Written by Michele Drake
If you’ve been through miscarriage, you know each loss is unique. Each circumstance is different, each person is different, and we may feel very differently about them.
I hope this blog post will offer helpful strategies for everyone, but of course, some of the suggestions below may not resonate with you. Please follow the suggestions feeling the most supportive to you and ignore the rest.
Sleep. It may be hard to come by for some, but it is crucial in both the physical and emotional recovery. But rest means more than just sleep. Allow yourself as much rest as you can afford. This may mean asking for childcare help, hiring a housekeeper or dog-walker, taking days or even weeks off of work, and giving yourself as much time and patience as you need.
2. Warm Your Womb
Many people find heating pads or hot water bottles to be comforting, especially during the active loss and bleeding. Heat can keep things moving and alleviate some discomfort. Chinese medicine would also recommend keeping your feet warm, which will keep your pelvic region warm.
Your body has been through a lot. It’s very important to give yourself enough nourishment during your recovery. It’s very common for people to have low iron levels due to prolonged or excessive bleeding. Be mindful of the iron in your diet and supplements. Red meat is high in iron, as are beans and nettle leaf tea.
Communicating your needs is often a challenge, but can be even more difficult in a stressful situation. Sometimes, you might not even know what you need. It’s ok to say this, too. You may need to speak up for yourself in your relationship, your family, or in a medical setting. If you are having trouble advocating for yourself, check out #8, Get Support.
5. Take a Break from Charting
This suggestion is not for everyone. Continuing to chart through miscarriage can be cathartic. Seeing the process on paper or on the screen may feel validating. Seeing fertility return may feel comforting. But for other people, charting can feel like an extra burden. If you want to take a break, then you should take it. Charting will always be there for you when you feel ready to return to it.
6. Use Your Herbal Allies
Drinking tea made from red raspberry leaf is known to gently help the uterus contract and empty. Clary sage oil has been found to reduce cramps when used in aromatherapy. Some people apply CBD oil to their abdomen to alleviate pain. Many plant allies can be supportive during miscarriage. You should consult with a trained herbalist for specific advice and dosing. Check out Kaeleigh Terrill or Cera Merrick for more information.
7. Reconnect with Your Body
For some, miscarriage can feel like betrayal. It’s normal to have anger, resentment, and mistrust toward your body during a pregnancy loss. Part of the healing process will mean accepting your body and appreciating it again. This can be done through positive self-talk, body scan meditations, and self-awareness. Some people find reconnecting with their sexual energy is a crucial part of their healing. Orgasm can also be physically beneficial as it causes gentle uterine contractions.
8. Get Support
If you’re feeling sad, angry, confused, depressed, relieved, or any complex emotion - find support. You may have enough support with your partner, family, and friends. But you may still choose to work with someone outside of your circle who can hold space for you. You could seek out a therapist who specializes in grief counseling. You could also look for a doula who specializes in pregnancy loss. Common titles are “miscarriage support doula,” “pregnancy loss doula,” and “full spectrum doula.” Here are a few folks I recommend: Ashley Hartman Annis, Cera Merrick, and Molly Dutton Kenny. You may also find comfort in a support group.
9. Hold a Ceremony
Holding a ceremony can provide a space to hold your grief with others or alone. You may find closure in the experience. Ceremony can be something you decide for yourself, or you may choose to follow a more traditional ceremony. For example, you may wish to place some flowers in moving water or say a prayer. Some people choose to name their baby and in some cases, you may even choose a burial. In the mesoamerican tradition, after postpartum bleeding ends, doulas or sobadoras host a closing ceremony where the birthing person’s hips are bound. If you’re looking for this kind of support, check with Indigemama or Quetzal Doula.
10. Share Your Story
It’s ok if you don’t want to talk about it. But if you do, you have options. Talking with a friend or family member can feel supportive. You may be surprised to learn how many people you know have also experienced miscarriage (it is estimated nearly one in four pregnancies ends in miscarriage). You may feel more comfortable sharing your story with strangers, even anonymously, through online groups. Sometimes it’s easier to tell a stranger than it is to face the reactions of people we know.
11. Communicate with Your Partner
Miscarriage is complicated. You and your partner may have the same or varying feelings about it. Some people feel closer with their partners during miscarriage, but many feel isolated. While you are the person physically going through it, your partner has feelings about the loss, too. It may be hard to hold space for them in the moment, and it’s ok. Most importantly, keep talking with them. Keep sharing what you are both feeling.
It’s especially important to review your pregnancy intentions. Even in couples who are actively trying to conceive, it’s very common for one or both partners to wish to avoid pregnancy for some time after a miscarriage. Talking openly about this as your intentions waver or change is very important, especially once you begin having intercourse again.
12. Gentle Self-Care
Be kind to yourself. Do things to make you feel as comfortable as possible. It’s ok to watch a movie in bed. If you can, book a massage or ask your partner for one. Do some gentle yoga or a guided meditation. Read a book. Whatever you like to do to relax, do it. Give yourself lots of time for these experiences.
13. Vaginal Steaming
Vaginal steaming or yoni steaming is the practice of steaming herbs and letting the steam flow over the vulva. This is an old practice in many cultures and recently, a small study was published showing that steaming may be particularly beneficial during the postpartum period. You can find a virtual steam facilitator to walk you though it or choose a DIY experience if you prefer. Some further resources: Mystic Momma, Celestial Body, and Moon Essence.
14. (When Possible) Prepare
Obviously, miscarriage is often unexpected. But those of us who continue charting, especially temperature, into pregnancy may have a warning sign of impending miscarriage. Some ways to prepare: stock up on menstrual care supplies, organize a meal train or prepare some meals for yourself, reach out to your network or contact a support person, arrange for childcare or pet care, make a list of ways you’d like to be supported and give it to your partner.
It can feel difficult to ask for what you need. You may feel uncomfortable or even undeserving of the care you are asking for. This perspective may be helpful: at the end of any pregnancy, regardless of gestation length, we go through a postpartum period. Miscarriage begins a postpartum period. Think of the care we associate with new parents. When your friend gave birth, you may have cleaned their house, picked up groceries, or cooked a meal. People going through miscarriage are entitled to the same support, love, and care. It’s ok to ask for what you need.
Michele offers one-on-one classes for natural birth control, conception, menstrual wellness, and achieving hormonal balance. She is also donation-based distance birth control doula support. You can find her through her website or over on Instagram.