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Self-Doubt & Self-Loathing: Harmful Relationship Cycles Following a Miscarriage

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“He’s going to leave me, for another woman, if I can’t give him children”

“This is my fault. He blames me”

“He’s so distant right now. He must not love me anymore.”

These are just a few of the dangerous, harmful musings that may plague our minds following a miscarriage. At a time when our minds and bodies are already riddled with heartache and trauma, abandoning self-care, to scrutinize and fear our partner’s grief is not just a self-injurious behavior, it is a self-perpetuating one that can irreparably eat away at the core of any relationship.

The preoccupation we have with our partners leaving us during these difficult times, can unknowingly lead to the very situation we fear. If we are wholly focused on interpreting every quiet moment, every solitary walk, every late-night working, as our partner not wanting us and our damaged bodies, we contribute three-fold to poisoning the healing process and our relationship.

  1. Self-loathing often leads to a lack of self-care. Healthy marriages cannot survive a state in which we only focus on our partner and their needs. A healthy relationship is seeded by a healthy self. Following a trauma such as miscarriage, the self can take a substantial blow. It is during this time that self-care and allowing ourselves to grief are not just restorative, they are necessary whether we plan to move forward with another cycle or a new path.
  2. With the hormone fluctuations holding us prisoner on a terrifying roller coaster we never agreed to board, we are particularly susceptible to depression. In these states of despair, everything is negative. Everything our partner does or doesn’t do could be a slight or a “clear” sign they intend to leave. Generally speaking, it’s not, and this harmful, erroneous analysis must be combated. The simple act of acknowledging possible depression and other states of despair from the hormone fluctuations can help to identify negative thoughts as maybe false or misleading. This will help to give them less credence, by seeking out communication with our partners to gain clarity instead.
  3. Accusing our partners of abandoning us or fearing they will leave, may deprive them of the very real grief that they are attempting to process and will immediately put them on the defensive. Feeding our brains with these uncorroborated musings is a bottomless rabbit hole, from which there may be no escape. We cannot presume to know our partners’ feelings if we don’t ask. Consequently, we shouldn’t expect them to know ours, if we haven’t specifically communicated them. As we are not mind readers, neither are they.

Professional assistance from a psychologist or licensed Infertility counselor can create a safe space to hash out these issues, where a third party can help keep it civil. Keep in mind, that “Hurt People, hurt people”, and both parties have endured terrible losses. Not just the miscarriage and loss of the baby, but the loss of that feeling of hope and of future, as well.

Both partners need to heal, but the often-unnecessary pressure of fear of abandonment will hinder this healing process and drive a wedge between the two. Imagine how surprised and hurt our partners may be to learn that we are fearful they will leave us, only for them to communicate they were trying to give us space or they needed space to grieve, and did not want to weigh us down with their grief. Conversely, they may feel they are losing us to the infertility, especially if we struggle to self-care and fall into depression.

The healing process needs to be a team effort, but it doesn’t mean we always need to be together at all times. What we need is a plan, that we both contribute to. One that carves out space for solitary grieving if necessary, without fear of retribution. A plan that sets aside specific time where we will talk about where we both are in the healing and grieving process and offer each other support. And finally, some scheduled time where we will do something else together, talk about something else (anything else).

Remember, we both are trying for a baby to EXPAND our family, not to make a family. WE are very much that already.

Don’t lose sight of the family you are in pursuit of the family you hope to become.

Wishing You Peace, Love, & Baby Dust!

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