If you’ve suffered a miscarriage, then you understand the devastation that takes over your world. You understand the confusion of wondering what happened to your baby or why your body failed you. You wanted that baby more than anything in the world and somehow that dream was taken from you. After some time passes and you begin to heal, you may dream of getting pregnant again, but fear and guilt can take over. You may feel you’re not honoring the lost baby if you have another. You might wonder over and over how will you ever be brave enough to try again after miscarriage?
These are very normal responses and emotions but please know the fear doesn’t have to hold you back.
The Fear Is Real
After having my second miscarriage, I thought there must something wrong with me. I began seeing a different OB shortly after and was diagnosed with “undiagnosed recurrent miscarriages”. Brilliant. Super helpful, right? And so began my official fertility journey.
Over the next year my life was consumed with doctor appointments, injections, diet changes, detoxing my household and my body, decreasing my stress, and taking tons of supplements and hormones. All of these steps were part of the process to have my dream baby.
All of these steps I could also control, so I poured my entire self into each step. I was so determined and really thought at times that if I did everything “right” I would finally have my baby. I was still not sure how to be brave enough to try again after miscarriage but I dove in anyway.
Third Time Wasn’t a Charm
After many months we were finally ready, physically and emotionally, to take the next big step. We were going to try IUI (Intrauterine insemination). We knew the odds of getting pregnant on the first IUI treatment were low, but we couldn’t help but be hopeful.
Our results came in and…….tada-I was pregnant! I was elated and shocked. I planned a special way to surprise my husband and the dreams and planning took off. The emotions were too strong, I couldn’t help it.
However, after several months, the baby was determined to be “not viable” and I had the harsh reality that I would not be holding my baby……again.
Oh my was this time especially difficult. I know everyone is different and responds their own way to miscarriages but this time it shook me to my core. I was not able to chalk it up to “it wasn’t meant to be”. This was a dark time for me.
I share these details not only to shed some light on the devastation that happens with miscarriage but also to share some insight as to why immense FEAR builds up and causes so much anxiety to those who have suffered a miscarriage or recurrent miscarriages.
After our third miscarriage, when I knew that I had done everything “right” and still the efforts did not produce our miracle baby, I was done. I thought there was no way I was ever going to be brave enough to try again. How could I possibly go through this pain over and over? But something inside of me wasn’t ready to give up completely.
Be Brave Enough to Try Again After Miscarriage
Our third miscarriage was right before Christmas, which is an especially painful time when you’re trying to conceive. So much about the holidays are focused around children and children’s activities. I was at an exceptionally low point and was just ready for the new year. Ready to say good bye (or more like screw you) to 2015.
I will never forget the moment I opened a tiny package from a good friend, who had also had difficulty conceiving but was finally successful. This simple but incredibly powerful plaque stated “Be Brave Enough to Try Again.” These six little words brought tears streaming down my eyes.
There it was. All that I had been through made me courageous. I was brave. During my journey, I had never thought of myself in this way. I was so focused on what I wasn’t, that I never took a minute to realize what I was. These words made me feel like maybe I could do this. Maybe I could try again.
It was literally the very next day that I began my journey to overcome my fear and truly find a way to be brave enough to try again after miscarriage.
Overcoming the Fear
As I have mentioned before, I am a research nerd. I search the crap out of everything. One of the most powerful resources I found to help with my fear and anxiety, was a book recommended to me titled, The Miracle of Mindfulness: An Introduction to the Practice of Meditation by Thich Nhat Hanh. Like many people, I am not great at meditating, but what I loved about this book was that it forced me try to remain in the present.
A simple exercise that I performed many times a week when the fear would escalate involved breathing. Yep, good ‘ol breathing. Thich Nhat Hanh states that ” whenever your mind becomes scattered, use your breath as the means to take hold of your mind again”. He walks you through the effective way to remain present while breathing and connecting your body to your thoughts.
Take hold of your breath in the following manner: “Be ever mindful as you breathe in and mindful as you breathe out. Breathing in a long breath, think, ‘I am breathing in a long breath.’ Breathing out a long breath, think, ‘I am breathing out a long breath.’ Breathing in a short breath, think, ‘I am breathing in a short breath.’ Breathing out a short breath, think, ‘I am breathing out a short breath.'”
Performing this way of breathing allows you to only focus on one thing, your breathing. You can no longer fill your head with a million thoughts and fear. I found this to be a little awkward at first but soon I no longer had to think about the words. When my heart started racing or I was panicked or really deep in my sad emotions, I would begin breathing like this and immediately my body and mind would calm.
It wasn’t until after my third miscarriage I realized that I had not truly grieved my other two babies. Of course I had been devastated, but I did not take the time to acknowledge all that was lost with each of my babies. I tried to move on and focus on the future. But something was so different with the third baby. Perhaps it was compounded grief from the multiple losses or the fact that I had done so much to get everything “right” this time.
Regardless of the reason, I needed to acknowledge that my feelings, my grief and my babies were all very real.
A very dear friend of mine gave me one of these beautiful Angel Sweet Pea necklaces. When I opened the box my breath was taken away. Inside was this necklace with three little pearls in a pea pod. Three little pearls that represented my three babies. This was the first tangible item I had to represent my little angels.
With the necklace came this touching card:
Remember Me, Your Sweet Pea
In life I loved you dearly. In death I love you still.
In my heart you hold a place no one can ever fill.
It broke my heart to lose you, but you didn’t go alone.
For a part of me went with you, the day God took you home.
Wearing this necklace allowed me to touch and feel something when I was sad or afraid of trying again. I could rub the pearls and feel a connection to my babies. I found this to be very relaxing and therapeutic.
Whether you wear a necklace, create a memory box or whatever feels right for you, it is so important to acknowledge the loss of your baby and truly grieve the life you carried in order to be brave enough to try again after miscarriage.
During this process of healing I also realized that I needed to do something to take me away from feeling lost and depressed all the time. I needed something to make me dig deep. To try to find some peace, even if I didn’t always want to.
I was never a journal type of person but I researched (of course) and found a few journals that were actually written for miscarriage or child loss. I took a chance and found one that really pushed me and helped me to refocus my negative energy and begin healing.
The journal I used is no longer available, but this journal, Angel Book: A Baby Loss Journal is very similar. I needed prompts but also wanted free space to just write on my worst days.
I know that journaling is so personal so I have also provided a list of journals with helpful questions you can use to help you find a journal that meets your emotional needs best. If you are thinking this is not for you, I encourage to just try. Take a chance, try this for one week. You may be completely surprised at how impactful writing your thoughts, emotions and pain can really be.
The final step I had to take to be brave enough to try again after miscarriage, was to learn how to love myself again and forgive my broken body. I took time to truly build myself back up again. I needed to do this to be strong enough to take on this challenge again. To break through the hatred and anxiety I had developed over the years.
This part might seem the scariest for you and the most difficult, I know it was for me. But please know that the fear and anxiety you have been growing inside of you during your journey needs to be released.
You can free yourself.
You can heal.
You are brave enough to try again.
Wherever you are in your journey, I know it is hard and terrifying. I have provided a few ideas and tips that truly helped me find my courage and take the next step forward. Dig deep and discover what is holding you back. Write down your thoughts, acknowledge those fears, and conquer them head on.
You never know what could be just around the corner……a beautiful rainbow baby.
Please share how you conquered your fears and were brave enough to try again after miscarriage. This is a place for support and encouragement.
P.S. You can learn more about forgiving your broken body after miscarriage by reading my detailed post here.
Here is the link for the plaque I mention Be Brave Enough to Try Again mini plaque