15 Ways to Practice Self-Care After Pregnancy Loss

Bad News

Last Friday I was dreading going to my prenatal checkup at my midwife’s office. I was tired and didn’t want to make the half-hour drive there just for them to check my tummy, ask me if I was taking my vitamins, and check my weight. I was so sure that everything was going to be okay. I even ran late to my appointment and couldn’t care less. And then the midwife tried to find baby #2’s heartbeat with the doppler. I had just heard a strong heartbeat and confidently pointed out baby’s “flicker” on the sonogram 3 weeks before. I had just made the announcement in my Facebook group and on Twitter. But this time there was no heartbeat to be found. It was a very small doppler. “It’s sometimes hard to pick up on this machine,” said my midwife. “Let’s see if the sonographer can find it.” I remembered hearing and seeing my 14-month old daughter’s “first” heartbeat like it was yesterday. This time I knew what to look for during the ultrasound they sent me to have in the other room. But the flicker that I saw weeks prior was nowhere to be found. I saw no sound waves and heard nothing. The sonographer rushed out of the room and my midwife came in to give me the bad news… It seemed that baby #2 had died only a couple of days before.

I’m a “delayed reaction” kind of person, but I cried instantly when I heard her confirm my fears. I soon called my hubby and we cried and prayed together. Texts went out to a few friend and family members. We were encouraged to pray in faith that God could work a miracle. I didn’t have the faith in me at the time, but hubby did and eventually I came around.

Unfortunately, a miracle was not in God’s plan this time (at least not in a way that we would have liked or understood). I began to miscarry this weekend. But we have peace that God is good and he has a purpose for our pain.

Not My First Rodeo

This wasn’t my first miscarriage. That made it harder to accept because I did not want to relive the memories. My first was when I was 16. My boyfriend wasn’t sure if he wanted to be a dad and broke up with me, and my dad disowned me for deciding (against his wishes) not to have an abortion. It was one of the most uncertain and loneliest times of my life, but I turned to God during that time and had a peace and joy that made no sense. At a time that I was abandoned by the guys I loved most, I met God’s unconditional love. And somehow it was God’s plan for me to experience pregnancy loss, to start miscarrying at school, to be completely traumatized as I went to the nurse’s office, in pain, and afraid of what my body was doing. Thank God for my mom who took me to the hospital, loved me through it, and bought me Ben and Jerry’s Chunky Monkey ice cream on our way home. Thank God that when I wanted to go back to that boyfriend she gave me a stern wake-up call in her Jamaican accent, talking through her teeth, with the muscles in her neck bulging LOL. I didn’t listen, but God worked it out and I eventually learned how to accept His love and move on. Without that experience, I wouldn’t have the amazingly beautiful, better-than-I-could-have-imagined life I have now.

I don’t know what the purpose is for this present miscarriage, but I know God is faithful. I know life looks much different than it did back then (my dad and I have since reconciled and he is an amazing grandfather to my daughter), Jesus loves me as fiercely as he ever has, he is closer than I have felt Him in a long time, and our family has the most amazing people in our corner praying for us and overwhelming us with kindness and love.

Lessons Learned

One thing this time has taught me, now that I am an adult, is that I need to take care of myself. I certainly struggled with the guilt of, “What could I have done to prevent this from happening?” But I realized that it was a lost cause trying to figure that out, and there was no way to know whether this was my fault. I also struggled with wanting to get over it and not let the hormones and the emotions stop me from having a handle on household chores and cooking and taking care of my family. I realized that I needed to stop trying to get by and get over it, and actually let myself rest and heal – something I have honestly been putting off for far too long, even before this miscarriage. So here are 15 ways to practice self-care after pregnancy loss:

1) Give extra attention to your hair care. Upgrade your regimen by deep-conditioning or doing a protein treatment. I wear my hair naturally curly (4c curl pattern). Last Saturday, I did a homemade egg + olive oil protein treatment, a hot olive oil treatment (which was just putting room temperature olive oil on my head with a plastic bag “shower cap” and a warm towel on top), and a deep-condition. It was therapeutic to spend all of that time on myself and my hair felt amazing afterward.

2) Get outside and enjoy nature, even from the comfort of your car. Some vitamin D from the sun will do you good. Singing, dancing or even crying in the rain can be therapeutic. Or find a cool spot to sit and watch the moon. I live in Long Island, NY and there are many beaches and lakes minutes from where I live. Last Sunday after church, I packed myself a snack and drove to the beaches and lakes in my town to just appreciate the views from my car (’cause it’s been cold). Then this past Thursday, a warmer day, my baby girl and I had a farm date with two other mamas and their babies, and it was much-needed fresh air and exercise for me. Plus my baby is a huge animal lover, and making animal noises and laughing with her gave me so much life. 😍

3) Make or buy a huge, hearty salad with all of your favorite add-ins. Or if you want something sweet, make yourself a green smoothie. I like to use a couple of handfuls of spinach, frozen mango, strawberries, and banana, and 100% fruit juice (usually apple juice). I usually share with baby. It’s a nice way to indulge on some things you crave without feeling gross and heavy afterward.

4) Cuddle with someone who just gets you (for me that would be my hubby, one of my sisters, or my mom). Request hugs from the best huggers around you (that would be my cousin Stacy or honorary cousin Liz).

5) SLEEP. I definitely experienced some depression at the beginning of last week and at some points I gave into wanting to sleep through life because I needed the rest. Just give your family/support system a heads up and delegate your responsibilities while you recover.

6) Make yourself a pot of hot tea (my sister is spoiling me with teas and infused honeys from Ivy’s Tea Co. for my birthday in a few weeks and I can’t wait) or treat yourself to a homemade latte, hot or iced. A not-so-healthy hack that I learned in Jamaica – put sweetened condensed milk in your coffee… Mmm, yes, Lord! Be careful with caffeine, it tends to cause cramps.

7) Vent to a support group of ladies who value your journey. My facebook group came through for me big time over the past week. I adore my mom friends.

8) Call a maternal figure in your life and let her encourage you. I thank God for my mom who lives almost two hours away, but her love can be felt like she’s right there with me. Yesterday she texted me, “love and back rubs” and I felt it! She’s such a cutie. LOL

9) Jam out to some inspirational music. Or if you need a good cry, listen to the songs that make you sad. Fun fact: when I was a kid, the music video to Kelly Rowland’s “Stole” would make me bawl non-stop for half-an-hour. I was always sensitive. And the movie Lilo and Stich–same thing–it would mess me up! Remember when the social worker said he was going to separate Lilo from her sister and they sang the goodbye to each other that one night? 😩

10) Journal. Document your thoughts, feelings, questions, and hopes. My cousin Sam gave me this Re-energize Your Life Journal from Pastor Rick Warren this weekend and it was absolutely perfect (God) timing for my life in general. (Note: it’s a journal for pastors, but so far I think it could be beneficial to anyone!) Or if it wouldn’t overwhelm you, write a letter or poem to your baby. After my first miscarriage, I wrote a poem (too personal to share here) and it really helped me to process the scary event that had happened and find closure.

11) Get a manicure/pedicure. Or if you’re low on money, take some time and at the very least paint your toes in a color that makes you smile. 💅🏾

12) Pray and cry in the shower. Light candles in the bathroom to create ambiance. Be sure to use a nice smelling body wash and put on a nice smelling lotion afterward. Bonus points if you shave your legs while you’re in there! LOL

13) Make out with your spouse/partner. Release some tension as if you can kiss the pain away. Hold off on sex until your doctor says it’s okay.

14) If you already have a child or children, take some time to make them laugh and give them extra affection. Appreciate their presence in your life.

15) If you’re a churchgoer, do not skip out (unless you’re physically unable). Trust me on this one. Sit in the back and leave quickly if you need to avoid people, but go to church and let God speak to you. My pastor preached a sermon last Sunday that had my “non-emotional” husband and me crying at the altar (or the edge of the stage where people sometimes line up for prayer from the pastor or leaders). Here’s the link to that sermon. I hope it encourages you the way it encouraged us. What about if you’re bitter towards God? I could totally see why you would be, and I would go so far as to say it’s okay. (But don’t take my word for it, talk to Him about it. He can handle your bitterness.) My cousin wrote a blog series about forgiveness and I think it would help you to work through that bitterness and find healing. Check out this one about forgiving yourself, and then check out this one about forgiving God.

The anniversary of this loss will come around and we’ll remember the hurt and how God got us through it. We may mourn some more. These self-care practices will certainly come in handy then, too. Not to mention just for life in general. I’m totally going to make these more of a habit in my life.

For those of you who have experienced pregnancy loss (including miscarriage, abortion, etc.): I am so sorry. For those of you going through it right now: I am so sorry. I wish I could hug you and hold your hand and cry with you. Sometimes you can find healing in sharing your story, and I’d love to hear yours either in the comments below (I have a zero-judgment, zero-trolling policy) or privately via my email hello {AT} wildflowerina {DOT} com. I love every single one of you and I’m grateful to be on this journey with you. ❤️😘

#BrokeWithABaby Part 5 – The Biggest Way To Save When You Have A Newborn

This post may contain affiliate links. If you choose to purchase through these links, I will get a commission at no extra cost to you. I only recommend products that I believe in and think will benefit you and your family. See my affiliate disclaimer for more details. Thank you for your support!

No time to watch the video? No problem! Check out the audio podcast version of this post. You can find it on SoundCloud or iTunes (coming soon)!

Show Notes –

Highlights

– Give Up Your Pride!!!
– Beggars can’t be choosers – you can’t reject non-organic baby products if you can’t afford organic baby products
– You may have to let go of some of your ideals – that doesn’t make you a bad mom
– Hand me downs and second-hand stores – you can never have too many clothes in those first few months, so just accept it if someone offers it to you
– Have any questions? Leave a comment or tweet at me @Wildflowerina_

#BrokeWithABaby Part 4: Paying Hospital Bills When You’re Broke

No time to watch the video? No problem! Check out the audio podcast version of this post. You can find it on SoundCloud or iTunes (coming soon)!

Show Notes –

Highlights

– Avoid the bills by asking for an itemized bill from the hospital and your doctor up front and by contacting your insurance to see what they cover. Reject everything that isn’t covered. Bring your own stuff to the hospital if you will save more.
– Pay some in advance.
– Payment plan (be diligent) – DO NOT let it go to collections!!! DO NOT give up!!!
– Applying for federal assistance – Medicaid, or assistance for paying medical bills
– Go to your local social services agency
– Stop hating on people because you couldn’t qualify for assistance. You don’t know what they went through or had to sacrifice, you don’t know their work ethic or their background. Plus it is humiliating enough to be in the system. Get over yourself. Help someone! Be grateful!

#BrokeWithABaby Part 3: Feeding Your Newborn For Free Or Cheap

This post may contain affiliate links. If you choose to purchase through these links, I will get a commission at no extra cost to you. I only recommend products that I believe in and think will benefit you and your family. See my affiliate disclaimer for more details. Thank you for your support!

No time to watch the video? No problem! Check out the audio podcast version of this post. You can find it on SoundCloud or iTunes (coming soon)!

Show Notes –

Highlights

– Breastfeeding is FREE
– lanolin will save your life
– free breast pump through insurance under Affordable Care Act
(I’m unsure of any changes under the Trump Administration)
– you can always buy a “used” breast pump if you must
– Formula for cheap:
– you can get it in bulk, at a discount, shipped to your house for free through
an Amazon Family subscription *affiliate link
– Try to start on solids earlier – about 4 months
– WIC Women Infant Children – a government nutrition program that gives
FREE formula to lower-income families. Go to your local social services agency.