At one time or another, we all deal with loss in our lives. It is never easy, but it is part of the circle of life. But what happens when the loss has not yet entered the world?
I am talking about a miscarriage. It almost seems like a taboo topic that many women try to avoid talking about. But there is no shame in talking about it, as it is more common than many people think and it can happen to anyone. I know, because it happened to me and many women in my family.
Five years ago, my husband and I were looking forward to the next chapter of our lives as we were planning for a baby. When I got the news that I was pregnant at the end of November 2011, we were thrilled and had to contain our excitement as we wanted to wait a bit before telling our family.
As the weeks went by, I started to feel sick and felt a little off. Without going into the fine details, I miscarried on Christmas Day. This was about five to six weeks into the pregnancy, and we were devastated! We were completely heartbroken and didn't know what to do. The worst part is that no one even knew I was pregnant, so I didn't even know how to proceed with the overwhelming emotions.
As time passed, we managed to tell a few close family members who tried their best to comfort us, which I understand now must have been hard for them. I felt loss, shame, guilt, confusion, hurt, anger and sadness. I didn't understand why it happened to me and started to overthink why it happened. Of course, by doing this, it only made matters worse as I started to feel depressed, which I managed to hide from everyone.
The emotional distress started to make me feel sick all the time and it came to the point that I just couldn't continue like this anymore. I decided that my first step to healing was to talk to people who have experienced the same type of loss, and by doing this it helped me realize that everything I was feeling was normal.
I realized that I shouldn't feel ashamed of what had happened to me, as many women have experienced a miscarriage. I learned it wasn't my fault. I think that was very important for me. I felt that I was to blame and re-played in my head what I should have done differently to prevent it. But the truth is that it couldn't have been prevented, and there was nothing I could do.
Once I started to accept the miscarriage, I started feeling better and started becoming me again. It took some time for me to heal, but the miscarriage will never be forgotten and I think it has made me a stronger person.
Here are a few things that I can suggest to anyone who has experienced a miscarriage and to those who know someone who has. Please note that these are suggestions based on my own personal experience and could be different for someone else. Everyone grieves differently and we need to respect and not judge it.
Talk about it
Talking about the miscarriage is important in the healing process, and if you know someone who has gone through one, they can be a great person to start with. Also don't forget your partner as they may be feeling the same way you are about the loss. If you don't know anyone then I suggest a great network that you can outreach to in Ontario called the Parent and Infant Loss Network. To learn more about them, visit PAILnetwork.ca. I have heard amazing things about them and I wish I knew they existed when it happened to me.
Staying positive is always the hardest thing to do, as we naturally think of all the negative. Find your positive and stick with it. Think positive and positive things will happen!
It's not your fault
A miscarriage is not your fault and there is nothing you can physically do to really prevent it (of course, it is important to eat healthy and stay healthy during the pregnancy). There is no need to replay the moments in your head, as that will only make you feel sick and it won't accomplish anything. Miscarriages happen to many women and studies say that it is more common now since we have the technology to detect pregnancy much earlier than in earlier years.
Important to find things that you love to do and do them. Find activities that help relax you and keep you busy. I found keeping myself busy in a healthy way by doing things I loved made me feel happy and realize what life has to offer.
A loss is a loss
Many people do not know what to say or how to react, especially if they have never experienced a miscarriage. We had a few people who told us that it was just the beginning, so it was nothing. However, that would hurt us more because a loss is a loss. The beginning, the middle or the end makes no difference, as it is still a loss. Don't let people undervalue what you are feeling and know that they are trying to help but are not sure how to. For those in the comforting side, that is what you do -- comfort. Ask the person what you can do to help them in their difficult time and just lend a listening ear.
Fast-forward to today
Three years after our miscarriage, we were successful in getting pregnant again and now we have a 20-month old daughter. They say that good things happen to those that wait, and she was worth the wait! We found the light at the end of the dark tunnel and are very grateful for it!
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