Today, six days after I found out about my silent miscarriage, I stumbled across this amazingly upbeat post on Netmums from a woman who has had a far worse time then me and it got me thinking about coping techniques. So I've put together a plan with the idea that as each step gets ticked off I will feel one step closer to getting back to me again. Some of it I've already done, but it feels right to write it as if I was back at the beginning again.
- Step 1 - Take the first few days to grieve. Cry, eat chocolate, keep topped up on pain meds. Read about miscarriage online and take comfort from other women's experiences. Writing down the whole story was the first thing I did that made me feel a tiny bit better. I've re-read that blog post many many times, it's a comfort to re-live the events in an orderly manner rather then have them bouncing around. I haven't yet been able to read it without a few tears, but it feels good and more in control then just letting those powerful memories overpower me.
- Step 2 - Take the time to let your body adjust. It's terribly cruel that straight after the operation outwardly you look no different. My bump was still there, large and hard and I read that it could take at least 4 weeks for it to disappear. On day five it lost the hardness and although still there it is already smaller. The winter coat I could only do up the top button on fits again. I want to get back to being fit and healthy again so have signed up for a 6 week Pilates course starting in 2 weeks time
- Step 3 - Don't feel guilty about enjoying the things you've missed. There's a balance to find to help feel normal again. Having coffee is a nice to have, I'm not drinking as much as I did pre-pregnancy but buying a full latte rather then a decaf now feels like a treat. The house had got into a bit of a state, so I'm embracing all the chemicals I'd been avoiding whilst pregnant and having a spring clean. Even catching up on the blog posts I'd missed was good and I've starting dipping into my own blog at random to discover memories of Charlie that I had forgotten. There's also a bottle of red waiting for when I feel ready.
- Step 4 - Take this time to focus on you. I've mentioned Pilates and I've booked a hair cut for tomorrow. One big issue for me is that without the baby I can't bear to wear any of my maternity clothes or the things I wore to disguise the bump at work. So I am going to buy some in-betweeny clothes, not maternity in cut but a bigger size whilst I wait (and work) for my tummy to shrink back down. These can also been seen as an investment because when we cross that pregnancy bridge again (and we will once we can face it) I will have some larger sized clothing to wear in the stage before needing maternity clothes. Even just looking at clothing sites online has given me a mini project to focus on as I decide which colours and looks to go for.
- Step 5 - Read a good book. Reading is a big thing for me but it's also incredibly relaxing if you're facing time alone as you adjust to your loss. I'm reading Ada's Rules because it's what happened to be on my shelf, but am finding a lot of comfort in it. The story of a large American lady trying to lose weight is uplifting, takes my mind off my own life and is also inspirational as she also has a goal to reach. My favourite tip from the book so far has been 'Fake it to Make it', until everything feels better again, I will put on a smile and pretend that it already is.
- Step 6 - Start making contact with friends, family and colleagues. When this first happened the only people I could bear to see face to face were my husband and son. Email, text and FB messaging have been a good way to tell the news. We've selected the people we tell and I can take a deep breath before reading their replies, or stop and come back to it later when I feel strong enough. One week after we first found out I'm now tentatively making plans to face people. I've been in touch with work, and will go back for a one day week this Thursday, I'm picking dates 2 or 3 months away to meet up with friends who live a long way away and am tentatively organising a play date for the weekend.