Grief and loss are a very personal thing, and no two people deal with them the same way. This post is in no way me giving you a magic pill for how to grieve. Rather it is me sharing what carried me through the darkest valley of my life and the things that pulled me through that dark place. (If you are just joining us, you can read more about our miscarriage here.)
First of all, don’t you dare let ANYONE tell you how to deal with your loss. If you choose to keep it private, that is completely normal and okay! I personally chose to share our story with the world in hopes that I could be a light to others that were going through the same thing, and I am very glad I did. God brought me to this place for a season and for a reason, and helping others has given it meaning. But I will offer one word of caution- people will give you advice, some great and some bad. People will try to say things to help but they will say the wrong things. It will sting at times. Public or private, that is your personal choice. I found a lot of relief in talking about it.
The second thing I will tell you is to take your time and allow yourself to feel those feelings. No matter how early or late in the pregnancy your miscarriage was, you still lost a child. You lost your hopes and dreams for that child and your life together. Never, ever let anyone tell you it was not a loss. Unfortunately, the only way to get past grief is to walk through the mud. Allow yourself time. Allow yourself space to deal with your emotions. Seek closure.
When my heart was ready, I sat down and surrounded myself with things that brought me comfort. A fresh salted caramel candle, a warm caramel apple spice drink (get my recipe here!), a cozy blanket and some chocolate (because that makes all things a little easier). I decided to finish up my baby’s journal. Obviously I couldn’t fill the entire pregnancy out, but I did what I could. And then I wrapped it up by writing my child a goodbye letter. I got all of my thoughts and feelings out on paper and I felt the weight lifting as I wrote through my tears. I had been carrying them heavy in my heart and it felt like a release getting them off of my chest. I highly recommend this, be it in a journal or just a letter that you can write and seal. When I was finished, I boxed up all of the things that I associated with this pregnancy (tests, ultrasounds, cards, a little stuffed animal, this journal, etc) and placed that box under my nightstand. It kept things close enough for those moments when I just wanted to look at it all and feel, but out of sight so that I could actually function.
I sought out and found a few quotes that were helpful for my heart and kept those nearby. I leaned in to friends and family who had been where I was. I leaned in to my husband. Please, don’t forget your husband in your grief. In most cases, he is grieving just as much as you are but may not show it in the same way.
I spent a lot of time angry, but I think that is part of it that you just have to work through. There isn’t a wrong way to grieve, it’s something we all must do. It’s part of life.
I spent weeks scouring Pinterest for ways to honor my sweet babe. What I ultimately landed on was getting a tiny heart tattoo on the inside of my left wrist. It seemed like the best way to keep my baby with me forever, because they will always be a part of me. Maybe tattoos aren’t your cup of tea? I have listed a few other ideas that I loved below! If you have experienced loss and feel led, share with us what you did in the comments.
- Plant a tree in your baby’s honor. Or an entire garden!
- Create a keepsake box (I personally did this!) that you keep in a special place.
- Make (or buy) an ornament for your Christmas tree. I was gifted one and it is very special to us!
- Write a letter to your baby. Share your feelings. Express your love and your pain.
- Release a balloon or sky lantern. I have seen some tie their letter to their baby to these.
- Have a custom jewelry piece made with a special quote, your baby’s due date, or even their name if you had given them one. My sister created me the piece in the photo at the top of this page and it is very precious to me.
- Create a shadow box, if you feel like having a daily visual would help you! For me, having it in my face was too painful, but I love the idea.
- Have a photographer do a special, private photoshoot to capture your unique experience.
- Get involved! Share your story. Find organizations that support other moms in the same situation. Volunteer or raise funds. Honor your baby with a legacy.
- Make a playlist that helps you cope and listen to it in those moments when you need it the most.