Miscarriage, Substance Use and Grief

A couple days prior to my miscarriage I was in the emergency room having what I could only imagine felt like labor pains and bleeding. My HCG levels were still at a normal level and I was told to take it easy and return in 2 days to retest my levels. 

I went home and cried, rested, and tried not to think of it. I returned 2 days later, to confirm I was miscarrying my first pregnancy. 

My heart didn’t sink when they told me, I already knew that I had wiped and flushed my baby down the toilet two days before. I left the hospital numb and with a piece of paper on grieving. 

Did they really think that a single piece of paper was enough to prepare me to grieve?

I had only known that I was pregnant for a week. I balled it up and threw it on the floor of the car. 

I told my partner to drive to the beer store.

I had a couple friends visit that evening to make sure I was supported. “I’m fine, it’s okay” as I drank in the garage. I must’ve drank 20 beers that night. 

I had an interview that week, I remember telling them I had just miscarried so I may not be on point. They asked if I needed to reschedule. “I’m fine, it’s okay”. This became my line for everything.

I drank every day. Whether it was 2 or 15 beers. And on the days I didn’t drink, I was in bed staring at my four walls. Numb. 

Most people drink to forget, I drank to feel. To smile and laugh. Otherwise I was numb.

My partner put aside his grief to support me. He did everything to try to make me happy. I put aside both of our grief to drink.

We ended up calling it quits. Of course there were other reasons, but me being numb and drinking played a factor. He felt like he couldn’t do anything to make me happy.

Would I call myself an alcoholic? Not really. But Did I abuse alcohol? Abso-freakin-lutely.

All I know is that it took me almost a year to feel and start the grieving process in a healthy way. Unfortunately, without him by my side now. 

But I now had a community of strangers who can relate to the loss that I experienced. The pregnancy and infant loss support centre and a number of Facebook and Instagram pages taught me that it’s okay to grieve no matter how far along I was.

One of the first steps; recognize that my baby’s life matters. And what’s the best way to do that? Name them.

Willow Baker; you matter, you are loved, and you are with us. You made me a mother even if I only carried you for 6 weeks.

 

You are not alone on your journey through grief.

Pregnancy Loss Resources and Support:

Text 📱 or Chat on the Pregnancy Loss Support Line for immediate support from peer volunteers who have also experienced loss.

1-888-910-1551⁠ | pilsc.org
9am-11pm MST | 7 days a week

Addictions Resources and Support:

Alberta: Addiction and Mental Health Helpline: Call 1-866-332-2322 to access 24/7 support

Canada: To access support for addictions or substance use please access Wellness Together Canada: Youth in Canada: Text WELLNESS to 686868. | Adults in Canada: Text WELLNESS to 741741.

USA: Call the American Addiction Centre at 1-866-202-7707 to access 24/7 support

 

Photo by jasmin chew from Pexels

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Book with Erin Winters

In order to book with Erin, please connect directly with our Program Assistant, Shelagh via email at shelagh@pilsc.org

NOTE: Refrain from providing detailed personal information when emailing Shelagh. Feel free to describe your challenges in brief, and leave out personal details that you only wish to share with Erin.

Shelagh

Shelagh (she/her) brings with her a solid background as an admin in a variety of areas from business, academia and now with a charitable organization with the Pregnancy & Infant Loss Support Center. She feels passionate about working in a role that benefits others in the community.

Shelagh was exposed to bereavement and deep grief at an early age and it left her with a profound sense of how fragile life is and how we need to find joy and light wherever we can. She feels privileged to be able to take this sense with her into her role with PILSC while putting her strong admin skills to good use.