As many of you know, I had a miscarriage in July. So many amazing people reached out on Instagram to support me and share their stories. I’m so grateful that social media can be a tool to unite people during trying times. One of the brave people who got in touch with me is a psychologist, Dr. Sunita Osborn. She joined me on my podcast, WITH WHIT, this week and we shared an incredible conversation. Below are words from Dr. Osborn about the episode and her new book, The Miscarriage Map: What to Expect When You Are No Longer Expecting.
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A Note From Dr. Osborn
This week on WITH WHIT, I had the opportunity to sit down with Whitney and discuss a topic that is rarely talked about but is painfully common: miscarriage.
When Whitney first shared about her experience of miscarriage months ago, I was struck by her honesty and vulnerability. She not only gave space to a subject that is so rarely discussed, but also spoke to the broad spectrum of reactions we can have after a miscarriage. You may feel devastated, numb, angry, relieved, sad, or, most likely, some messy combination of all of the above. I say this multiple times in my book, “The Miscarriage Map: What To Expect When You Are No Longer Expecting,” and I’ll say it here: It’s okay to not be okay and throw “normal” right out the window. Also, miscarriage fucking sucks. Period.
Whitney and I took a deep dive into the topic of miscarriage and discussed the emotional and physical rollercoaster that follows a miscarriage and all the ways to take care of yourself along this bumpy journey including:
- Engage in all the self-care: Journaling, therapy (both individual and couples), and any other activity that focuses on making and taking space for yourself.
- Allow yourself to feel what you are feeling without trying to “fix” it or get rid of it: Think of your feelings as quicksand. When you struggle to get out of quicksand, you sink in deeper while acceptance and compassion allows you to float to the surface.
- Allow this to be YOUR experience: Your healing is just that – yours. Your reaction may look different than your partner’s or anyone else’s and that is okay because there is no “right” way to respond after a miscarriage.
- Find community: Listening to the stories of those who have walked this journey before can be incredibly healing. Podcasts, books, and online support groups offer beautiful platforms to hear and share your stories.
We touch on this many times in the episode, but following miscarriage, or really any kind of loss, we need our people’s support! But having conversations about miscarriage can be challenging for both the person sharing as well as the listener. Here are some ideas to help you navigate both sides of this conversation.
For the listener:
- Ask open-ended questions: You can connect by showing curiosity about their experiences.
- Mirror their reality: Whey they say “This sucks,” say “Yes, it completely sucks.” No silver linings unless they ask for them.
- Respect their experience: Miscarriage can feel very differently for different people. Be curious about their reaction by asking “What does this mean to you?”
- Get consent: If you would like to offer any advice, ask for permission first.
For the sharer:
- Share what you DO need, not what you don’t need: Our loved ones want to help, but they don’t always know how. Help them help you by sharing what you need from them. Be as explicit as you can (e.g., I need you to listen, hold my hand, and say “This is really hard.”).
- Be protective of your energy: Sometimes it helps to share, but sometimes it can be draining to share your story over and over again. It’s okay to say “I appreciate you asking, but I would rather talk about something else right now.”
It’s easy to feel alone after a miscarriage. It’s easy to question the impact of this life-changing event when it’s so rarely discussed. There has been a veil of silence and secrecy around miscarriage for centuries. By reading this article, by listening to this podcast, you are helping in breaking the silence. Whether you have personally experienced miscarriage or know someone who has, let’s keep breaking silences and contributing to the dialogue around miscarriage.
– Dr. Osborn