Learn how to recover from an unimaginable loss.
Last week, Khloe Kardashian spoke publicly on CBS's The Talk to quell rumors that she and her husband, Lamar Odom, were mourning a recent miscarriage. Fortunately for most of us, our life sorrows do not get played out on the public stage.
But, even when your personal tragedies do not make the headlines, dealing with the heartache of a miscarriage can be very challenging and having to tell colleagues, friends, and family about pregnancy loss during your time of mourning often adds to the stress for many.
When my first pregnancy ended in an early miscarriage, I dreaded having to call everyone we had shared our happy news with to let them know that I had miscarried. As I looked for healthy ways to heal, I noticed the lack of social support available in our culture to help women recover from miscarriage (the same is true for women who experience fertility problems). How Saying "No" Can Improve Your Love Life
Being an anthropologist, I started to look at how miscarriage is addressed in other societies and discovered that the Japanese commemorate miscarriages with shrines that are found in temples, on street corners, and in individual homes.
Rather than being depressing, isolating places, the Mizuko Kuyo shrines are full of life and frequently visited by families who have lost children during pregnancy from miscarriage (or from abortion — the Japanese believe that abortion is sometimes a necessary yet difficult decision for families that needs to be honored as well).
The public shrines are often decorated with toys and have playgrounds so people can come to observe a moment of silence for their unborn child while other children play and celebrate the exuberance of life. Down On Love? 9 Ways To Beat Your Rut
Even though we don't have any thing similar to Mizuko Kuyo shrines yet, if you have experienced a miscarriage, it is extremely important to allow yourself the emotional space to fully mourn. Reminding yourself that over 20% of all pregnancies end in miscarriage and giving yourself time to process your grief will enable you to be able to enjoy yourself more when you are ready to conceive again.
Employ these three strategies to heal after a miscarriage:
1. Journal about your experiences to help you fully feel your emotions and uncover any judgmental and critical beliefs that you may hold about yourself and your situation. If you are blaming yourself or your body, write about how you can open up to self-forgiveness and explore how you can establish new beliefs that support you in your life and that help you to create healthy ways to connect with and trust your body. Consider how you can best prepare yourself to feel positive about becoming pregnant when you are ready. Amy Smart: "Animals Are A Constant Reminder Of Love"
2. Seek help and talk about your feelings with your partner, supportive family members, friends, a counselor or spiritual advisor. Don't isolate yourself — join a support group in your community or online so you can connect with other women who have had similar experiences. If you or someone near to you believes your grief is causing you to become depressed, seek professional help immediately from a qualified mental health care provider.
3. Consider creating a personal shrine or conducting a meaningful ritual with your partner or a supportive friend to commemorate your loss as part of your mourning process. This could involve writing a letter to your unborn child, creating art, or making a shrine in your home honoring your loss. Do whatever you feel will be comforting and empowering for you so you can eventually open up to the future with as much ease as possible.
If it will help, ask a close family member to deliver the news to other relatives and have a trusted colleague let the appropriate people at your work know about your loss. Reducing stress will help ease conception when you are ready to become pregnant again so look at other ways in your life you can lower your stress and honor your own timeline for healing. Are Your Beliefs About Relationships Holding You Back
Dr. Eve Agee is a women's empowerment expert and the Bestselling author of The Uterine Health Companion, Winner of the International Book Awards' Women's Health Category. If you would like to reduce stress and fully enjoy conception, pregnancy, and motherhood, go here to learn more.
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