Guest Post by Ben Allen
The moment the technician placed the ultrasound wand on my wife’s belly, I knew something was wrong. I held to hope that I was mistaken, but watching the technician’s face go from happy to concerned to sad confirmed our deepest fears. We had lost our baby.
The rest of the appointment was a blur. Our midwife explained what had happened, told us what to expect, and told us to call if the remains don’t expel itself in a few weeks.
We stepped outside of the doctor’s office to see children pointing at Christmas lights and playing in the snow. It was a quick reminder of what we had lost.
I came to a terrible realization. This entire month was going to be one long hell of loved ones asking questions about when we would have kids, people being thankful for their wonderful families, and a thousand other reminders that we had just lost our first child before we ever meet him/her.
Now, it’s a year later, and that pain is still there. My wife and I still carry that wound of miscarriage, but I would like to offer some advice to surviving the Holiday season without becoming a Grinch and to walk away from December on the road of healing.
Give Yourself Time to Grieve
Only people who have gone through a miscarriage understands the pain of it. Be sure to give yourself plenty of time to grieve. Take some time off from work, hold your loved ones close, and do whatever you need to do. Grieving is a healthy step to coping with this tragedy.
Grieve both privately and as a couple. Talk with your partner about your emotions and help each other. Working as a team will help you come closer together during this crisis and make sure both of you get the support you need to heal.
Talk To Your Midwife or Doctor
One reason my wife and I are huge advocates for midwives is because of how understanding and helpful our’s was during this time. Not only are midwives experts on pregnancies and fertility, but they are also usually not as busy as OB GYNs are. Our midwife was able to spend a long time explaining what happened, comforting us and telling us what was going to happen next.
Once that moment of shock wears off, ask lots of questions. Find out what exactly is going to happen during the miscarriage and your different options. Also ask for resources about coping with grief, as they will know several specialists and reading materials that can help you during this difficult time. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, because they want to assist you through this experience.
Telling Loved Ones and Family
Having a baby is an exciting experience, and you might have already told your family you were pregnant. After taking an adequate amount of time to get control of your emotions, start telling a few people. You don’t need to announce it to Facebook, or bring it up during a family get together. Help family members understand that you are in pain and express what you need from them.
What we did was tell our respective parents, and asked them to talk to the rest of the family that knew about the pregnancy. It helped us focus on our healing process without a constant stream of questions, sympathy, and reminders of what we lost. Our goal was to get past this event, not relive it during every phone call.
Don’t Hesitate To Say No
Between work parties, family get togethers, community events, and gift shopping, December is already a hectic mess. A miscarriage just adds even more stress, and since you can’t cancel that, don’t be afraid to say no to everything else.
Prioritizing events can help you see which you need to go to, which ones you want to go to, and which ones you can skip. You can RSVP “No” to events you’ll be skipping so you don’t offend anybody and get some much needed rest.
Getting Back into the Swing of the Holidays
There will be times where all you want to do is lay in bed and wallow in self pity. I was there too. But getting out of bed and doing something can really help you feel better. Even doing the physical work of hanging Christmas lights, playing some holiday tunes and baking some cookies made a huge difference for my wife and I. You don’t need to go crazy on the holidays, but just having a simple celebration can help you return to normalcy and make you feel a little better.
Don’t Feel Guilty About Being Happy
After some time, you will start to get your normal life back. One issue my wife and I went through was feeling bad about moving on. It felt like we were forgetting our little unborn angel and all of that grief would come flooding back.
You deserve to be happy. Don’t shy away from positive emotions, or feel guilt because you can laugh again. The holidays are a magical time, so go ahead and get swept up in the positive feelings in this season. It’s perfectly ok to smile.
Just know that you aren’t alone during this holiday season. Rely on your partner, loved ones, and support groups to help you through this hard time. If you need to talk about your miscarriage/infertility or have a piece of advice to give, share with us in the comments below.
About the Author
Ben Allen is a man trying to help others anyway he can. He also cares for his beautiful wife and spoils his new daughter. Follow Ben on Twitter @Allen24Ben