safely stored. Some people grieve quickly, while others take years.

Remember: It’s all normal. There are no deadlines or milestones.

Listening to Negativity

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Because pregnancy loss isn’t something we tend to talk about, most people don’t know what to say when you do decide to tell them. As a result, they can say some pretty hurtful things without meaning to.

Remember, their hearts are probably in the right place when they tell you, "You can always have another baby" or "This probably happened because you did __________."

But also remember, just because someone says it, doesn’t make it true. Do your best to accept well-meaning condolences and educate people about the causes of miscarriage, especially if they’re clinging to miscarriage myths and old-wives tales.

Ignoring Your Emotional Needs

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Feeling numb may be one of your first reactions to a pregnancy loss. It might seem easier to just stay that way - to not think about what’s happened and to avoid your feelings through distraction.

It’s OK to take a break from your grief once in a while. After all, grief is exhausting. But eventually, you’ll have to confront it. Trying to stifle your feelings can lead to sleep disturbances and even physical illness.

Remind yourself that even a very private person can take the time to cry in private. Give in to it once in a while. Likewise, don’t forget that it’s OK to feel joy again. The good moments help us through the bad ones.

Worrying What Others Think

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If you want to have a funeral for your baby, no matter how far along you were when you miscarried, that's OK. If you want to sign your holiday cards with your baby’s name, that's fine, too. If you want to talk about it on Facebook, that's your choice. It’s also fine if you don’t feel like you need to talk about your loss with anyone. 

Not everyone in your life will be comfortable with whatever mourning activities you do or do not take part in. Don’t worry how they think you’re coping. You need to do what’s right for you.

Rushing Yourself

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As we've said, there are no deadlines for grief. Although it should get easier to cope as time passes, the path through grief is neither straight nor clear. You can only get through each day as it comes.

Some days will be better than others, and sometimes you’ll feel like everything is starting to be "normal" again, only to be blindsided by a reminder of your baby. When this happens, you may feel like you’re back at square one.

Don’t get frustrated with yourself. Just keep moving ahead and know that there will be better days in your future.

Keeping It a Secret

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For most women, it’s hard to hide when you’re going through a rough time like a miscarriage. You might get away with it with your co-workers, but the people in your life who really know you are going to sense that something is wrong.

Even if you don’t want to share every detail of your grief, you may find it helpful to at least give a brief description of what you’re going through. Something as simple as "I had a miscarriage and I don’t really want to talk about it, but I hope you’ll understand if I’m a little off right now," can help your friends and family know how to act around you.

You might find that you have a few unexpected sources of support. You never know who’s going to be the person who offers to help you around the house or take you out for lunch.

Ignoring Your Physical Needs

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After a miscarriage, it can be easy to become hyper-focused on your emotions and forget about your physical recovery.

Immediately after a pregnancy loss, you’ll have lots of physical changes to deal with as your body transitions back to a non-pregnant state. But even after your vaginal bleeding has stopped and engorgement has passed, your body has needs.

By exercising and keeping your body healthy, you’ll feel more capable of dealing with your emotions. Exercise can also increase your levels of endorphins, which can elevate your mood.

Avoiding Professional Help

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You’ve given yourself lots of time and patience. You’ve had some good days after your miscarriage, but plenty more bad ones. On the bad days, it’s hard even to get out of bed. You don’t seem to have energy for anything, even things you used to enjoy. You don’t want to eat, you can’t sleep and you find yourself avoiding other people. Maybe you’ve even thought about hurting yourself or ending your life.

If this sounds like you, it’s time to get help. This is important because grief can turn into serious depression.

Call your doctor to talk. If you are considering hurting yourself or someone else, call the police or get to a hospital emergency room as soon as you can. When you need help after a pregnancy loss, there’s no shame in getting it.

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