First of all, Mama, I am so sorry that you are having to go through this. My heart goes out to you and all that you are going through. Hopefully this will help you know what to expect in the days, weeks, and even months to come.
What to expect after a miscarriage
To be honest, every experience is different, and it can vary greatly on the amount of support you have, the kind of support you have, if you already have kids, and how far along you were.
Miscarriage before kids
I have, unfortunately, experienced two miscarriages. My first was when I was 30 and I didn’t have any kids yet. I was 11 weeks and we were over the moon excited to become parents. It was something that I wanted for many years. Then one morning I woke up with a start and felt like I wet myself. That was the beginning. I did go to the hospital where I was checked out but did not need a DNC.
We had the full support of family, friends, and community members. I was able to grieve freely and fully with my husband. It hurt physically and emotionally. I couldn’t muster the energy to do much of anything after I got home from work. I cried. A lot. It was what I needed.
Miscarriage after kids
Experiencing a miscarriage with kids at home is different in the way that you have duties you still have to perform. My second miscarriage was just this last April and I was 7 weeks. You can read more about it here. When you have a miscarriage and you have kids at home, you still have to be mom and get supper on the table, even if it is cereal. That is completely okay and we will discuss this more later. We were so early in our pregnancy that we hadn’t told anyone. So I suffered in silence. My husband, who is absolutely amazing, was my rock and helped me a lot. In some ways, this miscarriage was harder because I still had to be ‘Mom’ and because of our fears surrounding another pregnancy.
So what should I expect now?
This is maybe the most important answer I can give you; Don’t expect anything of yourself! You may be saying, “Whaaaat?!” right about now, but bear with me. I’ll explain.
When you experience a miscarriage, you may have been told how you should act, feel, and even how quickly you should recover. You might have people tell you what timeline you should be on. But I want you to know that you don’t have to do squat! You only have to do what helps YOU the most.
- It is okay to mourn the baby that was growing inside you, no matter how many weeks you were.
- It is okay to serve every meal on paper plates. I bought the GIGANTIC packs of paper Plates from Sam’s Club and we ate off of those for months before I felt I had my shit together enough to keep up on all of the dishes.
- It is okay to leave the pans in the sink. Mine only got done when I needed that particular pan for cooking.
- It is okay if the house isn’t clean. I have a Shark robot vacuum that helped keep the floors clean but I feel like that is all that got done regularly.
- It is okay to snuggle on the couch, hold your kids (or furbabies) a little longer, and binge watch Supernatural.
My point is, it is okay to do what you need to do most, and if that includes doing nothing, then so be it.
When can I expect it to get better?
Oh gosh… There is not a single good answer for this. All I can offer is my experience.
When I had my first miscarriage, it was devastating. I couldn’t understand why I wasn’t allowed to have and raise that beautiful baby. But I did know that it wasn’t going to be the end of my journey to becoming a mom. I knew my husband and I would try again, and God willing, have a safe, uneventful pregnancy and delivery. I knew deep down I would be a mom to a living, breathing baby. I spent a good month crying, and probably another month before I felt more like my old self. But I had something to look forward to. I knew I was going to be okay.
My second miscarriage took longer, and I still feel a bit like I haven’t quite gotten all the way back. I think it has had a lot to do with not knowing. Not knowing if we are going to try again. Not knowing if our family is complete. Not knowing if I am ready to chance another miscarriage. I had a very difficult time processing everything and developed some mild depression. We are almost at the end of August, a full 4 months since I miscarried and the first 3 were hell.
So, no I don’t know when you can expect it to get better, but I do know that you will. These feelings don’t last forever. You will begin to smile again, and not just a generic smile, but an honest, heartfelt smile. You will begin to laugh again. To find joy in the things you used to.
Will I forget about my baby(ies)?
No, you will not. It might feel like you are betraying your baby if you start to feel happiness again. If you start to think about trying to have another baby. Or if you decided not to try again. All of these are normal, but I can assure you that you are not betraying your baby and you will not forget about your sweet child that is in heaven. You will think of your baby often. You will remember their due date, and you might even remember the day you lost them. You can do something special to remember them by.
Every March 21st, which would have been our first baby’s due date, I take some time during the day to say a prayer. To thank God for giving me the opportunity to be his/her mom for the little bit of time that I was and say how much I love my baby. My due date has not yet come for my second baby, but I will likely do the same. It is what makes my heart feel at peace. Some other moms I know light paper lanterns every year, buy a bouquet of flowers, or take the day off. It is up to you how you choose to remember your baby.
What can I do to help myself the most?
I can’t say what is right for you but I can tell you what has helped me and some other moms that have gone through this too.
- Seek medical help if you are having feelings of depression or coping with drugs and/or alcohol. I saw my regular doctor in June when I still wasn’t able to work through my sadness. I wasn’t put on antidepressant medication but it did help talking to her and having her aware of my situation. If you are using drugs or alcohol to help you cope, please contact your healthcare provider to help you find healthier ways to cope and process your loss or contact the National Helpline here or call 1-800-662-HELP(4357)).
- Take your time. You do not have a set time to “get over it,” because you will never truly be “over it.” It may only take you a few weeks, and it may take months. The time frame is no one else’s but yours.
- Talk to someone. Whether it is a friend, your spouse, your mom, or your doctor, talk to someone about what you are feeling. You don’t have to shout it from the rooftop if you don’t want to, but find someone you trust to talk to.
- Drink plenty of water. Sounds silly, I know, but staying hydrated can actually be pretty hard when you aren’t feeling your best. Keep a good water bottle with you as much as you can. I had to set reminders on my phone to tell me to drink. I wasn’t fully hydrated but it did help keep me from becoming dehydrated. When plain water was too daunting I used these Power Paks to help my hydration and give it some flavor.
- Order take out, use freezer meals, crock pot, or Instant Pot if you need to make something easier, make meal time as easy as it can be.
- Or, if you enjoy cooking, find new recipes to try.
- Go for walks or exercise. This was so hard for me both times. I didn’t have the energy to get myself to do much of anything, but once I did start feeling a little better, going for walks helped me a lot. It helped me have time with my thoughts and clear my head a bit.
- Find one thing that you enjoy and spend some time each day doing just that. After my last miscarriage I didn’t have the energy or headspace to do anything complicated. I did, however, read. I spent some time, usually in the evenings after the kids were in bed, to read. When I knew I’d have a busy night, I spent some time in the morning reading while the kids watched TV.
- Don’t be hard on yourself. Easier said than done, I know, but right now it is so important that you give yourself grace. You don’t have to be perfect, and you shouldn’t expect perfection even in the best of times. It’s okay if the kids watch a little more TV or have a little more screen time than usual. It is okay if cereal is all you can muster for supper. You are still providing for your family while taking care of yourself. IT IS OKAY TO NOT BE PERFECT! (And my kids LOVE it when they get to have cereal for supper. It is out of the norm and fun for them.)
Life as we know it
Life as we know it has changed. This little baby has changed you forever and you now have a piece of your heart in heaven. Our world stops turning, to some degree, for a little while, while we process all that has happened and how we feel about it. The good news is that your world will start turning again. Things will bring you joy again, and you will be happy again.
We don’t have to fit into someone else’s idea of what is right or wrong for us, we just have to take the best care possible of ourselves to help us cope.
If you choose to try again, I sincerely pray for a beautiful Rainbow baby for you. If you are on the fence, no pressure to decide right away. Take your time. You and your partner listen to each other, and listen to your heart. If you have decided you don’t want to try again, that is okay too! Only you know what is best for you and your family and to hell with the rest that think they know better.
To you, dear Mama, that is going through this extremely difficult time, I see you, I love you, and I am sending the biggest virtual hug. I hope this has helped you in some way and given you hope that things will get better, in due time.
If you know someone who has experienced a miscarriage, I hope this has helped you understand what they are going through, just a little bit.
Please share this with someone who can benefit from my experience and send me a message or comment below if this has helped you.