Miscarriage is Postpartum: Understanding the Need for Physical and Emotional Healing
Pregnancy loss, unfortunately, is not an uncommon experience for many women. In fact, research shows that as many as 10-20% of all pregnancies end in miscarriage, with the majority occurring in the first trimester. Despite the frequency of this experience, however, miscarriage is often not fully understood or acknowledged for the physical and emotional toll it can take on the woman's body and overall well-being.
One of the main reasons why it is important to acknowledge miscarriage as postpartum is because, physiologically, a woman's body goes through many of the same changes and preparations for childbirth as it would in a live birth. Hormonal shifts and physical changes take place, such as the growth of the uterus and the development of the placenta. When a miscarriage occurs, the woman's body still has to undergo the process of shedding the uterine lining and healing from the physical effects of pregnancy. Therefore, like a woman who has given birth, a woman who has experienced a miscarriage needs time and support for physical healing and recovery.
Physical Rest and Healing
After a miscarriage, a woman's body may experience a range of physical symptoms that can vary in severity depending on the gestational age at which the loss occurred. Some women may experience heavy bleeding and cramping, while others may have more mild symptoms. Regardless, it's important for women to prioritise rest and limit physical activity as needed in order to allow their bodies to heal.
Post-miscarriage bleeding, also known as lochia, can last for several weeks, and it's important to monitor it to ensure it doesn't become too heavy or lead to complications. Additionally, women should avoid using tampons, douches, and having sexual intercourse until their doctors have cleared them to do so, typically after the bleeding has stopped.
In some cases, a woman may need medical treatment after a miscarriage to help remove any remaining tissue or manage complications such as infection or anemia. It's important for women to attend follow-up appointments with their healthcare providers and communicate any concerning symptoms they experience during their recovery.
In addition to physical healing, emotional healing is also an important part of the post-miscarriage experience. Women who experience pregnancy loss may feel a range of emotions, such as sadness, grief, anger, and guilt. These emotions can have a significant impact on mental health and well-being, and it's important for women to prioritise emotional healing and seek support if needed. Read my blog post here on applying the four seasons of life metaphor to navigating miscarriage and pregnancy loss.
Support can come in many forms, including talking to a trusted friend or family member, joining a support group, or seeking therapy with a mental health professional. It's important for women to find a safe and supportive space where they can express their feelings and work through the grieving process at their own pace. Some women may also find comfort in memorialising their lost pregnancy, such as through creating a memory box or planting a tree in honor of their baby.
Miscarriage is a devastating experience that affects countless women and their families each year. However, it's important to recognise that miscarriage is postpartum and that physical and emotional healing are both critical components of the recovery process. Women who experience pregnancy loss need support, understanding, and care as they navigate this difficult time. By acknowledging miscarriage as part of the postpartum experience, we can better support women and families who are grieving the loss of their pregnancy and help them find the resources they need to heal and move forward.
Book a Counselling Session with Crystal
Crystal provides individual and couple counselling. She specialises in Trauma, Attachment Theory, Perinatal Mental Health and Parenting Support. You can be supported in processing your trauma in a safe space to be seen and heard. Maybe you'd like to feel calmer and less triggered in your parenting, not worry so much about what others think of you, find more balance in meeting your own needs, figure out better communication skills, or just need someone to talk with who 'gets it'.