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How many of you have heard these phrases?

  • It probably would have been deformed.
  • Thank goodness you were only in your first trimester.
  • It’s not like it was a real baby.
  • Just get pregnant again and you’ll feel better.
  • It was just a miscarriage.

When friends, family, acquaintances, and coworkers learn of your loss, they are going to feel the need to say something. They feel awkward and unsure. They definitely don’t want to make you cry.

So they try to come up with something to make you feel better. Somehow, they really do believe that downplaying the loss (only first trimester, not a real baby, just a miscarriage) will help you downplay it too. Or, that they can show you a “bright” side (deformed, nature’s way, not the right time.) Or give you advice (get pregnant again, don’t dwell on it, you’re only making yourself depressed.)

I’m not happy with these people. I wish I could be your personal guardian, walking around with duct tape and sealing their mouths. But usually they aren’t really trying to upset you. They want to say something. They don’t know that “I’m so sorry for the loss of your baby. Please let me know if I can do anything,” is plenty.

Ignore them when you can. Just nod and walk away. And when you’re feeling up for it–tell them. And explain to them what to say next time, before they repeat these things to someone else.

This is a touchy subject, but one I can address more easily in general rather than with someone specific in an email or post. Hopefully some of you out there googling miscarriage and emotional recovery will hit upon this.

Those wonderful female hormones that govern our cycle and turn us into emotional swingers right before a period, in early pregnancy, and in post partum have an extra special role right after a miscarriage–they often get completely out of whack and make our lives hell.

Often when someone writes me in the first two weeks after a loss, upset and angry, wanting to leave her husband, afraid she’s not doing well with the children, and sure that every one of her friends is trying to make her feel worse, I know her body has made life less easy to cope with.

We already are saddled with a lot after a loss: grief, frustration, fear, despair. It’s a terrible kick in the gut that in addition, our confused reproductive system often sends out so many mixed hormone signals that we can’t manage our emotions. In this state, a casual “How are you doing?” becomes a cold-hearted slam. A husband asking, “What’s for dinner?” is grounds for divorce. Can’t they see life is horrible, our baby lost, nothing will ever be the same, and can’t he make his own freaking dinner just once?

What is happening is partly the people around us–most don’t really know what to do or say to a greiving mother–and part of it our inability to process outside stimulus. These hormones literally become a jumbled filter and so much of what we would ordinarily handle perfectly well–a mess on the floor, an abrupt end to a phone call, a comment about our appearance–will become huge issues.

It’s not really our fault. And hopefully everyone will give us the space and understanding we need. We will get better, not because we’ve forgotten the baby or the sadness of our loss, but because our bodies have filtered out these conflicting hormones and now we can think more clearly and organize our feelings into those that bear getting upset over and those we can wave away.

If you’re here, and everything seems upside down and everyone in your life is upsetting you, just take a deep breath, get as much time to yourself as possible, and when the going gets rough, break some small piece of inconsequential dinnerware. You’ll get better. I promise.

Sometimes as I go about life I stumble across something that brings my loss eight years ago flooding back. When I do, I tend to drown in it, obsess over it. Really dig in and let the grief and emotion wash over me again. It keeps Casey close, and even though it’s sad and hard, later I am glad I didn’t let life move on so fast that I don’t stop and devote a little time every once in a while just for him.

Yesterday I was randomly surfing Itunes for music and came across Josh Groban’s song “You Raise Me Up.” I loved his voice and today spent some time learning about this young singing sensation.

A few minutes ago I ran across this song and knew I had to post if for you ladies. I decided to link to this version of it rather than the actual video for the song as it features a woman as the subject, a lost love affair, but when he actually sings the song without images, well…you’ll understand.

Don’t do it at work, if you’re susceptible. Save it for a quiet moment…just you and your baby.

Josh Groban singing “To Where You Are” on Jay Leno:
http://www.metacafe.com/watch/229538/josh_groban/

More information about Josh’s debut CD with this song. He’s done many CDs since:
Josh Groban CD

Take time out for this. It’s sacred time. And it’s okay to grieve. For hours, days, months, and even all your life. It’s how we humans are designed–to mourn our loss in order to hold our love and hope all the closer to our hearts.