Although there have been more conversations lately about matters relating to fertility, the topic of miscarriage still feels taboo for many and can be one of the most isolating experiences birthing people can experience. A miscarriage occurs when a pregnancy is lost in the 1st trimester. That is, a baby does not survive past the 12th week of pregnancy. In every 100 pregnancies, about 10 to 20 will not survive according to Mayo clinic . It can be caused by health issues from the birthing parent or genetic anomalies in the baby. If this has occurred to you, you are not alone and it is not your fault!
How to Communicate Emotions After a Miscarriage
Talking about feelings can be a very tough aspect of communication. Add on complications like pregnancy loss and you may want the earth to open up and swallow you whole. However, there are some ways to get around this and my hope is that by the time you finish reading this, you will have some clarity about how to share your feelings after a miscarriage.
- Write it down: Communicating feelings don’t always have to be verbal. Journaling is a great tool for pouring out your emotions. There is something powerful about getting into the flow of words from mind to pen and paper. If journaling is not your thing, you can also find a creative outlet like painting to pour out your emotions. The goal is to put the feelings down on something outside your mind so you’re not carrying it all in there.
- Use “I” statements: Remember this is about you. Your words do not have to be perfectly put together or consist of full sentences. Using “I” statements gives you the opportunity to focus on yourself and lets others know how this has impacted you. It also gives you the chance to focus on what you need so you can communicate that to your support system. It can sound like: “I feel numb and I don’t know when that feeling will go away…I am scared this will happen again….I need you to hold me.” This is especially helpful in situations where there is a partner or spouse involved who may be trying to navigate their own feelings at the same time.
- Bring up your emotions with people you trust: You may experience feelings of shock, grief, numbness or anger or you may not know you are feeling at all. This can be a very delicate time for you so you have to be intentional about who you communicate your feelings with. It is helpful to have people who can listen and empathize with you. If you feel you don’t have anyone you trust in your life, a therapist can fill that space for you. A therapist can also help you put words to the feelings you may be having.
Timing is everything. If you find yourself struggling to find words soon after suffering a miscarriage, that may not be the time to try to communicate your feelings. It is important to give yourself grace until you are able to gather your thoughts. Take a moment with yourself and a deep breath to allow yourself to settle into your feelings. Then ask yourself, “What am I feeling right now?”
About the author: Phebe Brako-Owusu is a Washington based Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (Licensed in WA & DC). Her personal experiences with infertility and miscarriage have made her passionate about supporting clients who are experiencing similar struggles. She is also an immigrant from Ghana who supports immigrants as they build a home away from home. She works with adults, families and couples. She is the founder and CEO of 253 Therapy and Consult, a group practice offering both telehealth and in-person services in University Place, WA. Learn more about Phebe and see more of her work on her Frame profile.