Many of our clients are pregnant, or trying to conceive. Their natural fertility isn’t playing ball with their inner drive to have a baby. This often means that they come to me having suffered from a chemical pregnancy or miscarriages, whether these be an early miscarriage, or any time throughout the pregnancy through to still birth and down to missed miscarriage.
Common factor in all miscarriages
Hurt. Deep rooted, soul wracking pain that wields through your body when no-one else understands. Often not even your husband. For sure, you both have had a future ripped out of your hands, often with little or no warning, but men grieve in an entirely unique way to women.
As a trained counsellor, I use a range of techniques to help my clients through their suffering whilst they relax and enjoy a simultaneous reflexology treatment. This enables us to balance your body and your mind at the same time. Sometimes, I will play short wellness clips from a selection of my favourite teachers and we’ll discuss the meaning of these afterwards.
We’re currently in COVID lockdown which prevents me from doing this with my clients but I thought it would be a nice idea to write a blog on this and perhaps prevent some deep-rooted hurt from manifesting as miscarriage won’t stop for an international pandemic.
Here is the video from Lauren Eckstrom and Travis Eliot. I’ll discuss some key points below:
Both Lauren and Travis are successful yoga instructors, so some examples that they discuss of healing mechanisms may not apply to what you’re naturally do in your life. I’m not here to tell you that you should start chanting. As they say, this is a moment in your life when you are suffering in your own unique way. That requires the same for how you deal with these symptoms.
But they made some valid points.
Take time for yourself to mourn your miscarriage
For you and for your partner. Reconnect and ground together. Become a unit that takes on the world as one entity. It’s easy for you to fall into a hole where you each deal with the pain of miscarriage independently and eventually this will eat you guys up.
If I have one piece of advice, it’s do everything you can to communicate and getting outside somehow always makes this easier. However many weeks you were, whatever trimester you were at when your bleeding started. Do not let this miscarriage divide you. There are some points to consider with this though, and they’re important.
Men and women deal with miscarriage grief differently
This is something that the couple touch on in their talk, but what I pulled out of this is the subconscious messages that they probably weren’t aware they are giving off.
Travis talks twice about how ‘disappointing’ their experience was. Disappointing? It sounds so callous. But, listen to him talk, towards the end, his grief and his pain at their loss is so overwhelming that he fills up. His voice cracks when he talks about the child they have lost.
He’s been holding it together, and still is, so that his wife can deal with this traumatic period by breaking apart. Look at the body language of the couple. Lauren is teary, Travis is sitting more tense. It isn’t that he has experienced any less heartbreaking anxieties, but he’s dealing with this in the way men are conditioned to do. He alludes to this, but it is probably even more prevalent than even he realises. And this is a man who is in touch with his emotions and knows on a conscious level that it is OK to cry.
Holding onto pain won’t bring back what couples have lost
It’s a natural coping mechanism to ignore the pain and move forward. It’s kind of what’s expected when we have busy lives. We are expected to carry on, go to work, take the kid we may already have to school, be professional and break our hearts in private. And so we become conditioned to using this as a way of coping.
But you were going to be parents.
The issue here is that the grief you were feeling is still there. It’s just buried. And so the stress, anxiety and depression associated with it is pushed aside, but is still real. And trust us, this will come back to haunt you.
You were a mother, your hormones were geared up for that and when it’s snatched away your partner can’t understand the weight of this, because although they have lost a child and that future, they are still as balanced hormonally as they were before the day this happened. We can see here how Travis was truly affected in his vulnerable interview, but he’s behaving differently to the mother who miscarried.
It’s just different. But it doesn’t mean men don’t care. Even if they can’t fully understand.
So find a place, like my clients do with me, and allow this to be your safe place where you let everything out. Bawl out your eyes, show your anger and bitterness which are valid emotions and let them go. Do not feel shame for grieving. But do not wallow. When the emotion is out, embrace the calm that follows and this is what you hold on to.
When the next wave takes you, allow it to flow in the knowledge that all things in life will pass and look forward to the calm you’ll obtain from once again allowing the wrecking ball to ricochet through your body as it passes through. Then once again hold that calm that follows.
Women who miscarry have a feeling of isolation
They talk about the joy of finding out they were pregnant. Their faces light up when they discuss the day they found out they were expecting their daughter. Don’t lose that joy. Keep the child you had close. You love them. Just because their body didn’t work out it doesn’t mean that when you miscarry that you aren’t still emotionally connected.
This bereavement is different to anything else
When you lose someone else that you have loved, you have a history with them. For sure you may have also had a longer future, but you have memories. These help.
When you have a miscarriage, you don’t have anything. Not a single jot of memory other than the time you had a scan or the time you found out. There’s nothing tangible to ease the pain. All the memories you were going to make evaporate.
And unless you’ve been through this, it’s tricky to empathise in a way which is helpful.
Family and friends don’t get it, no matter how well meaning they are
They don’t. Not unless they have been through it and not many people want to revisit that memory with someone over and over and so you are left alone. This is where counselling comes in because as I do in my miscarriage sessions, I use the experiences of multiple people in the past to help you through this time. This understanding that you are not alone is helpful.
Lauren and Travis talk about each finding a keepsake to cherish as a reminder. This works wonderfully for my clients. You have something to cling onto during the tough times. A tangible reminder of the mother you were going to be to this child. It’s not something you need to discuss with anyone else because this is entirely personal.
When you’re suffering from a miscarriage your anxieties, and the hurt is overwhelming, you have something to touch. A necklace often works well because you can hang it around your neck, keep it close to your heart and in those horrible moments when grief strangle holds you unexpectedly you can scan your fingers lightly over it and feel some peace at being reconnected.
Another coping mechanism
Getting outside with nature is a great opportunity to look after your health. Not only are you in the fresh air away from pollution, but when they are outside, people somehow automatically feel less connected to the freneticism of modern life.
This automatically lifts a weight of grief, although as Travis says, you will still feel the ton of bricks in your heart. The thing is, that’s OK. Because you are dealing with loss. And you’re acknowledging it and giving it space to pass through you. Getting away will help that pass without the same pressure to push it aside. And in so doing, you’re giving yourself the best chance to heal.
And when we heal, we have a better chance of future health. As most of our ladies move on to want to try to conceive again at some point in the future, being healthy and this healing is critical.
Finally, thank you to Lauren and to Travis for allowing us access to their hearts in such a personal way. I hope the video and this blog was helpful for you. If you would like to book an appointment to see Karen in Romford, Essex, then you can do so here (once COVID is over).