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Friday Five: Five Ways to Start Healing After Miscarriage

While miscarriage is common, the experience is uniquely and painfully personal. Similarly, the grieving process takes many forms and there is no right or wrong way to grieve. When I miscarried in 2019, there were a few things that eased my grief and helped me look forward. I hope these resonate with you as well.

Write it out.

Even if you’re not a writer and your leather-bound journal has long been abandoned, putting pen to paper is an excellent way to pour out all your emotions. Write without editing, write without a requirement to show it to anyone, and write without any expectations except to express how you feel. Even if you have great support, but especially if you don’t, there’s something about the feel of a pen on paper as you scribble your inner-most thoughts that makes you slow down, analyze, and process. For me, writing became therapeutic after my loss, and actually led to my first published picture book, “Dear Rainbow Baby.” Without knowing if or when we would get pregnant again, I penned this letter to a rainbow baby. It truly brought warmth and hope to my heart, as I hope it does yours.

Take the time.

One of the hardest parts about miscarrying is that it can be hard for others to understand why it is so devastating, or why you need to grieve. What they don’t realize is, while you may not have memories of your baby outside the womb, what miscarriage takes away from us is: potential. Whether we mean to or not, it’s hard not to envision holding your baby’s hand for the first time, kissing their forehead, or taking them to their first day of kindergarten. It is the fact that these potential moments are now lost that make miscarriage so upsetting. My advice is to take the time you need to grieve, even if you don’t think you need it. Even if others don’t understand. Even if it means time off from work, or time away from school. Time can heal, if you give it a chance, but it must have a chance.

Close the chapter.

With other losses, there is a finality involved when a coffin is lowered into the ground, or ashes are released into the earth. With miscarriage, that closure is harder to come by. I encourage you to memorialize your loss in some way. For me, I bought a little photo frame from a craft store. On one side of the frame, I typed up the baby’s name and the dates of her life, and on the other, I placed her first and only ultrasound picture. While it wasn’t an official ceremony, putting it together and being able to look at it (and put it away) when needed was a helpful way to close the chapter in my mind.

Find your support system.

Whether this means or family, friends, internet strangers, a therapist, or an organized support group, speaking with others who have experienced miscarriage can help you feel less alone. While you know logically that 20-25% of pregnancies end in miscarriage, coming face to face with another person who also went through it can lend you perspective and support for everything you’re going through.

Respect your process.

Your grieving process is yours and yours alone. Comparing your process to someone else’s is as unhelpful as it is damaging. There may be moments when you’re fine, and then moments when you’re not. Your grief may surprise you in the moments it shows up. Your grief may be triggered by a TV show or movie. If social media sends you into a downward spiral, make boundaries to protect yourself. Please, be gentle with yourself and respect your grieving process.
If you’re reading this and made it this far, I hope these tips were helpful for you. I am sorry you are going through this.
You do not have to do it alone.
Here are a few organizations you can reach out to for help, resources, and support:
Pregnancy After Loss Support
Miscarriage Association U.K.
The Colette Louise Tisdahl Foundation
Through the Heart

Meet Samantha Gassman

Sam (Samantha if she's in trouble) is a British-born, U.S. Air Force veteran and military spouse, and mom to two kids. She is the author of DEAR RAINBOW BABY (Clear Fork, Aug 22, 2022) and the upcoming PEANUT AND BUTTER CUP (Clear Fork, 2024). She is represented by Erica Christensen from the Metamorphosis Literary Agency. When she's not working, writing, or sleeping, Sam can be found spending time with her amazing family. They enjoy hiking, traveling, and snacking (mostly Teddy Grahams, but Goldfish are acceptable too).

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