It’s hard to know if you’ve healed emotionally after a loss. When you’re in it, you can’t see the forest for the trees. In this episode, I help you take a step back to get some perspective on where you’re at emotionally. I’ll share 5 questions to ask yourself that will help you to determine if you have more work to do on your journey.
Have a listen, or read the transcript below. Scroll down for references and links from this episode.
You may not be crying regularly anymore since your miscarriage, but that doesn’t mean you’ve healed. In fact, if you’re like me, I didn’t really cry at all in the beginning. I thought I was fine. But boy was I wrong.
I remember renting a cottage with my family for a week about 6 or 7 weeks after my first miscarriage. It’s only in hindsight, looking back on that week, that I realize how unwell I truly was. I was irritable and angry. I wasn’t sad, but neither could I feel joy or excitement either.
At the time, I thought I was fine.
What tends to happen after any loss, is a couple of things. First of all, it’s hard to see the forest for the trees. Sometimes, it’s only someone looking in from the outside that can see the pain that you’re in or notice the emotional and corresponding behavioural changes in you.
Second, sometimes all that’s happened over time is that you’ve adjusted to the pain. I’ve talked about this before, so you may have heard this analogy before.
At first, right when your loss occurs, it’s a searing pain. A wound. Everything suddenly changes. Like a back injury. You put something out of alignment and it’s painful! If you don’t do something to help it heal (e.g. chiropractor, massage, acupuncture, physiotherapy), it eventually starts to fade into the background. Your body might do some of the healing itself. But It’s still there. It still hurts. It might feel a little better. But you adjust to the pain and don’t notice it as much.
Emotional pain is similar. It might fade into the background. You adjust to living with this new emptiness. But it hasn’t actually fully healed.
And here’s what happens if you don’t fully heal:
- You go into your next pregnancy with anxiety, afraid that it’ll happen again.
- Or you can’t get pregnant because you’re actually hanging on to a lot of grief. Your body won’t allow you to get pregnant when it feels this kind of stress
- Or grief resurfaces at the most inopportune times sometimes disguised as another emotion. Something triggers you at work and you lash out, something triggers you at a family gathering and you end up in a breakdown over spilled milk
- You become overly sensitive to things that wouldn’t have bothered you in the past
As I said before, it’s sometimes hard to see what’s going on inside of you when you’re in it. So I developed a few questions to ask yourself. Questions to help you identify if you still have more healing to do. Here they are:
1. Are you still feeling triggers – pregnancy announcements, birth announcements. Questions about having kids, having more kids, getting pregnant. If you’re still reacting with anger or irritation when you encounter these types of situations, you likely have some pain that you’re hanging on to.
2. Are you over-reacting to small things – feeling extra irritable and angry. If find yourself flying off the handle, making mountains out of molehills. This could be because you’re hanging on to some grief, or your hormones are out of whack – one can lead to the other
3. Are you stuck in decisions – afraid to get pregnant again, not sure if you should try IVF, not have kids at all etc. If you haven’t fully processed your grief, you may not be able to think clearly about the future. For example, some women are so afraid of having another loss that they can’t decide if they should start trying again. This is actually a fear of the pain of your previous loss, not a fear of getting pregnant. When you resolve and process the pain of your loss, you’ll be able to make decisions about your future because you won’t be making them out of fear.
4. Are you feeling numb – a lack of energy, low energy, lack of motivation low-grade depression. Sometimes a lack of emotion is a sign that you haven’t processed all the emotion stored up in your body. Tuning out, getting out of your body is something that is learned, usually from childhood, as a way of avoiding pain.
5. Are you showing any addictive behaviours – workaholism, alcohol, eating, sugar, netflix, social media. If you suddenly find yourself working crazy hours or bingeing on a box of cookies, it can be a sign that you’re using these things to get temporary relief from pain. These things make you feel better for a bit. But what they do is cover up the pain. It’s a band-aid solution. It doesn’t get at the underlying pain.
What to do instead? Actively work on healing. I teach this in my online program, 6 Step Journey to Emotional Healing After a Pregnancy Loss, and many of my other podcast episodes provide tips on how to heal. When you take control of your own emotional healing, you:
- will go into your next pregnancy feeling confident and excited
- allow yourself to acknowledge and release your pain on your terms
- will be able to envision your future, make decisions about your future that are based on your true inner desires, not fear
I have a free download available for you that will help you actively take control of your own healing process. It’s called The ultimate guide to healing any trigger – so if you’re someone who is feeling all the feels when someone announces a pregnancy – this is for you .
Schedule a call with me if you’d like to explore working with me or taking my online program. And as always, join me anytime over in my private FB community where you’ll find a very loving group of women who are all going through loss.
References from this episode: