Miscarriage & Moving On

Written by Gemma Chatzipanagiotis for Natural Parent Magazine.

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The subject of miscarriage struggles to find a place in society. Cloaked in mystery and privacy it is a topic we seem reluctant to acknowledge. The commonest complication of pregnancy. The estimated UK miscarriage rate is 250,000 each year. Doctors believe that roughly, 50% of all conceptions never make it to a pregnancy test, and once there is a positive test 15-20% of those miscarry before 12 weeks.

Why then does this topic carry such a taboo? Miscarriage is a medical term for the loss of a foetus before 23 weeks. A minority are able to see this as a “blip” and move on. For others the effects can be life changing, with feeling of loss, guilt and blame, they can have far-reaching implications on a person’s wellbeing.

Miscarriage is a medical term for the loss of a foetus before 23 weeks. A minority are able to see this as a “blip” and move on. For others the effects can be life changing…

Faced with a painful and emotional situation woman must also comprehend the medical terminology that goes along with this experience which can be terrifying and deeply damaging. Product of Conception (POC) was used to detail my first miscarriage to me.

As humans, we are designed to look for cause and effect. The desire to find a reason, an explanation. In the case of miscarriage there is often no reason found. Perhaps the greatest struggle that woman face is finding themselves in this vacuum. With medicine drawing a blank, maybe we then look to ourselves as morally culpable to balance this disparity.

I would like to share the five pieces of advice below that I have learned during my experience of miscarriage. I hope that someone, somewhere, relates to them and that they help you, even a little.

Self-care

The physicality of miscarriage is something as silenced as the topic itself. Miscarrying is a physically painful experience, which can last over a period of weeks, causing abdominal cramps, heavy bleeding and in many cases hospital admissions. It is important to let your body heal and rest. Letting your body physically adjust and recover from the trauma it has been through.

Grieve

A pregnancy loss at any stage is still that: a loss. Allow yourself and your partner time to acknowledge and grieve this loss. Feelings of undeserved mourning are only negative and untrue. Give in to the grief to be able to heal.

Speak

Miscarriage is known as the loneliest grief. Speak to your partner, extended family, and friends. Females may own the physical side of miscarriage, but your partner is experiencing the same loss and disappointment that you are. Friends may feel unsure of what to say and what terminology to use “pregnancy” vs “baby”, but push past this and rest your head on any available shoulder.

Let the little comments go

People may say things, unthinking, and not designed to hurt. Try to let these comments wash over you. I carried one midwife’s clumsy sentence “I’m sorry it isn’t the news you were hoping for” with me for a long time. Festering and a burden, do not allow any anger to consume you; let it go.

Moving On

It is important to gain a sense of closure as you recover. Moving forward without this can be as damaging as the experience itself.

Miscarriage fundamentally changed who I am. My physical, emotional and mental health were all deeply affected. I am now choosing to let my experiences empower me to help others. To let you know that you will be OK.

I think of “them “every day and yes, sometimes I cry. Yet I have achieved what I hope you do too.

Acceptance.