Miscarriage is not something we talk about much, but I feel like every day its becoming more and more talked about and supported.
I have had several miscarriages, and each time I had to deal with it relatively silently.
Each pregnancy I was afraid to tell anyone until I was 12 weeks because making the phone calls to let those people who were so excited for me know that we lost the baby…that was horrible.
There is a shame when your body betrays you like that. You shouldn’t be ashamed, you have nothing to be ashamed of, but it’s there. I have felt it, and I know many others who will say the same.
My first miscarriage was when I was 19 years old after I had my daughter. I moved to South Carolina with my ex-husband who was in the Marines and he was very verbally and emotionally abusive. I found out I was pregnant about two weeks before the abuse became physical, and I lost the baby shortly after (probably due to stress).
I never talked to anyone about it. He only found out I was pregnant through text messages to my best friend.
I felt relieved when I lost that pregnancy. Instant relief. If I hadn’t lost it, I would have probably had an abortion. Feel what you may about that, but that is the reality of where I was at at that time.
That was not a situation to bring another baby into.
My ex-husband betrayed me in every way you could betray a young mother. I have moved on from this, but I will never forgive what he did. And I don’t feel “imprisoned” by that. Some things don’t need to be forgiven.
When I met my husband Manuel, I was excited about starting a family with him. I remember thinking “this man is the man I will be with for the rest of my life”. As a young single mother, I didn’t know if I would ever feel that. I didn’t know if I even could after everything I had been through.
When we found out we were having a baby we were SO excited. I was excited to be able to share my pregnancy with people and have them actually be HAPPY for me. When I found out I was pregnant with my daughter I was only 18 and people (although they were supportive) were understandably worried.
I lost that baby on the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic. God has a sick sense of humor.
I look back on that and can even kind of laugh at the irony of it. Even at the time, it kind of helped me get through it. I made my husband take me to see Titanic in 3-D in theaters, and I remember him saying “Spoiler alert-ship sinks!” and laughing so hard I cried. And then I couldn’t stop crying, and I cried because I was hurt and he just hugged me. It was perfect.
I remember thinking God was punishing me for not being sad for loosing the baby the first time. I was wrong of course. But I thought it.
I went to Planned Parenthood and got the “abortion pill” to make the miscarriage pass quicker and make sure everything came out so I didn’t have to have a D&C. I’m forever thankful for that service I received.
One of my miscarriages happened while I was working, and every time I went to the bathroom I wanted to scream. I remember looking and seeing the blood and just grabbing my hair and squeezing as hard as I could to keep myself from screaming with how angry I was to be going through this again. I remember telling my husband through tears “Why does ______ get to have a shit ton of babies and smoke her entire pregnancy but I haven’t had any caffeine in months and I keep LOOSING mine?!”
It brings out a bitterness in you…and you shouldn’t hide that. Once you allow yourself to feel all of that anger, then you can heal.
I wont go into detail on the other miscarriages, they were all about the same. Painful, physically and emotionally.
I had my heart broken every time, but I thought to myself today “What if I could help someone out of that heartbreak?” People have miscarriages all the time…what if I could help someone?
I remember how comforted I felt by reading words from people who made it through to the other side of it and were OK. I am fine now. I am happy and at peace.
So here is a list of what to do (and not to do) for your friend or family member who has had a miscarriage.
Leave your well-meant “everything happens for a reason” at the door.
Maybe some people are comforted by it, but I know for me and people who I know that have gone through a miscarriage it’s the last thing you want to hear.
I feel that everything does happen for a reason; that it is all in God’s plan. But when you are hurting, you don’t want to hear that your pain is part of a plan. That you losing a baby is somehow supposed to be a part of the grand “bigger picture”.
Gifts of well-wishes
I would have NEVER asked someone to buy me anything to help me through my miscarriage. It would never even occur to me. But one of my best friends sent me a bouquet of flowers, and it was exactly what I needed. She will never know just how much that brightened my world when it was just so very dark.
Other ideas for “gifts of well-wishes” is something to commemorate the pregnancy. Maybe a birthstone, maybe a bracelet. Something physical that show that grieving mother that she is allowed to grieve.
Obviously, you need to tread carefully there. But, if you know her very well chances are you know what she would be comfortable with.
Let her rest
This is more for the fathers, but really anyone can help. If she has other children, maybe take the kids for a few hours and let her have time to cry openly or even take a nap. Miscarrying can be physically painful.
Just because she has other children doesn’t mean she’s OK.
I hated when people would say “well at least you have two healthy, beautiful children”.
OF COURSE I am thankful for that. That doesn’t mean this child didn’t matter to me. I had plans, names, hopes and dreams…all that was taken away. I am allowed to grieve that.
And for the women who are going through it, it really will be OK. Take your time, feel what you need to feel, but know that you will come on the other side of this.
What helped me was talking about it a lot. I went onto BabyCenter and found a miscarriage support forum where I wrote about what I was going through and feeling and everyone was so supportive. If helps you connect with other people going through the same thing. Sometimes, understanding is all you need.
Also, here is some good information from the American Pregnancy Association with some tips on how to emotionally recover from a miscarriage.