|Miscarriage of justice by Lina Scarfi|
First off, who do I think I am, attempting to write a miscarriage survival guide? The jury is still out on whether or not I sufficiently survived my own, how can I counsel anybody else on hers?
Well, maybe I can't. But I'll try, because if my words bring solace, a smile, or at least a moment's distraction to someone else who's going through it, then maybe I'll feel slightly less broken and empty.
I don't presume to have all the answers and what worked for me won't work for everyone. YMMV. But after two first-trimester miscarriages, I've learned a thing or two about what I, personally, need to survive a zombie wombpocalypse. Those things, in no particular order are:
1. A fucked-up sense of humor that thinks calling a miscarriage a zombie wombpocalypse is kind of hilarious in a warped and twisted way. When just about everything you see makes you want to cry (there are non-zombie babies EVERYWHERE) you have to take your laughs where you can get them.
2. A solid acceptance of the immutable fact that I am going to be emotionally fucked up for a while. If I had broken my leg, I'd wear a cast for weeks. Well, my miscarriages left me feeling like I had a cast around my heart: it was heavy and hobbled, a thick shell protecting a raw and wounded lump. I wouldn't expect a broken leg to heal overnight: I'd expect to use crutches and take it easy until it mended. My heart deserves the same. It's just as important as a leg. More so, because I have two legs.
3. Cupcakes. Miscarriage makes me hungry. My pregnancies left me feeling queasy and pecking at my food, but after the babies died I became ravenous, insatiable. Almost like I was trying to fill the void inside me with food...hmm.
4. At least two solid days of wallowing. No more than three consecutive, or things start getting weird and smelling bad. I try to spend the first 24 hours sleeping as much as possible. Before my D&C, I tell the anesthesiologist that anesthesia makes me vomit. This is not only true, but it also ensures that they slip an anti-nausea med into my IV, a sweet nectar that helps me pass the rest of the day in a somnolent haze. The ensuing days of wallow are spent in bed. Pity party activities may include: 80's Brat Pack movie marathons, hysterical sobbing, Ben & Jerry's, incoherent ranting on infertility message boards, staring blankly into space, teaching my dogs to cuddle on command, and wrestling with existential questions like "why does God hate me?" Absolutely forbidden: showering, laundry or housework of any kind, signing on to the work email account, looking at the Facebook feeds of friends who are pregnant or have children, and feeling guilty about any of the above.
5. An "I am Woman hear me roar" moment in which I leap out of bed and assert my control over something in an excessively bold and dramatic manner. Maybe I can't make a baby but watch me catch up on all the office work and housework that I've neglected during the wallowing AND completely re-do our bathroom all in a single weekend and yes, our health and beauty items have all been sterilized, categorized and alphabetized, is there anything wrong with that?
|Artwork/meme courtesy of the awesome Allie at Hyperbole and a Half. |
If you haven't read her blog yet, you really should.
6. A willingness to play the Miscarriage Card. Yes, it makes people uncomfortable to hear that you lost your baby, especially if they hadn't known you were pregnant in the first place, but so what. Life is full of uncomfortable situations. If just hearing about a miscarriage upsets them, they should be glad they didn't have one. But I did and I'm so sorry but I wont be able to attend that baby shower for the girl from Human Resources because it will be too upsetting for me. And I don't care if word gets around because while I don't usually share much of my personal life with my co-workers, I'd rather they know I just had a miscarriage than think I'm strung out on drugs because I'm wandering around the office red-eyed, edgy and too distracted to turn my monthly report in on time.
7. Time. In the end, it's the only thing that really makes a difference. Just like that fractured bone would eventually rebuild, so will my heart. Tortured metaphors aside, your body literally DOES need time to heal, too. It takes 4-6 weeks for your hormones to stabilize and until they do, your emotions will see-saw, yo-yo, flip-flop and zig-zag. Avoid making important decisions and operating heavy machinery if at all possible. But I've found that if I can just hang in there, lean on whatever crutches are handy (friends, family, cupcakes and/or Molly Ringwald), and ride it out, it eventually gets better. The sadness and sense of loss never completely go away, but I can compartmentalize them, put on my tough girl boots and carry on much more easily once some time passes and my hormones return to normal.
What about you? If you've had the misfortune of losing a pregnancy, what people places or things helped get you through the worst times?