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Sharing the Pain of Miscarriage

It wasn’t a simple road to get here

Next month will mark the ten year anniversary of losing my first pregnancy.  I was only 6-8 weeks along, but it forever changed me.  People say that a large percentage of women have this experience, but nobody really talks about it.  What makes us suffer in silence?  Is it shame?  Or, is the subject just too uncomfortable to confront?

It took me a couple of years, but I made a conscious decision to own what happened to me.  I was going to openly talk about the experience if the subject was to arise.  What I discovered was that the vast majority of my friends had miscarried.  It was therapeutic to discuss what happened, how we felt and how we coped.  I wished I would have known that earlier and that is why I am writing this post.

Everyone’s experience is different, but there seem to be some common themes among our stories.  Almost all of us questioned what we did to make this happen.  In our brains, we knew it was common and there was probably something wrong with the baby.  But our hearts wouldn’t free us from the guilt.  I was very busy the weekend before it happened.  I was out in the heat, lifting and moving boxes.  Was it too much for my body to take?  There are women who’ve questioned those glasses of wine before they knew they were pregnant, the excessive stress in their lives, too much travel, even sex with their husbands.  The list can go on and on.  I’m not sure we ever completely free ourselves from this guilt, but eventually we come to terms with the fact that there is nothing we could have done.

Compounding the guilt is the shame and embarrassment.  We all dreaded the phone calls that would have to be made informing friends and family of the loss.  Would they understand?  Would they be disappointed in me?  Worse yet – is there really something wrong with me?  Of course people are so compassionate and helpful, but those calls are tough to make.  I never knew exactly how many people knew I was pregnant the first time.  I have a huge extended family and news travels fast.  I wondered who knew and what they thought of me.  I was embarrassed.  It would have been so helpful to have the women in my life share the stories of their loss.  I think that’s why I’m so open about it now – so nobody has to experience those feelings

Eventually this loss becomes physical when your body passes the baby.  This can occur naturally or via medical procedure.  The combination of the physical and emotional pain is a devastating mixture.  For some, this makes it real.  You were pregnant.  There really was a baby and now it is gone.  Because my body naturally discarded the fetus I was subject to multiple blood tests and ultrasounds to verify there was nothing left.  Just constant reminders of what happened.  And even though my health care providers were just looking out for my best interests, I eventually opted out of further tests so I could move on.

Something was “off” in me for a long time.  The only thing that made it better was the thought of having a baby.  I became pregnant again, and for the first half of the pregnancy I would have recurring nightmares about losing the baby (this happened to me during subsequent pregnancies as well).  Thirteen months after the miscarriage, I gave birth to my daughter.  Grace’s birth healed so much in me.  I saw my future and our new family.  My husband would constantly remind me that without the loss of the first child, none of our current children would exist.  They are wonderful, happy and healthy people and I wouldn’t want it any other way.  They are my world.  But, it doesn’t stop me from wondering every once in a while.  What would have that child been like?  Is he/she waiting for me on the other side?  My faith tells me absolutely yes – it’s just going to be a while before we meet.  For now, we have an angel looking out for all of us.

One Response to “Sharing the Pain of Miscarriage”

  1. Kayla says:

    So sorry about your loss, but thank you for sharing the experience.

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