This article originally appeared at The Mighty on January 28, 2016.
1 in 4 women will experience a miscarriage. Most commonly, miscarriage occurs in the first trimester; however, miscarriage can occur up to 20 weeks. After 20 weeks, a pregnancy loss is called a stillbirth, which occurs in 1 in 160 pregnancies. Women are often left to navigate their miscarriage on their own or with minimal support. Here are 18 points to consider during your miscarriage.
- I need to decide on my plan for my miscarriage. It is okay no matter what I choose because I have researched my options and trust my intuition. I know what is right for my body, for me mentally, and for my family.
- Researching my options is important. I can read about miscarriage options or download the Miscarriage App. I realize that I don’t know everything there is about miscarriage and my care provider may not be aware of all the options available to me.
- I should discuss this plan with my partner and family (if age appropriate). I know that checking in with them is important so they can share what may be important to them during this difficult time.
- I should seek spiritual/religious guidance; just to be sure I have taken care of any spiritual/religious needs or requirements of which I am not aware.
- I will need a plan for my baby’s body. No matter how early this pregnancy was, I still need to decide what I want to do with their body or remains. It’s okay to flush if that’s what feels right but I can also place my baby in a storage container and put it in the refrigerator until I have found the perfect option.
- I know I must begin the experience of miscarriage. If I have chosen medical or surgical management for my miscarriage, I know when things will likely start and end but if I have chosen for things to start on their own, I need to be patient with myself as my body prepares in its own way for this experience.
- It’s okay if I feel relief. This is normal and many women feel this way. This doesn’t mean I didn’t love my baby or pregnancy, it’s just relief that this part is finally over and I can begin to move forward again.
- I should plan for my physical and emotional recovery. I will need pads, tissues, and time off. I should write down a list of tasks which feel hard for me to complete like meals, doing dishes, walking the dog, and time alone to grieve. I know these are important to me but they feel overwhelming and I need someone to take these tasks on for a while.
- It’s okay to need help from others; many women do and it doesn’t matter how early or late the loss was. Support is crucial.
- I will allow myself to accept help from others.
- I may need to explore outlets for my grief such as writing in a journal, listening to or creating music, crafting, volunteering for a pregnancy loss organization, pumping and donating my baby’s breastmilk, or other healthy outlets.
- I will have moments and days where I don’t feel sad. It’s okay that I don’t feel sad all the time. This doesn’t mean my loss doesn’t matter. This also doesn’t mean that when I am really sad after a period of being okay, that I am depressed and need to be saved. I am just having a hard day or moment. Grief has no timeline and doesn’t look the same for each person.
- Even though my husband, partner, or children seem to be “normal” or look like this loss doesn’t matter, that doesn’t mean they don’t care and aren’t sad. They have a different way of navigating through their grief. Their way doesn’t have to be my way.
- When I feel upset about the way my husband or partner is responding to our loss, I will communicate with them. I will share how I feel, as best I can, so that we can talk openly about our loss.
- People will make hurtful comments believing they are helpful. I do not have to be “fake” and smile at these comments, I can choose to say something if I feel the need.
- I may lose some friends. It can be really hard or very easy to walk away from them but I need to do what’s best for me and that’s okay. I do not have to hang on to friends who are toxic to me.
- I will gain new friends. Some of these friends will become friends for life. Others will be here for moments and that’s okay. These new friends do not have to be friends for life.
- I will survive this. Life may look very different and that’s okay. I am different. It’s okay to let others know that I am different.