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Twelve years ago this month I suffered the miscarriage of my second pregnancy. I was 13 weeks into the pregnancy and feeling pretty confident as I moved into the second trimester. My morning sickness (and a few other symptoms) had begun to diminish and I was ready to enjoy the next phase of the pregnancy.
On the morning before my 13 week appointment, I noticed spotting. An ultrasound performed later that day revealed that my baby had stopped growing about three weeks earlier and that the pregnancy was ending. (I’ll write my miscarriage story at another time because today I feel it’s more important to focus on the things I did to cope with my miscarriage.)
In the difficult days after my miscarriage, I did three things that helped me to deal with the grief of losing my unborn child. More than anything else, I feel that these three things helped me to honor and to create a memory of the dear life I carried and to express my grief in a positive way.
1. Make a scrapbook
When I lost my baby, I received many cards and flowers from loving friends and family. The cards and flowers meant more to me than anything because they respected my private and introverted nature and allowed me to grieve without having to field well-meaning visitors. I read the beautiful words from those who cared about me and my family and they helped to keep me calm.
A couple of weeks after the miscarriage, when the cards, flowers and visits stopped and I was left alone with my grief, I spent my evenings turning those cards, dried petals from the flowers, meaningful songs and poems, and pages from my pregnancy journal into a lovely scrapbook.
I still take the scrapbook out once or so each year and remember. My oldest son was interested in seeing it recently and I was able to tell him about the miscarriage for the first time (he was only a year old when it happened) and share with him how much I valued our time together while I worked through the grief.
2. Name the baby
About a year after my miscarriage, I decided to give my miscarried baby a name. I felt that I was carrying a girl, though the embryo was not developed enough to be certain. I chose the name Sera Malia (Sera, meaning winged angel and Malia, meaning peaceful).
Respecting the life I carried with a name that meant something special to me was an important part of working through the grieving process. Naming my miscarried baby helped me to move past the cold, medical reality of a lost embryo and to give honor to the very planned and wanted pregnancy and baby.
3. Get Creative
In the months after my miscarriage I found much solace in writing poems and making music. Writing and music are my preferred forms of creativity, but you may find that dancing, painting or doing some other form of creative expression helps you to cope with the loss endured from a miscarriage.
Be careful not to force the process. The weight of the grief may complete sap all of your creativity. Give it time. When you are ready, your creativity will return. When it does return you may find that giving life to some form of art will help to provide the emotional healing that you need.