To the Mom who Miscarried: I See You, I Hear You, and I Feel Your Pain
Let me just start by saying that I've suffered two miscarriages myself. I have three beautiful children now, but I had both of my miscarriages before I had any children. I got pregnant unexpectedly after my husband and I were married about a year. I told my mom after my first doctors appointment, which was about 5 weeks in to the pregnancy. My mom, who had never suffered a miscarriage or any pregnancy complications told everyone (thanks a lot, Mom!!). Everyone was so excited for me, would ask me about it all the time and the news was spreading fast! At around 9 weeks, I had some unnerving things happen and I went into the emergency room after I told my doctor what was going on. After an ultrasound at the hospital, the emergency room doctor came in and was totally confused about what he saw on the ultrasound, but he told me there was no baby. I remember internalizing the word "miscarriage" and I couldn't quite wrap my brain around it. It was a surreal moment for me. Then came the task of saying that word to everyone else. I had a miscarriage. When they would excitedly ask me how my pregnancy was, "miscarriage", when they would touch my belly and refer to the baby, "miscarriage". It was hard each time. It was painful both physically and emotionally. People didn't quite know what to say or how to react. I felt bad for bursting the bubble. I had a long journey ahead, but from where I am sitting now, those were bumps in the road where I learned a lot about myself and grew.
Here are some things I learned during my experience with miscarriages.
1. I see you and I hear you and I feel your pain.
In our culture, we don't usually tell people we are pregnant until around 12 weeks, because of this exact scenario. This is good and bad. It is good because you don't have to go around telling everyone about the tragic news like I did, but it is bad because a lot of times, you are suffering in silence, like I did with my second miscarriage. No one knows that you were pregnant, and now, no one knows you are suffering. I want to say that I am with you. I know about those lonely tears of loss and grief, confusion, anger, and then feeling silly because the pregnancy "wasn't even that far along". I hope you feel validated in your pain and loss. I also hope that you can confide in a few close friends or family so that you have someone to lean on during the tough times. Your feelings are real and are valid, no matter how far along you were.
2. It's not your fault.
It's so easy to fall into the thinking that you could have prevented it, or because of something wrong with you, you couldn't keep the pregnancy. You feel betrayed by your own body. Your womanhood is called into question. You feel bad for your spouse, and you feel like you are the reason for his hurt feelings and pain. But just know that you are the only one having those thoughts. No one else is thinking that it's your fault. No one is wondering what is wrong with you. Other people are able to have some emotional distance and because of that distance, they are able to see more clearly. Don't blame yourself. For me, there was something wrong with my body that prevented me from keeping a pregnancy, something I didn't find out until about a year later. But even knowing there was something not functioning properly, I was still able to step into the space where I didn't feel like it was my fault.
3. Your spouse is trying to support you, but may not understand the complexity of your feelings.
My husband is a very sensitive person who was there for me, but did not understand all of the nuances to my feelings of grief. He didn't understand the emotions I was experiencing and neither did I. It's not just losing a pregnancy. Like I mentioned above, there are feelings about your body, your womanhood, questions about the food you eat, how much caffeine you drink, how hard you exercise, or don't exercise. You retrace every meal, every activity, every decision leading up until that point wondering if it was this or that. Your spouse does not understand that you are doing that. He doesn't understand the physical aspects of losing a pregnancy, the surgery, the bleeding, the medications, the pain killers, the cramping, the doctors. When he isn't quite on the same page, that's okay. Appreciate his efforts of trying and as long as he can be there for you, he is doing his job the best way he can. No amount of understanding or grieving can take what you are feeling away, so accept that you are both processing it differently and communicate with one another. It can be a time of strengthening your relationship. I know for my husband and I, we were able to grow stronger during this time. Let it do the same for you.
4. Stay positive, educate yourself, and look ahead!
After you take the time to process the sadness and the emotions, and your body heals, you will be able to move on from this experience with appreciation for the miracle of life. You will be able to sympathize with someone who is suffering through the same things. There are many different causes, types, procedures, and circumstances surrounding miscarriages. Look online, talk to your doctor, and learn about them, here is a great article which covers the basics. According to statistics, 10-25% of all pregnancies end in a miscarriage, chances are you are just a couple months away from a healthy pregnancy! If you suffer more than three miscarriages in a row, talk to your doctor, there may be something more going on like there was with me. The road may be long, but the more prepared, educated and empowered you are, the better you will be able to see the positives and face the challenges in a healthy way.
Remember, here at The Baby Cubby, we are with you! We know that parenting is hard, and sometimes the road to becoming a parent is hard. We are a community of people who support you in whatever stage you are in! Have you suffered a miscarriage? What are some things that helped you get through it?