12 Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me About Miscarriage
I’ve had 5 consecutive miscarriages, and I have no living children yet. As less than 1% of couple will experience 3 or more consecutive miscarriage, I now fit nicely into a horrible category.
But, what this also means is that I have a very unique perspective on miscarriage. Each one of our losses has been unique, but each one has also taught me something new about the miscarriage process.
So, today, I want to share the 12 things I wish someone had told me when I was going through my very first miscarriage. The things that no doctor has told me and the things that I wish I had known.
- You will survive this. You will get through this. I won’t lie, physically the actual miscarriage is going to suck whether you choose to have surgery (D&C), take misoprostol/cytotec or wait for it to occur naturally. It may actually be the most painful physical experience of your life. But, you will survive the pain (get strong drugs, they do help).
- The emotional recovery is harder than the physical recovery. The emotional recovery will take time and will include good days and bad days. I have cried more in the last few years then I think I have in my entire life.
- In a matter of seconds your wish for a healthy pregnancy and all the hopes and dreams that go along with this, will turn into hoping that this will end quickly. You will start hoping that your nightmare will end, and pray (even if you aren’t religious) for the experience to be over quickly and painlessly. After 5 times, I can assure you that this “new” feeling of hope will feel unbelievably weird and I for one always feel guilty for it. That said, I know I cannot change the situation, so there is no reason not to hope for the miscarriage to occur quickly.
- Miscarriages don’t necessarily happen quickly. You may find out that the baby has died through a natural miscarriage. Or you may find out through a routine ultrasound and require medical intervention to remove the product of pregnancies (i.e. fetus). This can happen quickly, or may take time. One of our miscarriages took a total of 29 days from the day we found out our baby had died. (Should you want some suggestions on how to prepare your home and yourself for the actual miscarriage, you can check out one of my past post on how to have a misoprostol/cytotec induced miscarriage here).
- You may also find out that you are at high risk of losing the baby (likely through a low fetal heart rate via an ultrasound). In this situation, you may wait weeks for the baby to die and then to start the miscarriage process. For me, the absolute hardest part of a miscarriage is waiting for our baby to die – this has happened to us twice. (I don’t mean to be graphic, but it is what it is and I’m not about to sugar coat things).
- If you are waiting for your baby to die, if you develop complications you may be forced into the hardest decision of your life. Sometimes you need to take steps to save your own life, steps that you never thought you could do, but steps that are necessary all the same. (You can read about this here).
- You will be afraid when and if you choose to try again. Whether you have had 1 miscarriage or 5, I can promise you that you will be scared and maybe even petrified of losing another child. You will face a seemingly ending battle against fear – fear of losing another child; fear of the ultrasound machine; fear of being unable to protect your child; fear of the physical pain of miscarriage; fear of the emotional roller-coaster, etc. I don’t have a miracle cure for handling the fear and the worry, but I try to focus on hope. I find hope to be the most proactive approach because your past does not dictate your future.
- It is okay if you choose not to try again. It’s okay if you don’t want to be pregnant again. It is okay to stop. It is okay to reach your enough. I’m yet to hear any of these words from anyone, but at my very core I know it to be true. At some point, you may choose to adopt, or you may choose to live childfree. And these choices are okay and 100% acceptable.
- Some people choose to hold onto little mementos from each pregnancy – an ultrasound picture, or a first teddy bear. Some people choose to honour their lost baby with a special piece of jewelry, or a tattoo, or by planting a tree. It is okay to hold on to important keepsakes and create special memorials. Do whatever works for you and whatever feels right.
- Having a miscarriage will likely change your life in at least a few significant ways. Possibly by reminding you that life is sacred, or by making you a little more sensitive to other people’s problems. I believe that anyone who loses a child will carry around the scares from each miscarriage for the rest of their life. The pain will lesson with time, but you will not forget your lost child.
- Although our modern society doesn’t like to hear about miscarriages (no-one likes stories about dead babies), remember that you do not have to go through this alone. Don’t be afraid to seek out the advice of a counselor or cry on a good friend’s shoulder. Most people likely won’t know how to respond, but I’ve found it helps to tell people exactly what you need – maybe a home cooked meal; a few new movies to watch; or just a shoulder to cry on and a listening ear. (You may want to share this list at the bottom of this post to help people know how to better support you).
- Remember that although you are going through the physical pain, your husband/partner is hurting as well. The doctors tend to focus on the women since she’s physically going through the miscarriage. But, remember although men often grieve in different ways than women, our men are also hurting. He too just lost his child – you are in this together. Support each other the best you can. Cry in each others arms. Laugh at each others bad jokes. When you feel up to it, go out on a date together or plan a vacation to reconnect. Miscarriages are hard on couples, but if you turn to each other, I suspect you will be able to survive and thrive together.
If you took the time to read this, I suspect you are either going through a miscarriage or have gone through one in the past. First, I am so sad that you are facing this situation and wish you the absolute best getting through this incredibly challenging time. Remember you are not alone. And above all, remember you will survive this and sunshine will eventually return to your life.
Should you have questions or stories to share please feel free to leave a comment below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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