When you go through a miscarriage, there’s no way to know how long it will take to physically recover. Your body goes through so much and everyone has a different timeline for recovery. I had to have a medical intervention and even the doctors and nurses couldn’t tell me exactly how long recovery would take. So I just had to wait and see what my body would do. Looking back now, a few months later, I wanted to share some of the things that helped me heal after miscarriage, both physically and emotionally. While healing the heart always takes much longer than healing the body, these are some of the things that helped.
The things that helped me heal after miscarriage:
Saying a proper goodbye
Because we never got to see a heartbeat or bring an ultrasound picture home, I sometimes felt I’d completely dreamed up this pregnancy. Miscarriage is a unique kind of grief because you’re mourning a hope and an imagined future, not something tangible that you can see and touch. So in order to heal, it was really important for me to mark the loss in a concrete way and say a proper goodbye, which Ben and I did at the ocean. I also brought a beautiful box to put the few memories I had in. I wrote about how we said goodbye in this post. These two actions helped me to confront the loss and face it. It helped me to move forward.
Talking about it
I also found talking through my feelings to be really helpful. A few friends and family members had also had miscarriages and I spoke to them a lot. I also talked to other friends who hadn’t gone through it but who were also wonderfully supportive by just listening and being there. I also wrote about it extensively on the blog which helped me process my thoughts and feelings in a (somewhat) coherent manner. Connecting with other readers who had a personal experience with miscarriage was also really special to me. I am so grateful to have this platform to do that.
Even though I’d have given anything NOT be able to drink wine, I must say that alcohol did help. It dulled my senses slightly and made me feel things less acutely. It helped me relax and made me feel less anxious, which I’d started to feel quite badly the week after the procedure. A glass of wine (or two) just took the edge off. Obviously, alcohol is a total crutch – I get that. But it was a crutch that made the world feel a little more bearable, particularly in the evenings when the brick would settle on my chest.
As soon as I felt physically up to it (which was actually within days), I started exercising again. I knew that it was important to get moving, get the blood flowing and get outside. It made a huge difference to me both physically and mentally. Firstly, I noticed that exercising made the bleeding come on, which was a good thing because it kept stopping and starting. It seemed like exercise got things moving a bit. It also really helped me emotionally and I noticed that I felt calmer and less upset after working out.
Raspberry leaf tea
Another thing I read about that might help with recovery is raspberry leaf tea. This tea is great for uterine health (although should be avoided in the first trimester). When I was feeling frustrated by the prolonged spotting, I started drinking a cup of raspberry leaf tea a day in the hope that it might help. It could have been a coincidence but I actually feel like it got things going a bit faster.
By far though, the biggest healer, both physically and emotionally, was simply time. As hard as it was, I just had to give my body the time it needed to repair. I learnt that the timeframe for healing is very different for every woman – some women heal within a few weeks and others need a few months (or longer). It’s really hard to remain patient and calm though when you’re going through it. Doubt and uncertainty about what was ‘normal’ wouldn’t stop running through my mind. For example, the hospital told me that the spotting should stop around 10 days after the procedure but for me it actually took three weeks. I was so frustrated and emotional during this time. I just wanted it to be over already but every day was a new reminder that it wasn’t.
The other thing that I was totally unprepared for was how long the pregnancy hormones can stay in your body for. You can get a sense of what your hormones are doing by doing a home pregnancy test. I was still testing positive almost four weeks after the miscarriage. It was like a cruel joke, seeing those two lines on the stick but knowing it wasn’t true. I was so desperate for my hormones to drop so that my body would stop being tricked into thinking I was pregnant. And I knew that my cycle wouldn’t reset until the hormones were out of my system. Just when the pregnancy tests stopped reading positive, my period arrived. I’ve never been so relieved!
Emotionally, I think pregnancy loss is something you never really ever ‘get over’ – it stays with you forever and becomes part of your fabric. I know that even in future pregnancies, I’ll STILL be healing from this. The experience will stay with me forever.
If you want to read more about my miscarriage, here are the posts:
- Miscarriage: A Jumbled Mess of Thoughts and Feelings
- What it’s Like to Have a D&C for a Miscarriage: My Hospital Story
- What NOT to Say to Someone After a Miscarriage
- Saying Goodbye After Pregnancy Loss
Disclaimer: obviously I’m no medical professional so these are just some things that seemed to help me. Everyone is different. You should always consult your doctor for medical advice.
If you’ve unfortunately had a miscarriage, what helped you to heal?
Any advice you have would be much appreciated by those dealing with loss.