What to do after miscarriage is not part of what we learn yet as women. Even when we need to know. Our male world - which decides on what knowledge is worth teaching - is afraid to go there because, apart from advice as to what to do after miscarriage on the physical level, it doesn't have the answers.
As a result there is a pressure to 'get on with it' and many of us do just that. Or begin to focus immediately on getting pregnant after miscarriage - rather than giving ourselves time to be and come to terms with miscarriage grief .
But what to do after miscarriage matters, and there are things you can do to support yourself now - that will make a difference to you as a woman.
This audio and article below came about in response to a message I received from Heather in which she shared her sad news:
I found out on Friday that I have a blighted ovum and need to go back this week to discuss D & C (dilation and curettage) and cytotec.
I am feeling so sad. I am 44 and feel like giving up. Thank you for your time and consideration.
Heather, the first thing I would like to do is to give you a big, warm hug and thank you for reaching out. I get the sense that this is really going to your feminine core....
The best way I can show up for you through this post, is to invite you to care for yourself in the three following ways. Because all to often, the answer to questions around what to do after miscarriage has been "Nothing'. Do nothing.". And hundreds of thousands of women have obeyed - or done our best to.
In addition, due to our very many patriarchal commitments as women and mothers, we often feel that we cannot take the time to consider fully what to do after miscarriage. Or ponder on what we would love in this regard.
But I am going to reply as if you asked me what to do after miscarriage Heather - to ensure you are engaging your feminine wisdom here instead of playing out the old roles that have been assigned to us as women.
Before we go any further though, I want to honour too that miscarriage after 40 is additionally challenging because the idea of giving up on having a baby - as you mentioned - comes up for review. It may even feel like a twin loss of sorts (the pregnancy and the hope although the latter can return).
But Tip 1 -the first step I am inviting you to take Heather, is to allow yourself to be with this experience and to feel deeply what is really coming up for you. One way you can do that is just to be in your body. Let me illustrate what I mean. (You might find 'My Body's Feminine Wisdom Visualisation useful in this regard).
When I first read your story, I could really feel a pain in the base of my womb that felt like a great sigh - a deep sadness. This might not correspond with what is happening for you but I'm inviting you to scan through your body and notice where exactly you are feeling your sadness and any other fertility emotions emerging - along with a description of them.
For example, are the sensations draining, pulsing, penetrating, fluctuating, lingering etc.). Close your eyes and respond to the following in relation to each emotion. Does it have a colour now? Is it moving or stationary? Is there a taste or smell that comes up when you reflect on it. What weight might it be if you were to lift it? (Just respond with your first impressions).
In myself, with your story, I noticed pain in my throat as if something was blocking it - preventing me from expressing what is really going on. Does that resonate with you?
So my first suggestion around what to do after miscarriage, is to go through your beautiful body several times over the next few days, weeks and months. So you can be clear as to what you are feeling in the moment and over time.
Not alone will this prevent you from mulling over events in your mind and dealing with this from an intellectual (male) perspective, it will reveal to you important feminine information that can help you now.
Most of a woman's experience around miscarriage has taken place off the record Heather because it didn't deserve anything more. Together, with you and your baby, we are changing that. So Tip 2, the second step is to journal Heather. Record what is revealed to you as you feel deeply, what you notice as you proceed through your day and anything that seems significant for you now as you are going through this.
I recall during my second miscarriage (with Doireann), being in the back of my parents' car as they drove me to hospital. Lying down, I could see the sky above with wild, Irish clouds crashing by. And I kept saying to myself over and over "I'm under the shelf, I'm under the shelf".
It didn't make any sense, there was no logic to it apparently but somehow it was significant because I kept repeating it. Over and over - as the blue sky remained quietly consistent behind the frantic white-grey of that fateful morning in my fertility history.
Part of me judged that bright, blue constancy for being inappropriately cheerful. A deeper layer knew what it meant - the blinding bluster would pass eventually to reveal something bigger, brighter and even more beautiful. I wasn't ready for that though because I was still hoping that this pregnancy would continue.
With hands on keyboard now, a very kind woman from my teens comes to mind and I recall in particular a conversation in which she expressed concern that one of her daughters might be left 'on the shelf' - (i.e. unwanted - not chosen by a man to be his wife). We laughed but she was clearly relaying a truth that she had lived.
How does this relate to what to do after miscarriage? Well, this same courageous woman had lived through many, many miscarriages. Thirteen that she was aware of over the course of about a decade - prior to IVF arriving in Ireland, so these were unique pregnancies. (There may also have been situations where an embryo died before she detected that she was pregnant but she wasn't counting this possibility.)
In any event, I always felt a sadness when I heard her story. And now, what comes up for in relation to my own "under the shelf" rumination, is that miscarriage in patriarchy has been totally obliterated from the story of our human experience. Being 'left on the shelf' is a very visible patriarchal punishment - for women who don't make the mark.
Being 'under the shelf' reflects how women and our babies (miscarriages) have been buried in the cracks and crevices our homes and hearts - under that specially designated patriarchal shelf - upon which women of little value have been placed. Lest we forget who is to blame (see the meaning of miscarriage).
So although I meet you in your pain Heather, I am glad now as I write this. Not only because it has allowed me to mention that lovely woman, her babies and her story. But also, it is demonstrating how the feminine wisdom unfolding for you now Heather, may be revealed immediately or in years to come.
This insight had come up for me before, but was more of a pre-cognitive processing. I could have drawn it, but it hadn't quite developed into an understanding that I could articulate in sentences.
Your baby and sharing have facilitated this for me. You have helped me to understand my own process better and bring back into the circle parts of our feminine story that have been denied. I thank you both for that Heather. But there is one more point around what to do after miscarriage that can really serve you now.
Tip 3 is to decide to listen to your guidance now. If something is feeling nice and inviting, go towards that. But if there are opportunities presenting themselves that don't feel so good, don't feel obliged to engage there.
I recall during my miscarriage with Doireann, a woman calling me to say that she heard I was having a miscarriage and wanted to visit me. My response was "I don't think I am able for that" to which she replied "I want to see you". I really didn't have the strength to follow through on my desire to say no - and somewhere I felt it would be rude so she ended up called over.
That interaction went down a very negative path (for me), into stories about an 'infertile' friend. The whole event felt very aggressive as I was feeling so fragile and still having contractions. And it was like as if I was watching it in slow motion - seeing what was really going on behind the words. The truth is that for years, I had been questioning this relationship and whether there was genuine care there at all.
On reflection my feminine wisdom had no doubts - but patriarchal expectation 'required' me to consider her as a friend. And this is one of the many gifts that Doireann gave to me - crystal clarity that this woman is not interested at all in supporting or empowering me and has her own agenda. Thanks to that experience, I now have boundaries with her that feel really good.
So on the subject of what to do after miscarriage, my message is that in this process you will be receiving feedback about and validation of some of your intuitions - that you probably haven't taken fully on board until now.
I'm inviting you to be aware of them and to listen because you are being guided now into the next expression of the woman and mother you came here to be and there is very important information coming up for you now - even if it is not clear just yet.
You will be able to receive the wisdom and love pulsing through your relationship with your baby by engaging your feminine in these three ways over the days, weeks and months to come. Thank you for bringing your baby and your experience into our circle Heather, for broadening my understanding and co-creating a post from which thousands of women and babies will benefit!
I hope there was value in this for you and would love to hear your ideas and experience around what to do after miscarriage. Please share below because your feminine contribution here really, really matters.
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