After a miscarriage, you expect to feel sadness. You expect to feel empty. But you don’t necessarily expect to feel so much anger related to your grief. For some women, it’s actually all they feel.
In this episode, I share:
- all the expected and unexpected places that anger might show up after a loss
- the reason it’s difficult to let it go
- what we’ve learned to do to try to manage anger and why it doesn’t work
- the real key to releasing it
I know from clients and online support groups that a lot of women feel a lot of anger after a loss. There are so many things to be angry at. Here are some of the things I’ve heard:
1. The doctor or hospital – for not being sensitive enough, for mismanaging the process, treating you like a statistic.
I’ve had both positive and negative experiences.
I remember after I had my first loss, sitting in the OBGYN’s office waiting room. I sat there for over an hour amongst all these pregnant women and women with newborns and I was so angry. For having to wait for so long to begin with, but then to wait among all those pregnant women. I was furious.
My own MD was not a warm and fuzzy kind of person either but I kind of just accepted him. One day during the aftermath of my first loss, he went on vacation and another doctor on the team, whom I had never met, had to call me with some results. He was so gentle and compassionate, it almost took my breath away. In the few weeks after my loss, I hadn’t been treated that way by any of the ultrasound technicians, doctors or staff I had come into contact with. And they were many.
2. Your co-workers – managing co-workers is a tough one. You may not have even told them all that you were pregnant and the ones you have told, don’t know how to behave.
They either don’t talk about it at all to you, because they’re afraid of upsetting you at work, or they say the wrong thing. Maybe they don’t understand the gravity of it and pass it off as something you’ll get over in a matter of a day.
3. Your friends and family – this is SO common. Either they don’t support you at all, some may say the wrong thing. Some may even tell you to just get over it and move on (your parents generation).
I remember feeling a bit put off by my mother in law. She experienced a miscarriage herself and yet, when I had mine, she didn’t say a word to me. She’s a very private person and likely assumed I was the same and would be embarrassed to talk about it. I do love my mother-in-law, but I was quite miffed and confused at the time.
4. Your partner – this is probably the most common source of anger that I see in my business. Your partner doesn’t understand your grief and so he or she says the wrong thing. He tells you to get over it. He doesn’t remember the due date or birthdate. He’s not sensitive about mother’s day or holidays.
5. Your body – many women become angry with their bodies after a miscarriage. You’re not alone if you’re feeling this way.
There are so many reasons to be: it has let you down, it hasn’t performed the way you always thought it would. Maybe you gained weight and that feels like more distress on top of your loss. Maybe you’re now experiencing infertility so there’s more loss and your body just won’t do what you want it to. You feel a lack of control and it’s frustrating.
I felt this way after my losses. I felt very disappointed in my body and very separate from it.
There are common sources of anger after a miscarriage, but you may not even be able to pinpoint what you’re angry at or even realize that you are angry. You might have random outbursts at things that you would normally have just let go. You’re more sensitive, irritable.
I have a private Facebook group, but I’m also a member of another group for miscarriage support that has been flagged three times in 2 days for hate speech and inciting violence. All of it was sparked by just women venting together in the comments.
Letting off steam in a FB group or venting can feel good for a moment or two, but at the end of it, you are still left with the same anger you started with.
From my experience, there are a few reasons why you’re feeling this kind of pain, this anger.
- There’s a feeling of a lack of control over your body that is frustrating
- There’s a separation from the people around you that makes you feel alone and misunderstood
- You have expectations about how the people around you should behave – the things they should say or how they should support you and when they don’t, it leaves you frustrated and hurt
- There may also be a physical component – hormones are still off balance
No one really likes to feel angry. It’s a heavy emotion and it impacts not only you but everyone around you. It has a ripple effect on the world. I know that you want to feel peace. You want to feel light. You want to move through your anger and get to joy and happiness. That’s what feels good.
The key to letting go of anger
It can be hard to let go of anger. I believe it’s one of the toughest emotions to let go of.
When you feel angry, your ego kicks in – and I don’t mean ego in a bad way. It’s the ego that protects you. It tries to make you feel more powerful and justified, righteous. But it can also keep you stuck in an emotion.
The ego will tell us that staying angry at someone means we have power over them. We feel like we’re in the right.
We’re taught that venting makes you feel better. The words itself – blowing off steam, venting – they all suggest a sense of letting go.
But when you talk about how you’ve been hurt by someone or something someone has said and that person agrees and relates, what actually happens? The person you’ve shared with actually fuels your feeling of power and being right. They fuel your anger. After your venting session, you actually feel just as bad as when you started.
This is normal. We all do it. I do it. But now I notice it. I’m aware of how it makes me feel. And then I make another choice.
The key to feeling better is forgiveness. We’re taught from the time we’re kids on the playground, that forgiving is giving up our power. But it’s actually the opposite. It’s taking our power back. When you stay angry at someone or a situation, you are giving that person your power. When you let go, you are lifted up.
Sometimes it’s tempting to hold your forgiveness over their head. It makes you feel a sense of power. Like it’s yours to give. But it only makes you continue to feel angry when you don’t forgive and let go.
This is the key to feeling better – forgive. Forgive your body. Your partner. Your co-workers. The doctor or nurses. Let go.
If you’re not quite ready to loosen your grip on your anger, don’t try to forgive just yet. Just contemplate the feeling of freedom. The freedom of letting go.
If you’d like to learn more about HOW to forgive, download my free guide to releasing triggers below and join my private Facebook community.
References from this episode: