Abortion & Miscarriage:
A Journey To Healing
Usha Anandi. 4 | FEBRUARY | 2020
Part of our mission here at Womben Wellness is to lift the veil on the areas of healthcare that are surrounded by judgment, shame, and stigma to provide accessible, quality care to those in need.
As a birth worker, I have noticed one area of maternal health that is incredibly underserved – pregnancy loss.
Every month I have women reach out seeking support around pregnancy loss, a term that I use to include both the experience of miscarriage as well as abortion. So, as a way to educate and support as many people I can, I vowed to write a blog about it – and here it is.
If you feel the call to compassionately support those who have experienced pregnancy loss, our 85-Hour Prenatal Yoga Teacher Training is for you. We just opened enrollment for our next session in Costa Rica from May 16 – 26.
Many of us are products of the modern world, obsessed with that which is new and symbolizes ‘progress’. We don’t want to see that which is old, dying, or transforming.
The same can be said for our obsession with pregnancy and birth and inability to support or at the least, even speak about pregnancy loss.
As a birth worker, I have often felt astonished by the lack of understanding, care, and resources offered to those who experience pregnancy loss.
In the colonial world, we aren’t taught how to have healthy conversations around the topic of loss. Many of us don’t know how to act around someone who has experienced it, and many of us definitely don’t know how to effectively hold space for it.
A community that grieves is a community that thrives.
If we do not learn how to grieve a pregnancy loss, the imprint of loss is imprinted in the womb and the weight of grief is carried around in the heart.
Our capacity to mourn and grieve is directly related to our capacity to live.
We cannot silence the pain of loss while simultaneously opening up to the joy of new life…
When we expand our ability to grieve, it becomes a container to hold the energy of aliveness.
It’s time we break the stigma that surrounds pregnancy loss.
The following practices are offered from the deepest place of love, honor, and respect for all those that I have had the privilege of supporting during their experience of pregnancy loss.
For the Mothers, the partners, the spirit babies – this is for you. In hopes that educating around this important topic will create a softer, kinder, more compassionate world for you to exist in.
1. Acknowledge your loss.
In a patriarchal culture, we learn how to hide our emotions and push aside personal difficulties for fear of being seen as someone who is struggling, unproductive, or even weak.
Before you can grieve, you first have to acknowledge your loss.
Although miscarriage and abortion are different, they both involve a kind of loss.
Abortion and miscarriage are often seen and judged very differently from an outsider’s perspective. In actuality, they both involve loss, which means they both require acknowledgment, grieving, and nurturing.
As someone who has supported many different women through abortion, I’ve noticed that one of the reasons that many find it challenging to process and integrate their abortion into their story is because they never allow themselves the time to grieve or mourn, as one might more naturally if they lost the baby involuntarily through miscarriage.
Our world holds very little space for gray areas of life, we like things black and white. We hold very little understanding of the painfully difficult decisions that yes, feel ‘right’ but still cause so much pain inside… abortion is just one example.
The truth is, most women are torn apart by the decision to abort. Many women that I’ve supported agonize over the idea of aborting the pregnancy until they eventually choose to do so. What I have seen through working with these women is that so rarely is abortion a casual, meaningless choice.
As Fredrica Mathewes says “No woman wants an abortion as she wants an ice cream cone or a Porsche. She wants an abortion as an animal caught in a trap wants to gnaw off its own leg.”
In order to grieve, we must first recognize the loss that Mothers experience – both those who have experienced miscarriage and those who have aborted.
2. Learn to mourn, grieve, and rebuild.
After a pregnancy loss, the Mother is in a postpartum state. No matter how far along they were when they lost the pregnancy, their emotional, physical, and spiritual bodies should be treated like they would if they were in postpartum.
There’s a reason why ancient cultures around the world take postpartum so seriously.
There’s a reason why the community gathers to nourish the Mother with healing foods, loving touch, and emotional support.
They know that the Mother’s mental, emotional, and physical health will directly affect the child’s health as she is the main source of their emotional and physical support.
In the case of pregnancy loss, the care should be no different. A woman who is allowed space and supported through her process of grieving is more likely to find healing, strength, and even meaning in her loss.
Grieving is a skill that needs to be taught, developed, and practiced.
Loss is a natural part of life. To learn how to grieve is to learn how to fully face the unknown aspects of life with a sense of bravery and courage. To learn how to grieve is to learn how to live fully.
Many of us enter a process of grieving with the desire for the pain to end or for the story to somehow be erased from our journey.
Perhaps the journey of healing is not to erase an experience from our past, but to fully integrate it into our story so we are no longer moving from a place of fear or pain.
Grieving does not have an end date. Give yourself permission to take as much time as you need to fully acknowledge, mourn, and integrate any experience into your story.
And remember while grieving, you don’t have to do it alone. Human support, loving touch, and compassionately held space can be some of the greatest pillars of strength during a journey of pregnancy loss.
Here are some of my favorite practices that I recommend to my clients going through pregnancy loss:
Maya Abdominal Massage
This practice is an incredible way to lift the trauma of miscarriage or abortion from the energetic space of the womb.
The hormones associated with pregnancy embed themselves in the tissues of the body. Ayurvedic massage, also known as abhyanga is traditionally administered with healing oil like sesame, mustard, or coconut and can support the body in ridding itself of pregnancy hormones to support greater emotional, mental, and physical balance.
This practice combines the healing power of steam with the nurturing, regenerative force of medicinal plants. This ritual is contraindicated during pregnancy but incredibly nourishing and supportive for those grieving a pregnancy loss. To learn how to practice this ritual, click here to access the super in-depth blog that I wrote on this amazing healing practice.
If you’re someone who has experienced pregnancy loss, please take this blog as permission to take all the time you need to grieve, heal, and integrate.
In our 85-Hour Prenatal Yoga Teacher Training, I share practical, effective tools, rituals, and emotional support techniques that I use to support my clients going through pregnancy loss.
This training is for yoga teachers, doulas, childbirth educators, midwives, nurses, doctors, and all those who feel the call to uplift, embolden, and support pregnant Mothers and those who have experienced pregnancy loss.
Enrollment just opened for our May 16 – 26 training in the Caribbean jungle of Costa Rica.
I’m not going to lie… in this training, we go DEEP. Only revolutionaries and those who are ready to change the world need apply.