Sharing the news can be one of the most painful parts of your loss, especially if; there are quite a few people involved; you were already in your second trimester; it is not your first miscarriage. Just saying the words, "I have had a miscarriage" or "I have lost my baby", intensifies your feelings and reiterates the reality of it all over again. Personally telling close friends and relations may be hard but necessary for future relations. It is difficult to consider others' feelings when your own are all so encompassing but do the best you can. If they live close by perhaps have someone you trust organise a get-to-gether so you can tell them all yourselves in one go. It may be that your partner could handle it better than you. Grandparents can be particularly upset but do not necessarily show it, understanding that your feelings are more important. If you hadn't told many people you were pregnant, it can be a blessing. However if you need their support it can be hurtful and upsetting to someone you had not shared with, and they may not offer the response you were hoping for. Whatever option you chose, know that there are pitfalls in both. (You may like to direct people to our 'Helping someone after miscarriage' section).
At work (see 'Helping someone at work') or in a group you belong to, a caring colleague could let others know that you are sorry but do not feel up to telling them yourself, and perhaps pass on a message about the best way to respond to you that would be comforting, when you return to work/meetings. (Don't forget your boss/president.) There will always be unexpected times, even weeks later, when you will have to deal with someone not knowing you have miscarried. Think about an appropriate, easy to remember response ahead of time so that you will be prepared for their reaction and you can choose to share details or not.
It helps healing to talk but not if it isn't the right person. Also be prepared for the usual 'helpful' thoughtless remarks and understand that without the miscarriage experience, others simply do not 'get it', and do the best they can. (See our Forum for the list of inappropriate responses you may wish to add to) No matter how much support we receive from others, no matter how understanding our partner, the misery we feel after our miscarriage is our own and ultimately we must deal with it ourselves.
- Face life one day at a time.
- Cry, go with your feelings.
- Think of your needs, put yourself first.
- Get lots of hugs from special people.
- Do not have too many expectations of yourself by thinking this should be over by now and adding to your anxiety.
- Avoid making major decisions. It will compound your stress and may not be the right one.
- Indulge yourself for a while - try having a massage or do something you would not take the time to do normally.
- Ask for what you need. Others will be guessing and may not really be helpful.
- Be aware that drugs and alcohol can delay the grieving process.
- Writing is helpful, keep a journal or even write a letter to your baby.
- Do what you feel you can cope with, but know when to stop.
- Even if you don't feel particularly hungry, it is important to eat and drink at regular intervals to keep your blood sugar stable and prevent mood swings.
- Practice some form of stress release like Yoga, meditation, self hypnosis, music or relaxation techniques.
- Try to get out of the house at least once a day.
- Try to take a few days' break away.
- Do not hesitate to seek professional help if you are finding it difficult.
- Above all, talk, talk, talk over the miscarriage with your partner, friends, etc.
- Be gentle with yourself. It is normal to grieve and feel sad and lonely, to think your partner and other children might die, to feel happy one moment and depressed the next, to feel you are somehow to blame, to be jealous of other pregnant women and women who don't seem to care about their children and to feel life is not fair. The intensity of your emotions will pass. You will get back to a 'new normal'.
- Eventually you may be left with lingering fear, wanting to stay in a safe place and not take risks to avoid emotional pain - retreating into yourself. However, you can also be avoiding the good things too. Pushing yourself to do something does not have to be too ambitious or risky, but it is something you need to make yourself do - a little at a time is fine as is a big splurge - whatever works for you. Otherwise you can miss out on life and take longer to heal and get back to that 'new' normal. You have survived, although you may feel less secure, but that's how life is and you know now that you can cope and take the confidence from that into the future. Although there are often unexpected sadness triggers, it does help to accept that a date coming up will be stressful and take special care of yourself on that day. Perhaps plan something around acknowledging your loss or doing something distracting but also let others know too so that they can support you.