“My mother was relieved, I also didn’t tell her until a few weeks after the miscarriage and she was positive, said it was for the best. I know why she felt that way but it still hurt. Those around me made me feel like I had no right to be upset about this. I’m pretty sure they didn’t mean to, but I was absolutely devastated and I don’t think anyone understood why.”
This week is Baby Loss Awareness Week. In support of this we’re bringing you some useful information on how to heal, support and nourish yourself or others. Dealing with pregnancy loss can be a harrowing and difficult experience, supporting a woman through this difficult time is an important contribution to her journey of healing.
Many women struggle to talk about a miscarriage or baby loss. As woman we are generally socialised to be silent about ‘women’s issues’ for fear of upsetting others or making them feel uncomfortable. A miscarriage, in many cases, leaves a woman in a state of emotional turmoil. Grief is a natural process which is not linear, it is experienced in different ways but supporting a woman who is experiencing this loss can be vital to helping her heal. Many women find that others around them have shared a similar experience of miscarriage and this can be valuable in finding a support system to help them moving forward.
As a friend, family member or colleague you may feel uncomfortable supporting someone through miscarriage or baby loss and it is not uncommon for people to avoid dealing with loss or to wish that a grieving woman would hide her grief. These feelings can be turned into tools for support.
We have compiled a list of some of the ways in which you can support a woman in your life through miscarriage and baby loss.
Pregnancy loss affects each woman differently. For many it is a difficult process of grief and change. Being able to have someone to confide in and talk to can be an invaluable source of support during healing. It may feel difficult to support a friend, family member of colleague through such an experience but it is important to remember that this time is about them. It is important to allow the woman in your life to talk through her experience as many times as she needs to. Miscarriage is a very unique form of grief and loss. Take time to actively listen, try not to interrupt and let her express herself in whatever way her emotions take form.
Where appropriate encourage the woman in your life to talk about how she is feeling. Often we can shut down and keep our emotions to ourselves as we don’t know how to talk about them with others. Encourage her to use whatever forms of communication she needs to help her heal. Paint, sing, shout, bake, build, take a walk in nature or encourage her to take a cleansing and relaxing bath. Do whatever she likes the most even if that involves sitting at home with a hot chocolate and a box of tissues.
Grief can present itself in many physical and emotional ways. Loss of appetite, disturbed sleep, restlessness, nightmares, self isolation, anger are all common behaviours which may be arise. Be mindful to try and encourage her to keep her energy and spirits up. Prepare a hearty soup or some hot meals to last a few days to encourage her to eat and reduce the pressures of everyday life which may be overwhelming for her at the time. Give her a chance to heal from her pain while helping her to nourish her body and maintain good health at a vital time.
Pregnancy loss is a difficult time for everyone involved but particularly for the woman. Allow her to take all the time she needs to regain her strength and begin to move forward from her experience.
Each experience of miscarriage is individual. It is hurtful to say things such as “ it was for the best” or to use clichés like “ everything is part of God’s plan”. Even though this may seem helpful it is often more damaging and can delay a woman’s journey to healing.
Although it may be difficult to know how to support someone through such a turbulent time, ignoring a woman’s loss will not make it go away and can often cause her to feel isolated and alone. It is important to her healing that she feels fully supported, listened to and considered in all aspects.
If you have any tips on how best to support a woman through miscarriage or baby loss share them with the community below to help others know how best to support women in their lives.
If you have experienced miscarriage or baby loss and require some support you can visit the Miscarriage Association for support, information and guidance