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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    How do you recover from a miscarriage?

    My family thinks I should “be over” my miscarriage by now, but I'm still grieving. Is this normal?
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    SANDS (Stillbirth and Neonatal Death Support) is a self-help support group comprised of parents who have experienced the death of a baby through miscarriage, stillbirth, … View Profile

    Often friends and family will be supportive for a period of time but may then expect you to “move on”. But the reality is that parents still grieve for the loss of their pregnancy, the loss of hopes and dreams for their baby they expected. Common feelings may include emptiness, anger and disappointment. Sadness and a sense of isolation may linger. The range and intensity of emotions varies from one person to the next, from day to day, and may last only briefly or for many months, influenced by the meaning of the baby at the particular time in their lives. Partners/ spouses often vary in their reactions and in their ability to support each other.

    Often the need to acknowledge the baby and to grieve for the loss is not recognised by others. Some parents feel confused by the continuing intensity of their feelings. Talking to other parents who have had a similar experience can be helpful. SANDS offers caring and acceptance in an environment where parents can meet with similarly bereaved parents to share their thoughts and feelings, and gain reassurance that their feelings are ‘normal’.

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    Dr Louise Shepherd

    Clinical Psychologist, Psychologist

    I am a clinical psychologist with 15 years experience working with all sorts of goals and issues. I love working with people, helping them to … View Profile

    The answer from SANDS is spot on so not sure how much I could add. 

    I wanted to say I'm very sorry to hear about your miscarriage. I had a miscarriage and found it devastating. I then discovered that once I opened up and spoke to a few friends that many of them had also gone through having a miscarriage and had also found it very difficult. 

    Unfortunately we live in a society that still doesn't talk openly about miscarriages. They are sadly rather common and yet, a bit like period pain and other “female stuff” there are not many avenues to process these experiences with loved ones and friends. 

    For me when I have been through stressful and difficult situations in my life and feel lonely or like “no one knows what this is like” I have reminded myself that the person / people may have no idea what this feels like. I also have no idea what many other life experiences are like unless I truly imagine myself in their shoes. 

    With a couple of close friends of family it might be good to explain how painful it still is and hopefully they will get it. Otherwise find a way to allow your sadness and other feelings….by writing, crying, talking to someone who has been through this experience. 

    If the grief is overwhelming or it has been several months since the miscarriage and you are struggling to get by day to day, i.e. you are feeling very down a lot of the time or very withdrawn from family and friends then I'd suggest that you consider talking to your GP or just simply making an appointment to see a clinical psychologist who can help you process your feelings in a helpful way. 

    Take care :-)

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    Dr Gary Sykes

    Obstetrician

    Dr Gary Sykes is a graduate Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (M.B, B.S.) from Sydney University. He commenced his initial postgraduate training at … View Profile

    It is very hard for others to understand the grief of miscarriage.

    If you had lost a child, then it is likely their reaction would be very different, as there would be something more tangible they can see you are grieving over. Also they may be grieving with you.

    But with a miscarriage you have lost your child and so you are entitled to grieve.

    When I do an ultrasound in early pregnancy and you see at less than 10 weeks pregnancy a baby in utero moving its arms and legs, when you can detect an baby’s heart beating at just over 5 weeks pregnancy (when the baby is just over 3 week) old then it certainly is loss of human life you are grieving

    You need to see an obstetrician who has compassion and who can explain to you the likely cause of your miscarriage. Then appropriate action can be done to help prevent you miscarrying next time. And don’t blame yourself – it is not your fault!

    Even if it was an unplanned pregnancy that you had, I find the emotional trauma is so huge that a woman what’s to try again.

    While you can’t replace the loss the best thing you can do is to conceive again and have a successful pregnancy. To be cuddling a healthy baby will help you move on more than anything else. But you will be very nervous in that next pregnancy and will need a lot of support and TLC especially in early pregnancy.

    I hope all goes well

    Check out my web site at http://www.obstetricexcellence.com.au/questions-and-answers/miscarriage
     

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    Pamela Hoy

    Counsellor, Hypnotherapist

    Offering both Hypnotherapy and Counselling for my clients is a double opportunity to change unwanted feelings, thoughts, behaviours and reactions. Accessing both the conscious and … View Profile

    I can relate to how difficult coping with your miscarriage may be for you.   I suffered 2 miscarriages and a premature baby who did not survive.  The range of emotions you are possibly feeling may vary from one moment to another and the degree of these emotions also vary.  People who care about you may be concerned for your welfare, but it is not appropriate for them to assume you have had “enough time to be over it”.  The love you felt for your baby doesn`t just evaporate after a miscarriage or within a set period of time.  This is different for each woman.  You are entitled to have as much time as you need to process your thoughts and feelings. You will find you become aware it has been a little longer since you thought of the baby in a sad manner.  You may laugh and then feel guilty that happiness is surfacing back into your life.  This process is natural and once again allow it to run it`s course.  Cry when you need to, laugh when you`re ready and be kind to yourself. If you know of any one who has miscarried, you may find it helpful to talk to them about their experience. Speak with your GP, your specialist or a counsellor who specialises in Pregnancy Loss.  Some hospitals offer support groups to assist with the grieving process, or search the internet when the time is right for you to see if there is any local support group set up in your area.  If not, you may consider organising a group. The planting of a tree in memory of your baby, or having a ceremony of rememberance and farewell is often helpful.  Whatever you feel may help you is a good idea. Care for yourself by giving the gift of time, begin a new project or activity.  Consider the positives in your life and perhaps take a relaxation course or begin yoga.  I wish you all best   Pam.

  • Bruni (Brunhilde) Brewin

    Counsellor, Hypnotherapist

    Bruni Brewin is President Emeritus of The Australian Hypnotherapists’ Association (AHA), the oldest and largest National Registration Body for hypnotherapists in Australia founded in 1949, … View Profile

    What is lovely is to read in the above posts and the empathy of the responses. 

    Whilst myself I have never gone through this event, a family member had two miscarriages before having two lovely children in the years that followed.  But like you, she needed to go through the grieving process which is a very personal thing to you alone.

    If family did tell you that it is time for you to move on, remember that they did not go through this event - you did.  So when they (the family) want you to get on with life, I would imagine it is out of love for wanting to see you happy once more and not meant to be unkind.

    Many different traumas can effect a persons life, and each has its own length of time to be able to move on in life depending on the understanding we have of the event or events and how we think about life in general.

    How do you recover from a miscarriage?  We cannot change the past, we cannot live in the future (only plan for it), and all we can ever do is to live in the 'now'.  So what do you want to do?  There is no magic wand, but there are caring therapists with the training and expertise that would help you to release the feelings and emotions from this event.

    Do you need to release the sadness, tightness in your chest, your throat, the tears you are holding behind your eyes?  Are there feelings of anger, guilt and helplessness.  Are you ready to do this? 

    As a trauma and pain management therapist in the past,  and I am sure many other therapists on this forum can help you do this through hypnotherapy and/or things like using Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), a simplified version of Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR), Gestalt Therapy or Traumatic Incident Reduction (TIR) and many other techniques.

    Sometimes we need a helping hand and if you feel that need, know that there are people wanting to help you when you are ready.

     

     

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