It felt like a Mack truck had smacked me and left me on the roadside. I was unbearably sad and distraught. I could barely get out of bed each morning, and it was downright impossible to do so with any hint of joy. I was just fumbling through the days, perfectly content to stare at a wall for hours.
What was the cause of my despair and sadness?
I had just learned that I miscarried for a second time in about four months.
That was an extremely hard time in my life as I was stuck in misery for a long stretch. But I was able to work through that gloom and arrive at a place where I consider that experience to be a turning point toward real happiness. Four year later, I’m actually grateful for those miscarriages because, as painful as they were, they set me on a path of discovery – of myself, of others, of the universe.
How can that be?
I’ve learned there’s no way around our emotionally difficult circumstances. We must go right through them — fully experiencing all the suffering and uncomfortable feelings and thoughts that arise — if we want to heal our wounds and live a happy, love-filled life.
Here are the four steps I took to heal my heartbreak and find peace after my miscarriages.
Although this seems obvious, grieving a miscarriage often gets lost in the shuffle of our busy, go-go lifestyle — especially because there are no recognized or accepted rituals in our culture to mark a pregnancy loss.
But it’s imperative that you actually mourn your baby just like you would any other person you love. Even though I never met either of my two babies, I was devastated when I lost them. It doesn’t matter that they hadn’t lived alongside me yet. So don’t trivialize your loss.
Take whatever steps you would if someone else close to you passed away: Take time off from work, rest, relieve yourself of obligations and responsibilities, cry, accept help from friends and family. Whatever it takes for you to open up your heart and let your emotions out.
Grieving a miscarriage also includes letting go of the life you started envisioning for your baby, yourself, and your family. For me, that meant releasing all my dreams and visions I had created for the rest of our lives.
Write down everything you’re thinking and feeling, being really raw and honest. Don’t censor anything that arises; just get it all out. So if you’re angry, disappointed, or heartbroken, express those feelings. If you’re relieved, express your relief. And be sure to hold no judgment toward yourself. There is no right or wrong emotion here.
My feelings were all over the place after each miscarriage. From disbelief to anger to fear to denial to extreme sadness. Journaling helped me release my emotions so they weren’t trapped inside my head and heart, and I felt a tiny sense of relief with each entry.
If you’re struggling with what to write, start with the truth: “I had a miscarriage.” That very obvious fact can be hard to admit, even to yourself, even in the silence of journaling. So begin there and see where your heart takes you.
Write a letter to the baby you lost
Writing a letter to your unborn child helps you tap into the love you felt during that brief period between finding out you were pregnant and learning that you weren’t. This is your opportunity to expand upon that love instead of dwell in bitterness and resentment.
It also helps you solidify your relationship with that baby. Because make no mistake — even though you never met your little one, you’ll have a relationship of some sort with that soul for the rest of your life. Writing a letter also helped me see that there might be a bigger picture at play, even if I couldn’t completely understand or accept it.
Here’s one of the letters I wrote:
Dear Soul, I love you and I respect the individual and highly specific journey that you’re traveling on. I thank you for including me in that journey, however small of a role, and hope that I helped you achieve some peace, closure, relief, or whatever it is you are working toward. I offer you my most heart-filled wishes of healing and love. It is with deep respect for your own spiritual path and enlightenment that I say goodbye. I love you. May peace be with you.
My letter is by no means the only way you can write to your unborn baby. All that matters is that you’re speaking authentically, honestly, and kindly. This isn’t the time to vent your anger. So if you’re unable to write from a place of love, that’s okay. Be gentle with yourself, grant yourself more time, and journal more about your feelings.
Find something to be grateful for
I know it might seem downright impossible to be grateful about not meeting your child, but I promise you will heal your pain faster if you can find something…anything…to be thankful for. That’s because gratitude is the gateway to happiness.
Maybe you’re grateful you became pregnant in the first place. Or perhaps you’re glad you had the opportunity to spend even a brief time with the soul (that’s what my gratitude was). Or that you have an amazing support system of friends and family helping you through this difficult time. Or that you’re discovering how strong you are.
Whatever your gratitudes are, write them down and remind yourself of them as often as you can. They’ll help you shift your mindset from pain to acceptance to understanding and even joy…eventually.
About Dina Overland
Dina Overland is a Life Coach helping people (especially mamas) move past their emotional pain so they can stop feeling angry, anxious, bitter, depressed, and alone and start feeling more happiness, love, and peace. Watch her video From Pain to Joy: 4 Steps to Finding Peace Through Emotional Suffering, follow her on Instagram, and check out her website.