How to deal with pregnancy failure: a dietitian’s perspective

by Oct 29, 2020Blog

If you’re watching this because you’ve searched ‘how to deal with pregnancy failure’ then the first thing that I want you to know is that I’m sending you all the love I can. And, I want to tell you that you WILL get through this. Believe me, my journey to having a family wasn’t easy either, and the grief is real. But, ice cream and chardonnay binges are not the answer… In this blog I’ll share how I got through…

How to deal with pregnancy failure

Today we’re discussing a particularly difficult topic… pregnancy failure. Please hear me when I say that I’m discussing this because I care about you. It would be much easier just to stick to the easy topics and to tell you what you want to hear, but as someone who has both been through the pain and seen many of my clients go through it, I want you to hear the truth.

I have two big concerns for you…

Firstly, I worry that this grief will spin you into a cycle of emotional eating. And whilst that’s understandable for a short period of time, I don’t want it to go too far. I’ve had clients who have gained dress sizes as they’ve drowned their grief in food. And also those who have done the opposite, who have lost dress sizes as they controlled their diet so tightly they were on the verge of an eating disorder. Grief is a season… it will always be with you on some level, but it will get better, however, you don’t want to cause damage that will last a lifetime. If your grief has impacted your food intake, I have 5 actions that I want you to take:

Number 1: Draw a line in the sand

Yes, stay in bed and eat cheese all day… for a day, or even a week, but then stop. Set that date, then stick to it.

Number 2: I know that it sounds trite now, but focus on the bigger picture

Grief impacts us in one of two ways…..we can either become bitter or empathetic.  If you choose to let this pain work good in you, it will make you stronger and more grateful than you ever imagined.

Number 3: Take some short cuts

Grief is exhausting! You need time to let your emotions out and process them. It’s one of the main reasons that people end up turning to meal delivery services or skipping meals when they’re grieving, they just don’t have the mental energy to decide what to eat, let alone to prepare a meal… so get help! Ask someone you know (such as your partner if they have it in them) to take over all the meal prep for a while…or pay the extra and register for a meal delivery service for a while. Get the assistance you need to protect your health as much as possible.

Number 4: Treat yourself

If ever you deserve some additional TLC it’s now. So splurge on pedicures, binge on Netflix, even buy the expensive organic strawberries from the gourmet greengrocer instead of the cheap ones that you usually get from your local supermarket, but re-read action number one, and put a limit on how much treat food you allow yourself to have.

Number 5: Form a support team

Grief is one thing that you shouldn’t do alone. Find a great counsellor who you can talk to regularly, find a friend who will sit with you while you cry, find a mentor who has been through what you’ve been through, find a pastor who can pray for you and find a great dietitian who can help you create a healthy, but realistic eating plan, and help you with support and strategies to achieve it… because there’s a good chance that although you may not even be able to think about it yet, before you know it, you’ll be nurturing another little one… so you need to be doing your best to prepare for them now.

My other big concern for you is…

That you’ll allow fear of failure to stop you from taking the action that you need to give your next baby a head start in life. I’ve seen many women eat a bad diet in a subconscious effort to avoid having another baby and making yourself vulnerable to the grief of losing another baby again. If this sounds like you, please stop! Hurting yourself with food isn’t the answer. Use contraception, get some counselling and when you’re ready deal with your pain. But, don’t use emotional eating to treat your fear of pregnancy failure, as you could be not only impacting the health of your next baby, but also destroying your own health in the process.

I hope with all my heart that this has been helpful for you. Please feel free to share it with anyone you know who you think may find it helpful. And a let  me give you a BIG virtual hug!

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