Coping With Miscarriage When You’re an Introvert

A woman grieves after a miscarriage

When faced with the pain of miscarriage, our quiet nature can be both a refuge and a challenge.

Pregnancy, when you are hoping for it, is a beautiful thing, but coping with miscarriage is difficult.

Introverts tend to keep to themselves, and pregnancy is no exception. Though we may be filled with joy and want to share our good news with the world, as introverts, we may have already done our research, spoken to our doctors, and know the “12-week rule” (not telling people until after 12 weeks). So, keeping quiet about it may not be difficult for us.

However, when faced with the pain of miscarriage, our quiet nature can be both a refuge and a challenge.

When you are trying to get pregnant for the first time, like my husband and I did, you may expect things to be uncomplicated — and it can be devastating when they aren’t.

I had returned to my hometown for a couple of weeks without my husband. I found out about my pregnancy the day before leaving, and after discussing it with my doctor, it felt safe enough for me to take my 12-hour flight, so I went. I had a wonderful time with my family, and everything went fine… until a few days before flying back.

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From Elation to Despair

It all happened very quickly, as I was rushed to the emergency room and I did not have time to grasp what was happening to me. I spent the next days in pain, physically and emotionally, and was forced to postpone my flight and stay in my hometown to avoid the potential complications of a long flight. My parents were there and wanted to do everything they could to take care of me, but I just wanted to be left alone.

Some other family members who had learned about my miscarriage wanted to check on me and express their sadness; so, at times, I felt like I could not deal with my grief as I needed to. Rather, I tried not to make a big deal out of it, mainly because I had no desire to talk about my miscarriage and break down in front of others. I just wanted to get home to my husband and cry alone in my bedroom.

I needed space, but it was hard to pass on that message to friends and family. Some of them were even irritated that I did not want to see them, so I found myself questioning my feelings and trying the best I could to make others feel comfortable instead of taking care of myself. Luckily, I was soon able to return home.

But — being back home was also a difficult period. There are things that I wish someone would have told me to do (or not to do). So, I want to share those things with you, hoping it may be useful if you, or someone close to you, is going through a similar experience of coping with miscarriage.

Things to Avoid When Coping With Miscarriage

Social Media

Though you may feel happy to find out that your friends are also giving birth, social media can be a big source of social comparison. It might make you feel as though you have “failed” and others have succeeded, a typical mechanism that underlies social comparison. Sadly, the way we see ourselves is largely determined by the people around us.

According to social psychologist Leon Festinger, social comparison is based on an urge to evaluate ourselves. When a goal is not met, we may compare ourselves to relatively “equal” people, like our friends. Social comparison happens almost automatically, so you may not be able to escape it. 

In that light, avoiding social media during this time can help lower the intensity of your emotions because you won’t be comparing yourself to others unconsciously.

Being Too Quiet About It

As an introvert, you’ll probably want plenty of alone time as you cope with the miscarriage. But, as weird as it might sound, be careful that it’s not too much. Even as introverts, it’s good for us to lean on our support system and to ask others for help (as hard as that may be). 

Aside from avoiding the two things above, there are definitely things I would suggest doing, post-miscarriage.

Things to Do When Coping With Miscarriage

Talk about it.

      For the first time in my life, going against my introversion was healing, and talking about my miscarriage with those closest to me — instead of keeping it to myself — did help. Overall, I believe women don’t talk about this topic enough.

I was aware of the possibility of miscarriage, but quite frankly, I never thought it would happen to me. I looked at the staggering statistics and frequency of miscarriage. According to the March of Dimes, about 10 to 20 percent of pregnancies end in miscarriage, and some sources suggest that this estimate might be even higher: more than 30 percent. Talking with other people, along with educating myself about the medical explanations, allowed me to take a rational approach to what happened to me.

However, it did not stop the common feelings associated with miscarriage, such as sadness, feeling guilty, unworthy, or like a failure. Thus, reaching out to a therapist or others who have gone through the same thing can make a big difference in the healing process.

This leads me to my next point…

Surround yourself with a positive support system. 

When you feel ready, go out and look for your best and most empathic friends. This will be important, as it will help you look on the bright side of life. With these friends, you can go out and do whatever it is that you enjoy doing to help distract you from your grief.

For instance, I had taken some interior design courses, so I suggested I help a friend redecorate her living room. This meant several trips together to decor stores. Any project that will keep your mind busy — while doing something you enjoy with your friends — is good!

Another thing that helped me was taking long walks with my dog and the small interactions with strangers we ran into. Also, petting and taking care of my dog proved to be healing; often, it was him taking care of me. Animals are extraordinarily sensitive creatures, capable of reflecting our emotions — and sometimes even synchronizing their heartbeats with ours.

Telling my husband what I needed was important, too, whether it was some time alone or avoiding friend or family gatherings for a while. He allowed me to have that quiet time, and he took care of me through small gestures, like making breakfast, taking the dog out in the morning so I could sleep longer, taking me to see a movie, or buying my favorite dessert. It may seem like nothing, but those little gestures comforted me enormously during those difficult days. 

Express yourself creatively.

If talking seems too painful, do something creative. Keep a journal and write down everything you feel. Or, express yourself in other forms: Here are ten creative things sensitive introverts can do to process and calm their emotions.

For instance, making art has been shown to have therapeutic benefits — and doesn’t require any talking! A close friend of mine, who is an art therapist, guided me in expressing my feelings through art using paint, colored pencils, and even elements of nature that I’d pick out, like leaves and flowers. Then, I used it all to represent my emotions. I believe it helped me begin to have closure.

Get closure.

This is a very personal thing and there is no set timeline. Although I have not been able to complete any type of closure activity myself, it is something I have discussed with my husband, and we plan to do something when we are ready.

Whether it’s doing a meditation, writing a letter to your baby, planting a tree or your favorite flower, putting colors (or even a name) on a pretty stone, or burying something that symbolizes your loss, it is up to you to decide the what, when, and how — but only if doing something like this makes sense to you.

Let your body and your mind heal before trying again to get pregnant.

Hormonal changes after miscarriage are real, and your body will need time to heal. Emotionally, you may need a little more time, as all of these changes — and feelings — can mess with our minds (not to mention all the overthinking we introverts are prone to).

For me, therapy and gentle Pilates classes were helpful; the latter especially helped me concentrate on my breathing and focus on the present moment. By doing so, I could leave my thoughts behind for a while. When you focus on the present, you stop dwelling on the past and worrying about the future. Every negative emotion you may have disappears — at least momentarily.

Take the time you need to grieve. 

As they say, there’s no set time frame for grief. It doesn’t matter what this article says or what a friend did. What’s most important is listening to your own needs. If that means “doing nothing” for a while (or even a long while), then allow yourself that time.

Grieve the Miscarriage in Your Own Way

I won’t lie to you — even after doing all of the above, you may still feel sad and shed tears from time to time, especially when something reminds you of your miscarriage. This could be seeing the baby aisle in Target or something else.

It might be hearing about your sister or a friend expecting a baby. It could be putting away the baby clothes your mom saved for you, or it might be making different plans for the room that was supposed to be for your baby. It could even be something as simple as finding the pregnancy test you took and saved when you found out you were pregnant, filled with happiness at the time.

My best advice is to embrace those tears, take a deep breath (or several), and write down what you’re feeling. Most psychologists and self-development practitioners agree that expressing our emotions can significantly reduce or even completely alleviate these feelings. (Here’s the science behind why writing is often easier than speaking for introverts.)

In the end, a miscarriage will always hurt a bit (or a lot), and despite all the overthinking, the research, the books you read, and the doctors you see, the reality remains the same: It happened — and nobody knows why.

My advice is to trust in the universe and try your best not to obsess over every detail of what happened. This approach brought me peace and helped me move forward.

I still think about my miscarriage and cry sometimes, but I also remember the overwhelming love I felt towards that tiny being while I was pregnant and the fortune I felt just to experience such powerful love. I am thankful for those wonderful, beautiful, and pure feelings I had never known before — and who knows? Perhaps one day, I will have my “rainbow baby,” and so might you.

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