How can we cope after such a tragic loss? Losing a child is an indescribable loss that brings a heavy grief with it. So how can we cope?
My unborn baby would be 19 weeks right now. In just a few short weeks, I would be finding out the gender. (We think of our baby as a boy because of a dream I had while pregnant.) Travis and I already had a theme and plan for a gender reveal party. There’s not a day that has gone by where I haven’t thought about our baby. I still miss him.
In these past two months, although I have still felt pain and grief, I can feel myself learning to cope. I can feel healing slowly happening. I have had so many people find my blog due to my posts about miscarriage. It breaks my heart that others are experiencing this type of loss. Because of those people, I wanted to share ways to cope — things I have done in helping myself heal.
12 Ways to Cope
Perhaps you need a weekend getaway or a day to go to your favorite place just to reflect. Give yourself a place to reflect individually and together with your spouse. Maybe you just need to stand by the ocean or breathe in fresh air in the mountains. Maybe your favorite place is just down the road. Spend time there alone or with your spouse.
A lot of people are able to grieve and heal through writing. Start writing your feelings and thoughts in a journal. Write your prayers. You can even blog about your experience like I have.
Music can be so healing, and I was surprised to find so many great songs that have helped my heart begin to heal. I compiled a list of those songs to share with you. You can read my Healing Playlist for song ideas to add to your own playlist. I listened to these songs whenever I was feeling the weight of my loss.
Many women have talked about how much it helped them to name their baby (if they hadn’t already) and do something to memorialize the baby. Travis and I had began calling our baby Little Dumplin, so we decided to stick with that name since we didn’t know the gender. It really broke my heart knowing my baby would never have a proper funeral, so as a way to find closure Travis and I had our own special memorial. We set floating lanterns off into the sky in memory of the baby we lost. You can read other ideas for Remembering Lost Babies.
For some, they would rather hold in their thoughts and feelings. But this really isn’t healthy. To grieve and eventually move forward, we need to be able to talk about what’s happened and how we are surviving. Talk to your spouse, talk to a friend (definitely recommend talking to someone who has been through it), or talk to a counselor. I talked with my husband, some close family, and a Christian counselor. I found the most comfort when talking to a family member who has also had a miscarriage because I knew she understood my feelings.
After my miscarriage, my faith had been rocked hard. I have so many questions. I wish I could sit down with God and demand some answers. One thing that really helped me during my counseling session was when my counselor told me it is completely acceptable to question God. She said, “He’s big enough to handle any of our questions or doubts.” Allow yourself space to question. It’s even OK to be mad at God.
If you can’t find someone to talk to or you just want to find people who get it and have been there, join a support group. There are online support groups, but there may also be local support groups in your area.
For me, reading other women’s stories about their experiences with miscarriage comforted me. Of course I was so very sorry and sad for their loss, but it helped me see I was not alone in my thoughts and feelings. With major hormone changes and full-on grief on top of that, there were definitely a few times I felt like I was crazy. Then I would read someone else’s experiences and see that they felt the same way. There are also several books out there about miscarriage.
One thing I have really found to be helpful in coping with my miscarriage is creating a Pinterest board where I can collect quotes, images, and articles specifically about miscarriage, loss, and grief. When I need to, I can go back and reread posts or quotes. Finding these pins has been another way I have felt like I’m not alone in this. You can take a look at my Miscarriage Pinterest board. You can also make a secret board if you don’t want all your followers to see what you’re pinning.
It’s important to take time to yourself. If you need to take a day off of work, then do so. Whether it’s to spend a day in your jammies munching on junk food and watching reality TV or if it’s to have yourself a spa day — whatever you need, give yourself the chance to do that. I spent one night relaxing in a hot bath with a good book. I even bought myself a new sugar scrub and used a face mask.
It can be easy to feel weighted down and stuck in the midst of your grief, especially if you are a stay-at-home mom or wife. Don’t stay in all day. If weather permits, get outside and go for a walk. Take the kids to a park. Even just go sit outside in your yard for awhile. The Vitamin D, otherwise known as sunshine, is really good for you. It can be an instant mood lifter and definitely can help you get out of your fog.
Another way to get out of a fog — which is easy to fall into in the midst of grief — is to get active. You can work out at the gym, go for a walk, go swimming, or whatever physical activity you enjoy. I tried yoga for the first time, and I found out I really like it. In fact, I found a “Holy Yoga” class in my area. They play worship music through the class, and the instructor even reads scripture to us during the poses. It was exactly what I needed for getting active.
What have you used to cope after a loss?
If you are experiencing a miscarriage, you can order my eBook Miscarriage & Mourning: Encouragement after Pregnancy Loss.
You may also want to read:
- When We Lost Our Baby Twice: Our Miscarriage Story
- What I Didn’t Know About Miscarriage … Until I Had One
- Ramblings of a Grieving Woman: Why I Write About Miscarriage