How to get over the distress of a miscarriage and stop being fearful of further loss
Like many aspects of infertility, I think the depth of emotional distress often experienced with miscarriage is not really acknowledged by people who’ve not experienced it.
There is grief. Grieving the loss of the baby you were so emotionally connected to from day one.
There can be guilt and blame. Perhaps blaming yourself for not doing X, Y or Z or for being too stressed.
Then there is the fear of it happening again. This is often the most significant. You move past the grief but the fear lingers on and doesn’t seem to pass.
There is research demonstrating how the stress levels of women experiencing re-occurring miscarriages are higher than those that don’t. Yes, kind of obvious. But it demonstrates, left unchecked, the distress can create a self-fulfilling prophecy.
This was also the perspective of a Professor of Obstetrics I met at The British Fertility Society conference.
So what can do you about the fear of it happening again? It comes down to understanding the true cause of fear.
We are not scared of what we think we are scared of, we are scared of what we think. It’s the thought of something bad happening that creates fear. Your thinking provides all the evidence for why it could happen again. The fear is wanting to prevent you from experiencing distress all over again.
This is thought at this moment. You can’t feel the past, it doesn’t exist. There is no such thing as mental scar tissue. Your experience is created by thought at this moment.
You can’t feel the future because it doesn’t exist. And nothing can predict the future, not even your thinking with all the plausible evidence it gathers.
The more we can see fear for what it is then we don’t need to be scared of it.
It’s not about never feeling it. Or even having to manage your stress. You can’t stop your feelings. You can’t control your thoughts. They are like a weather system. They are spontaneous. And we don’t need to control it or avoid it because fear is not the problem. It’s the fear of having fear.
What if there were no such things as ‘good’ or ‘bad’ emotions?
Emotion is thought being expressed in your nervous system at this moment, nothing else. Emotions know nothing about your life or your future. All they know is how much thinking you’ve got in this moment. When we see them for that they are we don’t need to be scared of our emotions or even judge them as good or bad.
When we get emotions like hope or excitement we don’t worry about having those emotions. They are future thinking just like fear. They are imagination just like fear. They can’t predict the future any more than fear. However, we don’t worry about having those emotions.
We don’t take any meaning from them. We notice them, feel them, and they move on.
But when we feel anxiety or fear, even though it’s the same thing, imagination, we think it means something, we go on a journey with it. It hangs around longer, gets stronger and we move further and further away from reality and perspective.
What if you can know you are OK whatever you are feeling? Feelings are memories being projected out in the future in our imagination. Nothing more than that. They don’t know anything about you, your body, your ability to have a healthy pregnancy, the future.
What if you didn’t need to be scared of your fear? You can’t stop it, you don’t need to, you just need to see it for what it is. The misuse of imagination. Notice it but don’t go beyond noticing it.
Ride the waves of emotion because your true self knows what they are. Your innate wellbeing acts like a surfboard.