Art Therapy and Miscarriage

I'm telling you, miscarriage is hard.

The physical effects last longer than I thought they would. It's over a month out from the day my son was born too early, and I've only just stopped bleeding.

The spiritual effects have lasted longer than I thought too. All though this struggle in my life has made me draw closer to God overall, I still have moments where I question God's judgement. Did He really need to let my son die? Even if I'm changing for the better because of it was it really necessary?

But the emotional effects, are going to last the longest. Long after the bleeding has stopped and my faith in God doesn't waver because of this, I will mourn for my baby. I know the emotional effects won't actually go away. They're going to be with me a lifetime.

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I've fairly openly struggled with depression over the years. It began when I was 11 or 12 years old and has affected me on and off since then. When I became pregnant I noticed a huge change in my overall happiness. 2017 was an awfully down year for me because of infertility and when I got pregnant I was so over the moon. All I've ever wanted was to be a mum and my dreams were coming true!

So when my pregnancy came to its sudden end I had some concerns about sinking back into a depressive state. I know it's very easy for me to get really down and sink further and further into my own sorrows leaving me an unhappy wreck. But this time I decided not to. I wanted to take control of myself and my mental health

I'm not saying depression is entirely a choice. Very few people would actually choose to have depression. But I do think that staying depressed is a choice. There are things out there that help kick depression in the butt and get that old black dog gone.

Whether that's reading God's word, exercise, being around friends, doing things you enjoy, eating well, medication, counseling, meditation or therapy of some kind. There are ways we can deal with the depression we are suffering from.

Even though I'm dealing with losing my son as well as I can, I still have emotions. It still hurts every day and I still get upset.

I wanted to come up with a way to try and cope with these emotions rather than just letting them sit in my body and build up over time filling me with sadness, stress, misery and self pity. That's a sure recipe to becoming depressed.

So to help me express my emotions instead of hold on to them I decided to take an online art therapy class. I haven't made time for art in my life since I was a teenager. I loved painting, drawing, colouring, crafting and things of that nature when I was younger.  These days I find my life filled up with other things like work, dishes, laundry, making dinner and things of a similar description. If I have a break I'll often sit down and watch some TV which, while fun for a bit doesn't leave me feeling very fulfilled. In fact I often feel kind of guilty for wasting time and not getting more achieved.

With art I'm simply not making myself feel guilty anymore. When I feel any sort of strong emotion about losing my son or anything else going on, I give myself the time to create. Even just for 10 minutes.

I've found it really helpful for a few reasons.

First off it slows me down. When I am painting I can't also be doing the dishes. I have to slow right down and just work on the art. I'm a chronic multi-tasker. 

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Another reason it's so helpful, is it gets me out of my own head. I have a lot going on emotionally and mentally right now. Creating art of whatever form takes my focus. It pulls me out of my head which is swirling with thoughts and emotions and helps me connect more with my body and what I'm making. It's honestly almost like a practice of mindfulness for me.

It's also really useful in helping me express how I'm feeling when I don't know how I'm feeling. When words can't describe what's going on inside of me, art can. I just paint or draw whatever I want. Whatever I'm drawn to. When it's finished it helps me figure out the complex feelings I'm dealing with and it's also a really useful tool to help me explain to my husband what I'm going through as well.

If you're going through a season of loss, grief, stress, depression, anxiety or other rough time I really recommend trying out art or creativity as therapy. There are a ton of ways you can express yourself creatively. It doesn't have to be painting or drawing.

You could try floral arrangements, journaling, doodles, woodwork, papier mache, scrapbooking, embroidery, jewellery making or any number of things. Give it a go!

Have you ever used creativity as a way to express yourself, whether positive or negative emotions? What medium do you use? Have you found it helpful?