By Aly Nugent, who shares from her experience what helped her cope with pregnancy loss.
“And once the storm is over, you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm is all about.” – Haruki Murakami
Weathering the storm of pregnancy loss
It’s so crazy how one minute you can have something, feel completely in control, and start making plans for the future, and the next minute it’s gone forever. That’s what storms do; they come in uninvited and then proceed to destroy everything in their paths until there’s nothing left but emptiness, heartbreak, and the question of how to move forward. Pregnancy loss is a storm like no other. Nobody seems to talk about it, and nobody wants to hear about it either.
No pretty little bow
That’s why it’s no surprise that most stories surrounding pregnancy loss are told after the storm is over–after there’s a happy ending, or a “pretty little bow” to tie it all up. But, that’s not where I am. I’m still weathering the storm. In the midst of it; not knowing what’s to come. I am the 1 in 4, and I am also the 1 in 100. A back-to-back miscarriage survivor.
My story starts with a glowing, uncomplicated first pregnancy with my son. So naturally, going into our second pregnancy, I thought it would be the same. Easy-Peasy. Little did I know what I was gearing up for.
In the last year, I have been pregnant twice. Both pregnancies have resulted in second-trimester loss.
From going into labor and delivering on my bathroom floor at 14 weeks–literally holding death in my hands–to gaining renewed hope, with the promise of a “rainbow baby.” Only to find out, at the 20-week anatomy scan, that he no longer had a heartbeat. This time, with no preceding signs or symptoms. The powerlessness, the distrust in my body, the bliss and innocence of pregnancy gone. Forever.
This month holds two major reminders of the storms I’ve endured in the last year: the due date of my second loss, and the anniversary of my first. October 15 also happens to be International Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day, a day that I didn’t previously know existed.
In the midst of this storm, I have learned to hang onto hope. I believe that after all this destruction and turmoil, a clear path will present itself. I believe we will make it to the end, look back, and be presented with the rainbow that we have been longing for. Here are some strategies I’ve used while weathering the storm of pregnancy loss. I hope they help you cope with pregnancy loss.
Surround Yourself with Loved Ones
The days following a miscarriage are emotionally and physically draining. Having somebody there to care for you, hold you while you cry, listen to you and be vulnerable with you is extremely important. Give yourself permission to grieve in your own way. It’s okay to be sad, angry or feel out of control. In this fog of hormones and grief, it helps to have somebody there, caring for you and holding space for you.
Steer Clear of Dr. Google
When the shock of what happened starts to subside, it is human nature to want to find out why. Trust your professional to help you seek these answers. Sometimes, there will be no answers. But know that this is NOT YOUR FAULT. If you do not have a good relationship with your medical provider, don’t be afraid to start looking elsewhere. I had to change providers after my first loss and I’m so grateful that I did, and for the help I am currently receiving.
Practice Self Care
Grief comes and goes in waves and it is extremely exhausting. Find things that rejuvenate you, whether it is a massage, exercise, yoga, going for a walk. Making time and taking care of yourself physically and emotionally should be your top priority while you cope with pregnancy loss.
Find a Supportive Community
Nobody asks or wants to be part of this club, and finding a community that you can connect with and grieve with helps. Whether it be a support group, an online platform, a blog, or a friend, there is power in the act of grieving together and helping one another through this journey.
Create an Outlet
What helps channel your feelings? Maybe it’s art, music, or faith. For me, it was creating a personal blog and sharing my story. Expressing my grief through writing has helped me process my losses. It has helped me connect with people, and it has given me a sense of power in helping others. Find your passion and use it to propel you forward.
Please know that you are not alone and this is NOT your fault. And continue to find the joy—it does co-exist with the pain, even as you navigate your way through the storm.
Aly Nugent is a mom of one earthside and two angel babies. She is a teacher who lives in Lake Tahoe with her husband, Kris, their son, Gavin, and Australian Cattle Dog, Hopper. She is a rookie blogger, using her words to break the silence around the stigma of miscarriage, cope with grief and navigate life after loss. Read more of Aly’s story on her website: https://onwardsteps.wordpress.com/.