Hax: How to handle kids after a miscarriage

The Washington PostDecember 16, 2013 

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Carolyn: I am recovering from my second miscarriage in a year. My surgery was earlier this week. I am still feeling shellshocked and sort of exhausted, my conversations with people feel like out-of-body experiences. I have very little energy to work (I have a job outside the home). I have a 4-year-old and am trying to figure out what is worse for her — my going upstairs to lie down and hide when I get home (I am still on pain meds), or playing with her and risking bursting into tears? I am terrified that I am causing her emotional harm through my very shaky abilities to control my own emotions.

DAMAGING MY DAUGHTER?

I’m so sorry. As long as your 4-year-old is in loving hands in your absence, it’s not going to cause her emotional harm for you to take the time you need to recover.

Kids from the youngest ages are exposed to the ebbs and flows of life for many reasons we can’t control, and so it’s helpful to keep that in mind when we’re looking at decisions we can control. Your decision between trying to rally or going upstairs to lie down is one of those, and since it’s a choice, you can arrange a lot of the variables to be in your daughter’s favor: good care in your absence, kind words when you’re present, and age-appropriate explanation that you’re not feeling well right now but you’re going to take good care of yourself and you will get better. She can actually grow from this experience, even while missing you.

Re: Damaging Daughter: When I was about 4, my mother suffered a miscarriage that kept her in the hospital for days. I don’t remember much of that time, except that when she came back home, her sister was with her and us a lot. I emptied the dishwasher for her (except for the sharp knives), and she hugged me. That’s really all I remember. I believe that she lay down a lot. Whatever you do, your daughter will be OK. She knows you’ve been sick, so she knows something’s wrong, even if she doesn’t understand it. If possible, have other people around to help keep the kids occupied.

ANONYMOUS

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