ARTICLES

Love our Articles? Be the first one to read our newest Articles.

Looking Ahead after a Traumatic experience : Miscarriage

17 Mar 2015

 

A traumatic experience like miscarriage can be very difficult to cope with. Why did this happen? Did you think you did everything right yet things went wrong? How can holding on to this problem might become a bigger problem? What are the conditions that can make dealing with this trauma more difficult? How can you move on from this? How can you prepare yourself better for the next time? We can help surely help you with all the above.

Miscarriage is loss of pregnancy within first 20 weeks of conception.  According to the March of Dimes, as many as 50% of all pregnancies end in miscarriage even before a woman misses a menstrual period or even knows she is pregnant. About 15% of recognized pregnancies will end in a miscarriage.

Why does miscarriage happen?

Most of the time, a mother is not responsible for miscarriage. Miscarriages, especially during the first trimester, are said to happen due to genetic or chromosome abnormalities within the child which causes degeneration of development. And for most women, miscarriage doesn’t mean they can’t conceive again. Yes,they can have healthy and successful pregnancies again. Some of the factors that may have contributed to miscarriage are laid out here:

 

  1. Infection like rubella, HIV, clamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, malaria, cytomegalovirus, toxoplasmosis, bacterial vaginosis
  2. Exposure to environmental and workplace hazards such as high levels of radiation or toxic agents
  3. Hormonal problems
  4. Uterine abnormalities like abnormal shape or non cancerous outgrowths like fibroids.
  5. Incompetent or weakened cervix (the muscles of cervix are weak which begin to widen and open too early, in the middle of pregnancy, without signs of pain or labor)
  6. Lifestyle factors such as smoking, drinking alcohol, or using illegal drugs
  7. Obesity
  8. Disorders of the immune system, including lupus
  9. Severe kidney disease
  10. Congenital heart disease
  11. Diabetes that is not controlled
  12. Thyroid disease
  13. Radiation
  14. Certain medications, such as the retinoids (acne drug Accutane), non steroidal anti inflammatory drugs etc.
  15. Severe malnutrition
  16. Polycystic ovary syndrome(larger ovaries than normal)

What doesn’t causes miscarriage?

  1. Experiencing shock or fright during pregnancy
  2. Exercising (Of course you must consult a professional to make sure what exercises are appropriate)
  3. Working during pregnancy
  4. Having sex during pregnancy.

      Emotional effects of miscarriage:

  • Grief
  • Anger
  • Anxiety
  • Panic
  • Shock
  • Feelings of emptiness and incompleteness
  • Feelings of hopelessness
  • Feelings of worthlessness
  • Shame
  • Sense of loneliness or isolation
  • Loss of self confidence

 

The psychological consequences when the above emotional reactions prolongs and remains unchecked:

  • 50% of miscarrying women suffer some form of psychological morbidity in the weeks and months after loss (Lok & Neugebauer, 2007).
  • 40% of miscarrying women suffered from grief symptoms and pathological grief can follow
  • Elevated anxiety
  • Major depressive disorder(10-50%)
  • Generalized anxiety disorder
  • Panic disorder
  • Compulsive behavior
  • Alcohol or drug abuse
  • Eating disorder
  • Insomnia
  • Daily functioning difficulties like self grooming or inability to work
  • Strained relationships at family and work
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Social withdrawal

Conditions which aggravate the risk of psychological morbidity following miscarriage:

  • History of psychiatric illness
  • Childless
  • Lack of social support
  • Poor marital adjustment
  • Prior pregnancy loss
  • Ambivalence toward the fetus
  • Later stage of pregnancy when the miscarriage happened.

Some Coping strategies if you or someone you know has been through Miscarriage

Begin the emotional healing process: Express, grieve and project your feeling and emotion. That is the only way you can accept what happened, and when you can accept, you will be able to move on. Crying as well as verbally and non-verbally expressing your emotions is effective and important. Arrange a funeral for the baby, write down a memorial or simply plant a tree as a memory of the one you lost. You can draw comfort from your religion/spiritual beliefs –follow mourning rituals and indulge in spiritual activities. Don’t box it up, let it all out. Write down about all of your pregnancy related experiences and feelings in a journal or even on a blog in you want to. Pent up feelings and suppression of your pain harms you as well as people around you. You can sign up for "crisis debriefing" within the first 2-3 weeks after the miscarriage, where you can discuss about your feelings about what happened, have the factual information on ‘what went wrong’ and that you were not responsible for any of it. Resources for further emotional support can be searched out, within and outside the family and social structure.

Take care of yourself:  Exercise, eat and sleep healthily. Maintain a schedule to monitor your daily routines oriented towards a healthy living. Eating nutritious meals, exercising or walking and sleeping on time are important to battle fatigue and stress. Stay away from substance abuse in attempts to artificially trying to lift your moods. Healthy mind dwells in a healthy body.

Avoid isolation: Choose support instead of isolation. This time can be emotionally taxing for your partner as well and miscommunication with him can lead to marital discord making the situation worse. Seek out your partner and discuss your feelings with him, let him know about how you feel and you’ll know he feels too. Engage in joint activities like going for a movie or having a nice dinner out. Move towards friends and family members too for support. You can talk to anybody you like, who will listen and understand. It can be your teacher, your parent, your sibling, your best friend or your grandparent.

Engage yourself in other self-growth promoting activities like watch positive movies and documentaries, read inspirational books and poetries, pursue a hobby you are passionate about and focus on positive things with them

Make Good Use of your time: When we have experienced a recent loss –death of a loved one, our motivation to do things we once liked and enjoyed often decreases. You may find that you give up things you once enjoyed like your hobbies. This can lead you to feel even worse and a cycle can begin which is difficult to escape from.

Use a diary to plan your day and week and so on. This will help you do much more than you expect and help you feel confident and lift your moods

When completing your diary, start by filling in all the activities that are compulsory activities for example, preparing meals, doing housework etc.

This will help you see the free time you get after and in between your compulsory activities. In these time slots you can begin to plan other activities that you would like to do like taking up gardening or a driving lesson etc.  Remember to give yourself space to be busy or take time out to relax. You may find it helpful to plan in some time for:

  • Socialising.
  • Hobbies and interests
  • Exercise
  • Bedtimes -
  • Time for yourself -

To help prepare a list of things you would like to do make a list of ideas like visit a friend or cook something special etc…then try and add this in your daily schedule. You could begin with just one activity one day and slowly increase it to two or three such activities as and when you feel motivated to do it.

Don't worry if unexpected things come up and you cannot stick to it exactly. In fact, it is very unlikely that things will go exactly as you planned. It is also fine to be flexible and replace some activities with new ones. Try to be relaxed if this happens.

We hope that you found some of the ideas in our list of tips useful. You may find or feel that some of the ideas are not particularly helpful at first so it is perhaps worth sticking with them for a few weeks to give them a chance to work.

You may continue to use the techniques you found helpful long into the future and they should continue to benefit you.

Join support group: If you think you can’t talk to somebody you know, and you lack support, you can always join various support groups that exist where others who have gone through the same trauma that you have. You can share, find yourself and connect there. You are not alone.

Spiritual associations: You can resolve to different faith or a faith of your choice to calm you down. Connecting with your spiritual self, praying and believing in a source of eternal power helps

Plan next when you are ready: Most women can have successful and healthy pregnancies after having a miscarriage, even after recurrent miscarriage. So, you can always try again. Talk to your obstetrician/ gynecologist before trying for conceiving again. You may already know the causes from the last and try to take care of it when you’re planning again. You can do a lot of things by yourself to have a successful conception such as:

Detoxify: Get rid of body toxins and other harmful metabolites,     boosting health into uterus.

Healthy diet: Prepare your body before conception with the right diet and build up nutrient storage for the baby. Take some specific nutrient supplements before conception like Vitamin B complex, folic acid and essential fatty acids like omega 3 fatty acid to boost fertility.

Apply fertility massage: Getting regular professional massage to increase circulation of uterus can be beneficial to having healthy pregnancy.

If it comes to the worst case, that you may not be able to conceive, with all the technological advances there are a number of other options available such as in vitro fertilization, pregnancy through surrogacy or adoption. Consult an infertility specialist in that case. It is never the end of the world.

Seek professional help: When you fail to cope yourself despite your genuine attempts, you can always find mental health professionals/counsellors to help you out.If you still feel your situation remains largely unchanged post trying these self help tips then you should seek professional guidance from a psychologist or a doctor who can tell you about the other options available which you could find helpful.

Psychotherapy:

Grief counseling: According to Dr. Ken Doka, writer and lecturer in grief and loss, the heart of grief counseling lies in validation as what the grieving individuals need the most is reassurance that whatever they are experiencing is normal. Grief Counselors can help people assess, identify and analyse the ways they are reacting. Grief Counselling offers a safe, empathetic relationship with the counselor to guide the aggrieved through the stages of anger, sadness, justifying, letting go, and to with deal the emotions you have after your loss like emptiness, numbness, disbelief, depression, anger or guilt. It will help you with :

Learning to accept that the loss HAS happened  and is for real

Feeling OK about experiencing the emotional pain related to loss

Adjusting to living without the departed soul as there would be a loss of shared activities making your life feels emptier.

Finding a safe place in your heart and memories for your departed loved one, and motivate yourself to move on with life without guilt or any other negative emotion.

Another form of psychotherapy is Cognitive behavioral grief therapy which is effective in healthy adaptation to loss following death. It replaces maladaptive thoughts with rational adaptive thoughts.

Social skills training and life skills training are effective too.

Medication: In case of depression and post traumatic stress disorder, anti depressants and anti anti-anxiety drugs are given temporarily to subside the symptoms and speed up recovery. See a psychiatrist if you feel like your symptoms persist over a long time and interfere with your daily activities.

 

 ePsyClinic.com 's Mental Health Care experts are here to help you and the service is completely Online. Please Visit http://epsyclinic.com/Common/Counselors to Browse our Mental health care professionals or www.epsyclinic.com to check our service areas and also Register here for free 


Tags: #miscarriage #hopelessness #hope #despair #sad #shocked #depressed #worthless #coping #liiving