Ask The Therapist: Dealing With The Trauma Of Miscarriages

In 2016, the number of people estimated to be suffering from mental health issues like depression and anxiety amounted to roughly 1.1 billion. Since then, numbers have likely continued to rise. Moreover, studies have also shown women especially on average are a) more likely to suffer from mental health issues, and b) less likely to talk about them. The taboo in Pakistan surrounding depression and anxiety disorders only serve to aggravate the individuals suffering even more. For the women who cannot seek out full time therapy, or simply need advice about their problems, we’ve enlisted the help of a trained counsellor. You sent us in your questions – here are the answers!

“Hi. Please let this stay anonymous. It’s still a struggle for me to put into words. In a  short span of two and a half years, I have been through three missed abortions. Recovering from the first one was an extreme struggle emotionally. I remained in denial. The second time, I was filled with horror and terribly scared – I couldn’t stop crying all the time. The third time, I came out much stronger emotionally. I didn’t have a single episode of crying in front of my friends or family. However, when I’m alone I still find myself suffering extreme episodes of crying. So much that my chest hurts. I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to make it to a successful full term pregnancy, but I’ve finally made peace with it. Physically, though, I’m still facing multiple issues that keep dragging me back to those horrific times at the hospital. I hope doctors learn to be kind to patients like myself. I have faced all sorts of bullshit doctors who made me feel like a failure every single time. If it hadn’t been for my faith in Allah, I might have lost whatever sanity I had left after my experiences with insensitive doctors. I have recently started reaching out to different platforms for me to be able to talk, in order to make other people understand and more aware of how common miscarriages are. I want people to be aware of the kind of care they get in hospital, and the animal like behaviour of doctors they should expect during one of the most vulnerable periods you could possibly experience. Maybe Mashion can do something about this? I don’t want more women to go through what I have been through.”

Haya’s Response

I’m inexpressibly sorry to hear about what you’ve been through. I know you can never forget the pain of losing a baby, and the pain of losing so many is unimaginably overwhelming. A miscarriage is a lot of trauma – emotionally and physically. I need to you to know fully and clearly: crying does not make you weak. You are still processing what you went through, and the deep impact of trauma like this doesn’t go away so easily. Please take care of yourself, and prioritise your health. You are the only one who can take the best possible care of yourself.
In our society, miscarriages are not seen as a serious enough issue. It usually does not kill the woman, and most times there is no baby to hold or bury. It’s the kind of tragedy that goes unseen in a large way. It’s only the mother that truly knows how much pain and loss the process involves. It’s terrible and disappointing to hear what you went through at the hands of doctors, and the impact they have had on you. Doctors need to be more empathetic with a woman going through a miscarriage, or any experience for that matter. They are trusted practitioners that have been tasked with taking care of us during our most painful, exposed moments. That’s not a duty to take lightly in any way whatsoever. Empathy definitely needs to be a job requirement, not an additional skill. I would urge you to change your doctor if they are not meeting your needs. Invest in doing some research and read reviews from people of their experiences with different specialists, and perhaps go see a more qualified one who will really be able to give you what you need. More power to you for reaching out, and being an active part of bringing awareness and change within our society. It is a sensitive issue that desperately needs more light to be shed upon it, and we need people like yourself to support other woman and be the voice that many are afraid to be. Last but not least, as much as you might have lost faith, stay positive and hopeful! There is always light at the end of the tunnel.

We at Mashion realize the sensitivity and widespread nature of issues like this, and have a committed interest in bringing more awareness and exposure to topics and stories like these. Haya Malik is a certified Humanistic Integrative Counsellor, and psychotherapist. She will be answering mental health questions weekly on Mashion, to send in your questions, email support@mashion.pk. All questions will remain anonymous. 

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