A dear friend recently went through a miscarriage and it got me thinking about how the medical world handles this natural occurrence versus what we as midwives counsel our clients to do in this situation.
The medical model advises to have ultrasounds, take pharmaceutical hormones and even possibly have a D and C to "clean" out the uterus. Midwives suggest natural herbs allowing the body to cleanse itself and the 'wait and watch' approach. The body is not meant to keep every pregnancy it establishes. Sometimes the cells are not perfectly formed or divided or there is something wrong with the fetus itself. The body knows intuitively when it needs to flush out a pregnancy that will not continue to grow. As women, our bodies were made to get pregnant and keep the fetuses that are strong enough to grow and develop into human beings. It only seems logical to also think that our bodies know when to let go of a pregnancy that doesn't have what it takes. As hard as this may seem emotionally, we have to allow our bodies to recognize the miscarriage and then give it time to flush the tissue out of the uterus on it's own.
The female cervix acts as a cork during pregnancy and will close shut once a fetus begins developing inside of it. When a miscarriage occurs the cervix will slowly reopen to allow the imperfect fetus or bundle of tissue to be flushed out. This is why it's important to not rush the process. If rushed the cervix can be pry ed open and torn. Naturally the body will open itself and hormone levels will tell the body to bleed and flush itself out. There is wisdom in allowing the body to do what it is programmed to do. Not only does this allow the body to complete the cycle fully but it also allows for a woman's emotions to come full circle and complete their cycle as well.
I experienced a miscarriage before I became pregnant with my youngest daughter. I have always had a hard time getting pregnant but found myself 'with child' somewhat easily this time. I was overjoyed and sicker than a dog! I continued feeling this way for a few weeks and then I realized one day I was no longer sick. I began to worry. I was about 14 weeks along and I knew something wasn't right. Then, just like clock work I began to bleed. With the bleeding came intense cramps and labor like pains. I spent most of the day in and out of bed and slowly, but surely, my body released this little life that wasn't meant for this world. I drank quarts of red raspberry tea to support my female organs and I kept the Shepard's Purse close by in case I began bleeding too heavily. With the support of a midwife friend I was able to handle the miscarriage at home and do it safely. Throughout the process I held on to the belief that my body knew what it needed to do and I just needed to follow along. My emotions were running high and I was devastated that I'd lost this little fetus so full of potential and dreams. I grieved for about two weeks and felt the hollowness in my uterus. I ached for this baby I had lost! I allowed myself to mourn the loss and I took it easy until I felt better, emotionally and physically. When the cycle was complete I felt cleansed and renewed and ready to move ahead. Four months later I found myself pregnant once again and this time I was rewarded with a beautiful, baby girl nine months later!
We cannot doubt the wisdom of our bodies. We shouldn't forget that we were made to reproduce and therefore, contain everything we need deep within ourselves to do this perfectly. Miscarriages happen and they are hard. They teach us so much about ourselves and our bodies and how to trust in what we are. I believe the medical world doesn't allow our bodies to do what they will naturally do on their own. They rush the process and rush our emotions. We should remember to allow ourselves to do what we feel is natural first and only if we need emergency care should we rush to the medical world for help.
A miscarriage is very common and many women have gone through at least one at some time in their lives. It reminds us of who we are and of how fragile, yet strong our bodies can be. Trust in the wisdom of your body...you will gain many rich experiences if you do.