How to survive a miscarriage – recommendations from a psychologist
Positive thoughts, emotions and good mood play an incredibly important role in our life, health and well-being. Loss of the desired pregnancy is a real tragedy in every woman’s life. She experiences this loss on four levels - hormonal, mental, emotional and social, because her body is created as the cradle of a new life. Moreover, if it repeats more than once or twice, even the strongest person can give up. In a situation like this, the most important thing is not to lose hope and belief in your own abilities, to move on and not to fight all alone with this misfortune.
Close friends and relatives can help a woman to overcome her grief. However, their assistance can be effective only in case they are aware of the basics of psychological support in such situations.
How to help overcome pregnancy loss: tips for friends and relatives
If someone of your relatives or friends has experienced a pregnancy loss, you can support them with the words: “You are not alone. I am very sorry this happened. How can I help?” Try to help a woman acknowledge her right to grieve - this is the first small step towards full recovery.
Overcoming a grief has its way. It can consist of 5 stages of overcoming a psycho-traumatic situation:
1. Negation. "No! It cannot be real! "
2. Anger. "I hate everything and everyone!"
3. Search for reasons. "Why? Who is guilty? Why me?"
4. Apathy. Depression. "I don’t want anything ... I have no strength left ..."
5. Acceptance. “I can't change anything in the past. But I still have a present and a future”.
The progress of the state has individual duration and intensity in each case. A person, depending on individual characteristics, can skip several stages or get stuck on one thing, go back to something and move forward again. The main purpose of getting out of a traumatic situation consists of reality acceptance and self-tapering of living with this new experience of grief. Why is it important to accept and outlive these emotions? Because this will help you to let them go in the future.
Dealing with destructive thoughts and feelings
Destructive thoughts and feelings that woman may experience after miscarriage can be directed both towards herself and to those around her. Concerning oneself, she may suffer from feelings of guilt, of inadequate, of being broken, devastated, pathetic and even dirty. Regarding the others, she may develop a complex of self-reduction, a false impression of condemnation from others, lack of sympathy and understanding.
To overcome this state it is necessary:
• to chat with friends and family members;
• to express the emotions and feelings through painting, poetry, writing, keeping diaries;
• to make a group of support whom you can trust (these can be close friends, relatives, professional psychologists).
It is very important not to ignore these emotions and not to hide them from yourself, namely, to outlive them and let them go. Be patient, give yourself as much time as you need.
When do you need help from a psychologist
If the condition does not change, and you feel that your emotions are moving in a closed circle, while depression and indifference increase, keep in mind that this may be a sign of the formation of a psychological complication, known as the syndrome of complicated grief. The main symptoms are: anxiety, stupor, fear of children or obsession with another child, similar memories, nightmares. Like any complication, this syndrome requires the immediate help of specialists. A psychologist or psychotherapist can quickly help you break the vicious circle and find a constructive way out of this situation.
Symptoms of behavioral deviation after pregnancy loss
Deviation usually begins as a defense reaction to very strong emotions in the form of masking or denying grief and loss. It may occur daily or periodically. Exacerbations may be caused by certain dates (anniversary of miscarriage, planned date of birth, etc.).
The main symptoms of deviation are:
• continuous baseless anxiety;
• eating disorders (fasting or constant overeating);
• rejection of marital relations and communication with relatives;
• addiction formation (games, drugs, alcohol, etc.);
• work addiction or any phobia;
• sexual dysfunction or violent relationships.
All of these conditions are associated with a complicated experience of loss and require professional help. Do not give up!
What is important to know after miscarriage
To avoid the complications associated with pregnancy loss and to continue to live with the belief that everything will be fine, it is very important to understand the following: the possibility of full recovery is as real as the fact of loss. In the grief itself, there is a potential for recovery. There is no predictable loss experience. Every person is unhappy in his own way. Predictable only the availability of output and constructive solutions.
Even very close and empathic relatives or friends are not always capable of providing an adequate support. You need to understand this and contact the experts timely.
General recommendations of a psychologist
In any situation, it is better to except the reality and let your emotions out. If a woman survives a traumatic situation alone, then she needs to speak out about it, record thoughts in a diary, on a dictaphone. After the recording, it is important to review the record for several times and, if she decides that everything has been said, to destroy it. She can write a few symbolic letters and talk about current feelings and experiences. The purpose of these activities is to release the pain and alleviate the suffering.
If there is a close circle of people that helps to survive the loss, it is necessary to speak through all the memories associated with the circumstances of the incident (from the moment when you decided to have a baby or learned about pregnancy until the very fact of loss). If you doubt exactly who you can trust, the ideal solution would be to contact a specialist.
The help of a psychologist is necessary if:
• the period lasts for more than 3-4 weeks;
• there is no trustee with whom you could speak about all the stages of the situation;
• there is a feeling that the grief is long and there is no way out;
• there is a feeling that you cannot cope with the problem yourself;
• there are signs of destructive behavior;
• there is a need for support and understanding.
Your main goal is not just to survive the loss, but to fully restore the resources for future life and new projects. Everyone experiences grief in his own way, at his own pace. But most importantly is to always feel supported. Believe in the best - and you will succeed!