I can see a woman sitting in front of me on skype, I can see that she is in a great deal of pain and that it is nearly impossible for her to even talk, she is crying out loud and almost even yelling.
I can also see that it is difficult for her to sit still, I think to myself ‘if she had the possibility to do so she would hit someone, destroy something, or just lie on the floor and yell in pain’. I can see that she would do almost anything to feel free from the pain inside of her and to just escape it.
It's only 3 days since she lost her “child”… She was 8 weeks pregnant when she suddenly started to bleed.
Blood — every fertility patients biggest fear
Blood — the symbol of not being pregnant
Blood — the symbol of needing to continue with treatment
Blood — the symbol of frustration and pain.
Two different ways of handling a miscarriage before week 12:
1. Many of my patients have already experienced a miscarriage before and it is always individual to them how they experience and deal with their loss. Some of my patients see themselves as mother’s right after a positive pregnancy test. They tell family, friends, and colleagues about the pregnancy and they start to plan their future with their unborn child. They allow themselves to let their guard down and finally start to believe that they are going to become mothers. The child that is growing inside of their tummy is only a few weeks old, but in their ‘mothers’ mind, they have already become a child, a dream, a future.
When this woman then experiences a miscarriage it is like losing a child, it’s a situation that is so emotionally hard because it is about life and death. This woman often then blames herself and feels that they did something wrong and that this led to the miscarriage.
The reason why they start to blame themselves is that it is better to try to find a reason than to have no reason at all!
Blood — the symbol of crashed dreams.
2. Other patients experience the first weeks of their pregnancy differently. They don’t think of the embryo as a child, they think of the pregnancy as an embryo that develops, but is not yet a baby. They keep their guards up and don’t want to tell so many people around them about their pregnancy, they want to wait! If they have a miscarriage they try to think about this rationally, they think that the embryo didn’t develop in the right way and that their body wanted to get rid of something that is not perfect; that this was a natural biological process. These patients of course also feel sad when they are going through a miscarriage, but they can process their feelings in a different way and they will be ready for a new attempt much earlier than women from the other group.
It is perfectly normal that patients also have emotional reactions and thoughts from both of these groups that I have presented.
What can you do?
Patients that have had miscarriages often ask me what do? And how to cope with their situation? So here is some of my advice:
- Respect your feelings! Give room and time to your reactions. It is healthy to cry and your pain is totally understandable. Your tears and your grieving shows just how important this child ‘project’ is for you!
- Seek support — Tell the closest people around you how you want to be supported and if you want them to hug you, listen to you, or just be present. They don’t know your needs right now; they don’t know if you feel you have lost a child or an embryo? You must tell them how you feel and only then can you get the support you need and deserve. Don’t expect that the people around you will understand your situation before you have told them exactly how you feel.
- Don’t give up! Your body has now shown you that it understands the fertility treatment, you have now experienced and seen that an embryo can attach to your uterus lining and this shows that there is hope!
- A miscarriage is not something that you can control and understand that destructive thoughts are a normal thing to have after a miscarriage. You need to accept that its part of this egg donation or embryo adoption treatment that you are unable to control!
- Contact a professional counselor if you need help with processing your feelings and thoughts.
During the session with this woman that was in so much pain, I tried to comfort her. Not by telling her that everything is going to be ok, but by listening to her, respecting and understanding her grief and staying by her side in this tragic moment. That made her calmer, she felt less alone, she felt that someone understood and respected her pain.