Thursday, November 01, 2012

Emotional Closure After Miscarriage

I googgled exactly this. I thought it would probably return with 1 match linking to You Are Crazy Just Move On Bitch. But nooo... I was surprised that this is such a validated topic that seeks recognition by sufferers AND therapists, mostly Westerners. I have never heard of 'emotional closure' in Chinese, have you? Maybe to Chinese, the month-long confinement is part of the emotional closure. Get drunk and happy on wine chicken everyday speeds up the emotional healing, yes?

Anyway, this emotional closure is something I needed. I'm not sure if I had it, from the time it happened in April 2011 to recent days, I may have had it in some form but I may not be aware. I did all I could to have closure, you know. I named him, I even got obsessed with bunnies and bought a bunny soft toy and a figurine to represent him, I turned to my blog for expression, I cried for cathartic release, I kept doing what I enjoyed and what made me happy. But somehow, something's not complete.
The reason I'm searching for this now is my recent observation of my moodiness.
A friend pointed out that I may have post-natal depression, perhaps a mild and delayed one, I thought. But it's been more than a year, am I a 'slow developer'? Hee. Nevertheless, a depression is a depression and it could strain my relationship with the husband, which I felt has already happened. I am not as emotionally engaged as before. I keep a lot of things to myself. I don't even chat about mundane everyday stuff anymore. And these are actually the little things that keep a couple engaged and happy. I am withdrawing into my own world, and get upset occasionally if he does not 'seek' me. Maybe I want to be rescued.

So, back to the Google search, my little cyber support group. I pulled out some excerpts that resonated with me.

"..After my first miscarraige I was devisated. I drove for hours alone & in the darkness. I have only blurrs of memories of that evening. I was parked in a closed park. Then I was on the shoulder of the highway. Then I found myself back in my doctor's parking lot. Her office had been closed for hours & not even one light was on. But, somehow I felt like I had left my baby there. I needed it back! I kept my feelings inside because everyone in my family kept saying, "At least it happened early & you couldn't get attached.". It went unacknowledged except for the, "I'm sorrys". Is that what you say to a still born's parents? We had no closure. No funeral. No mass. Nothing. Not even a face to remember.

8 years have gone by and I'm still devistated. Not once does a day go by that I don't feel someone missing at the dinner table. " -taken from here. The writer also listed 5 ways to get closure.

"...I blogged every thought I had. Once I had it figured out enough to commit the thought to paper, it stopped swimming in my head and gave each topic a sense of closure. My grief counselor even confirmed that there are synaptic changes in the brain when you get a thought organized and finalized by writing it down so I wasn't just imagining that closure.
Write letters to the baby, write a diary, or blog, whichever best suits your personality and privacy preferences. It doesn't completely wipe the thought away, but I'd say it takes 95% of it out of your head, and if you can get rid of 95% of each of the thoughts and horribleness, that's quite a lot. The remaining 5% becomes much more manageable." -taken from here.

And this is probably the Mother of all hits. I have a couple of excerpts from this article written by a lady gynae:

"...When I tell a woman that she is not crazy for having feelings about her miscarriage and that her loss is real no matter if she miscarried in the 6th week of pregnancy or in the 6th month, she always looks relieved. I have validated her feelings."

"...comforting words might serve to disavow a woman's experience of loss rather than allowing room for it. Commonly heard expressions like, "It was early in your pregnancy," "Miscarriage is not uncommon," or "You'll have other chances" might be interpreted by a woman to mean "This happens all the time. It's no big deal. You don't have to get so upset." On the receiving end of such tarnished comfort a woman might be left feeling guilty for feeling grief stricken, after all, miscarriage, she is told, is not "uncommon". Or she might feel angry and think to herself, "No one understands what I'm going through!! I don't care if miscarriages happen all the time. It's a big deal to me and I feel wrecked!" Then she might find herself feeling isolated and alone in her experience"

This is how I felt. Alone.

And then it struck me yesterday. I have been alone, and rejected. The hubz said my body was weak and that I should rebuild my health back (IF we were to try for another one). He meant it as a matter of fact, harmless indeed, but to a woman who has miscarried, I interpreted is as "It is my fault, my body is weak" because there is a phase when you ask a lot of questions on why it happened, what caused it, what did I do wrong etc (see article above). And what he said affirmed it more. "It was my fault, and your fault alone"... that's what my head says. That was why I got upset and moody almost every week, every time he goes out for drinks. I felt alone and rejected.

I guess I'm unravelling the emotional closure I need. An apology and assurance from my husband. Assurance that he still loves and cares for me. An assurance that it wasn't my fault. An assurance that he will be my side side through it all.

Update: Isn't it funny, after having these thoughts 'keyed' down, I felt a huge sense of relief. I didn't ask or that apology. The fact that I recognize the cause was enough for now. Knowledge is indeed empowering.

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