I wish we were sitting in my living room drinking coffee together, and that you could hear me say that you are going to be ok. I also wish there was a magic potion or time warp that would make healing quick and easy. Wouldn’t that be nice? Unfortunately, the only way I’ve found to heal from a hard season is to walk through it, instead of around it.
I am an extremely practical person. After each of my pregnancy losses I knew that I HAD to move forward in a healthy manner. I wanted my heart to be healed and fully functioning, I just didn’t know HOW that was going to happen. While this journey is different for everyone, these are five steps that I believe were critical for me, and I believe that they can help you too.
Practice good self care. While you may be tempted to stay in bed all day and eat a pint of ice cream for dinner, it’s really not going to serve you or your body well (although one or two of these days is normal - just don’t let it become a habit). Keep things simple: drink water, get enough sleep, eat some fruits and veggies and take a walk in the sunshine. These seem so basic, yet in the midst of grief and imbalanced hormones, they can make all the difference.
Talk to someone about your loss. I don’t just mean tell them what happened and how far along you were - tell them all of your thoughts and feelings and your raw emotions. You may have someone in your life that is safe to share these things with, or you may benefit from seeing a trained counselor. I have done both and they were invaluable in the healing process. When seeking out a counselor I always check to make sure their belief system aligns with mine, that I can afford the visits/my insurance is accepted and that they come highly recommended.
Connect with your support system. Tell your friends what has happened, how you are doing and what you need from them. Do you need a weekly coffee date? Do you need them to return baby/maternity items to the store for you? Maybe you need them to check in with you regularly and just ask “how are you doing with the loss of your baby?”. What you need may change as you walk through the stages of grief, so keep communication clear and open. Share this with them on Five Ways to Support a Friend Who Has Had a Miscarriage.
Pray and ask for your heart to be healed. I know that not everyone has the same belief system that I do, but I can with certainty say that THIS made the biggest difference in dealing with the losses of my babies. I firmly believe that God hears our prayers and cares about us - and our hearts cry of sadness about the loss of babies (and any loved one) is one that says “this is not how it is supposed to be”. And you are right. We live in a fallen, broken world where there is death and pain and sickness - but God redeems that both here and forever in Heaven. He is not mad that we are hurting or angry - He is big enough to handle all of our emotions and to help our hearts to heal.
Guard your heart and your mind from triggers that send you down a twisty spiral of despair. This one is a little tricky - but there may be a time where it’s just not reasonable for you to attend a baby shower. Or be on social media. Or visit a friend with a new baby. When I had my third miscarriage I had over fifty friends who I knew were pregnant because they announced it on Facebook. FIFTY. Some of them didn’t really want more children and that was ALL I wanted. So I kept doing work on my heart, and I prayed for them to have healthy babies (this was key in helping with my feelings of jealousy) and I took a break from social media or hid them from my feed. In time I was able to focus more on my excitement for them than my personal loss, but there was a season where I had to step back. I believe clear communication is critical here, as is making sure you aren’t withdrawing and avoiding the heart work I mentioned above.
These things aren’t magic, but they do help. I find that both grief and healing come in waves. There is an ebb and flow to days you feel fine and days you just want to stay in bed and cry. As time passes these days should get to be less and the days where you see the good and can walk forward in wholeness should increase (if not, you should seek the help of a professional immediately). In the meantime, know that while we may be strangers on the internet… I’m rooting for you. I believe that you can do this, and I KNOW that God can heal a broken heart - He’s healed mine countless times.