Miscarriage is traumatic and painful, and on top of caring for yourself physically, it's important to take care of yourself emotionally and psychologically too. Today, we're sharing 7 things that are important for you to do for your mental health after pregnancy loss.
1. Unsubscribe From Pregnancy Related Emails
The heartache and pain after miscarriage is often unbearable, and there's nothing worse than opening your inbox after taking time away from catching up on emails or stepping away from work or social media, only to see an email from a pregnancy-related website you subscribed to while you were expecting pop-up. It's an instant reality check that is not your reality anymore, and a reminder all over again of what you have lost. Seeing baby registry emails and mommy blog emails feel like a swift punch in the gut following pregnancy loss. It opens healing wounds and triggers emotions we may not necessarily be looking to acknowledge at the moment - especially coming back to work or just catching up on everyday life after your loss.
Our Advice: When you feel you are ready and are in the right headspace, head to your email inbox and unsubscribe from any pregnancy-related emails. Either make a list of the sites you subscribed to, or, in the search bar, search anything pregnancy, baby, or mommy related to see a list of all sites that are sending you emails so that you are able to unsubscribe all at once. If you find it hard to look through your emails on your own, ask a friend, your partner, or family member to do this for you so that you have one less thing to work through on your own. Remember, it's ok to ask for help after pregnancy loss.
2. Remove Pregnancy Tracking Apps From Your Phone
This tip is one we suggest doing sooner, rather than later. If you've downloaded a pregnancy tracking app to follow your pregnancy, educate yourself, and get updates on your baby's growth throughout your pregnancy, you're going to want to remove it as soon as possible. Apps like these are nortorius for sending push notifications reminding you how far along you are when you hit certain milestones, as well as sharing information about your changing body. What was once an exciting update, is now a sad reminder of loss for many and where your pregnancy might have been. While you may not be able to forget how far along you would be as the weeks go on, it can be more helpful to at least remove the constant notification from your life if you find it triggering. By no means does anyone expect you to forget your loss or blame you for wanting to keep their memory alive, so if keeping the app gives you comfort and helps you heal, then you should do what is best for you and your healing process. Remember, these are tips based on our own experience and you can pick and choose what works best for you and your journey. Grief is not linear.
Our Advice: If you find your pregnancy tracking apps to be emotionally triggering, delete the app as soon as you can. If you find this task too difficult, ask your partner to do it for you. On the flip side, many tracking apps allow you to mark your pregnancy as a loss and they will immediately switch the app over to offer support for your grieving process and less about pregnancy. Personally, we found it hard to keep seeing the app icon on our home screen, even if we switched it to pregnancy loss mode, so we ended up deleting it all together, but it's nice to know many apps are acknowledging that many pregnancies end in loss and that they are offering resources to those grieving.
3. Talk To Your Therapist
Before starting therapy after our first pregnancy loss in 2020, I did not know how to process my grief. I had no idea that I had to face my loss head on and actually feel my pain. I thought that after my first loss that I would be fine after a few weeks and that life would move on. However as months passed and I recognized that I was not doing any better, I knew something had to change. I felt stuck and needed to find someone else to talk to. Therapy has been my saving grace throughout the rest of our fertility journey and has helped me gain the knowledge and tools necessary to cope with our unfortunate future losses. I don't think I would be in the headspace I am in today had I not found my therapist. She has been the guiding light I needed when I was at my weakest point. What was even more helpful was that I found someone who also understands the pain of pregnancy loss. It's important to find someone who truly hears what you're saying and understands you. With her help, I've been able to be much more in touch with my emotions, set healthy boundaries for my fertility journey, offer myself grace during high points of grief, and overall love myself and see the value in my worth after loss.
Our Advice: If you already have a therapist, schedule an appointment as soon as you're ready to talk. Sometimes just talking about your loss with someone willing to listen can be extremely therapeutic for you. If you haven't found a therapist yet, find one that can help you through your grieving process, or better yet, who has gone through similar losses.
If you are feeling suicidal, thinking about hurting yourself, or are concerned that someone you know may be in danger of hurting himself or herself, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255). It is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and is staffed by certified crisis response professionals.
4. Journal Your Thoughts
Journaling is a tool that I learned through therapy that has been incredibly helpful in my grieving process. It's something that anyone can try because there are no rules. Journaling allows us to dig deeper into whats on our mind and better understand what emotions are present so that we can feel them and release them. Free writing especially has been good for me while processing my grief. Free writing is exactly what it sounds like - writing down whatever comes to your mind. This is especially helpful on days where you're feeling really emotional, but not sure exactly what emotions, why, or where it came from. Free writing can surprise you. Sometimes the emotions that surface aren't ones you thought were there, but journaling allows us to take space to let them surface to better understand what's on our mind. When we understand the emotions that are bubbling up inside, we can better understand what needs to be addressed and communicate our needs.
Our Advice: Schedule time to practice free writing. Some people enjoy doing this everyday, and others once per week. It can be exhausting trying this everyday, so don't feel bad if journaling often feels overwhelming. This is about your own healing journey, so do what feels good for your mental health. We suggest journaling in solitude and allow yourself as much time as needed. No timers are to be set and this practice shouldn't feel rushed. If you start feeling emotional while writing, let it out. Whatever that may be, feel those emotions and lean into it. Don't set expectations for what you think you should feel during your free write and let every emotion or thought come naturally.
5. Mute or Unfollow Triggering Social Media Accounts
It is ok for you to set boundaries for your mental health, especially while using social media. It is ok for you to mute or even unfollow accounts that may be triggering for you while healing. If you find it hard to see pregnancy announcements, pregnancy bump updates, ultrasounds, birth announcements and more, it is ok to mute or unfollow someone either temporarily or permanently. It is also ok to take a temporary or permanent break entirely from social media. Social media is not a requirement, and at the end of the day, your selfcare and mental health should come first.
Our Advice: The only way to completely avoid all pregnancy-related triggers on social media is to take a temporary or permanent break and avoid social media all together. If that is not something you wish to do or cannot do for various reasons, you are allowed to permanently or temporarily mute any account that you choose at anytime, for any reason. Your mental health comes first. There is nothing wrong with setting boundaries.
6. Honor Your Loss
After suffering multiple losses ourselves, we have found that finding a way to honor our loss is extremely helpful in our healing process. As mentioned before, all grief is not linear and what works for one person, may not work for another. It's about finding what is best for you. This action does not come easily for everyone and you may find yourself taking your time when it comes to deciding what is right for you, and that's ok. This is not a process that should be rushed. A few examples that are common when it comes to honoring your loss are planting a tree or flowers, having a small ceremony for your loss, getting a piece of jewelry to wear with their birthstone, getting a tattoo, writing a letter to your baby, naming your baby, and so on.
Our Advice: Don't rush this process. Finding a way to honor your loss should be unique to you and is a great way to find a small bit of closure on your healing process. Take as much time as you need to figure out what is right for you and your partner.
7. Allow Yourself Time To Grieve
Remember how we said you shouldn't rush a way to honor your loss? Well, it's also important to not rush your grieving process. Give yourself grace and compassion when it comes to healing. It's ok if you are taking longer than expected to feel like yourself again. It's ok if you were feeling good and then suddenly one day you're feeling down again. Healing doesn't happen in a straight line. Instead of being frustrated or shaming yourself for feeling emotional, acknowledge that sometimes grief surfaces at moments that we may or may not be prepared for and ask yourself, "What do I need today? What needs to be called to my attention?" Be gentle with yourself, always. This journey is hard. You are allowed to grive for as long as you need to, and no one gets to tell you otherwise.
Our Advice: Take each day one day at a time. Acknowledge that no emotion that surfaces is wrong, and instead of shaming yourself for feeling emotional, check in with yourself and see how you can nurture and care for yourself that day.
Disclaimer: This blog is for informational purposed only. I am not a licensed psychologist, medical doctor, or health care professional and my tips do not replace the care of psychologists, doctors or other healthcare professionals.