Let’s Talk about Miscarriage

I have referenced before how I had wonderful dreams of surprising my husband with some sort of cute way to say “I’m pregnant” but instead came back from a doctor’s appointment saying the words “I’m pregnant” followed by “They can’t find a heartbeat”. This has been some of the hardest words I have ever had to say and sadly I’ve had to say them on multiple occasions.

When you learn you are pregnant, your world immediately changes. It doesn’t matter if the pregnancy was expected/wanted/prayed for/unplanned/medically assisted….whatever, knowing that potentially in nine months there will be a little being with half your DNA is SHOCKING NEWS. So shocking that some people will cry or yell or go into shock or even act like nothing big is happening for days or months. But in your mind a million things flash through your brain and it consumes a lot of your thoughts.

Now, here is the kicker….read what I wrote again “knowing that POTENTIALLY in nine months there will be a little being”.  You see the statistics are varied but most will say that around 20-25% of women miscarry. Basically that is you going out to dinner with 3 friends…and one of you just experience a miscarriage. Yes, one in 4 (or 5) women experience miscarriage…but we don’t talk about it and this is what is sad to me.

So here on October 15, I want to talk about it….why today? Today is “Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day” in the US, Canada and many other nations around the world. This is such an impactful event in so many people’s lives, that there is a day to support the people who have suffered this kind of loss and remember those babies who we never got to meet.  I see this is beyond an epidemic or a curse, this needs to be dinner table conversation between friends, partners, family, sisters, mothers and daughters.

My personal experience is with miscarriage. I have not experience etopic pregnancy, stillbirth or infant death so my reference will be about miscarriage. I want to express my thoughts to those families who have suffered these kinds of losses, as each one is a different kind of loss with its own emotional turmoil.

As Amy Roberts puts it so well, “When you become pregnant you enter a big club for women. Its a subculture. You are accepted into the club with open arms. But when you loose the baby you are no longer a part of this club and you can no longer “fit right back in” to where you were before you were pregnant. You are in limbo. There’s no where to go.” Your childless friends don’t really know how to console you. Your friends who are pregnant avoid you because they don’t want to feel upset that they have a baby and you don’t.  Your friends with kids are so busy with their kids; they usually don’t have time for you anyway.

After months of sorrow, pain and healing, my husband and I became comfortable talking to people about our first loss. Surprisingly the more people we told, the more people confided in us that they had miscarried too. In a way, it was comforting to know that I wasn’t alone, but in another way, I really needed these people when I was hurting and wanted to talk to someone.

Why didn’t I know someone who suffered a miscarriage when:

  • I was bleeding and cramping curled up in a ball for days
  • My due date came and went and I had no baby to hold onto
  • My Pregnancy Tracker sent me that irritating reminder email of “Your baby is this old and as big as this piece of fruit” that made me avoid the produce section of the grocery store
  • Every time someone announced their pregnancy on social media I counted how far apart our babies would have been
  • I attended a baby shower and hid in the bathroom crying
  • Every time I saw a baby I touched my stomach….then realized I needed to stop
  • My husband tried to touch me and I recoiled
  • I avoided driving by the maternity store on my way to work.

And that is when I decided we needed to speak up about our loss and support anyone who went through it again. It HURTS, it hurts your body, your mind and your soul…and it is OK and normal to hurt! This loss is just like any other death, you will grieve and this grief looks differently for everyone. It is NORMAL to feel angry, guilt, denial but how do you know this if no one talks about it? Going back to the statistics… one in FOUR women experience miscarriage but we, as a society, never talk about it. We don’t console each other nor prepare each other for the terrible heartache that it causes us, our marriages and our relationships around us.

On October 15th Remembering Our Babies campaign encourages people to light a candle at 7:00PM with the hopes that there will be a continuous wave of light across the globe. But let’s go beyond that: use social media to show support for yourself or those who have lost a baby due to miscarriage, still birth or infant death.  Ways you can do this include:

  • Posting/Tweet a link to this blog or October15.com
  • Change your profile picture to a candle (or use the one above)
  • Post/Instagram  a picture of a candle
  • Post/Instagram a picture of you lighting your candle at 7:00PM.

Also, if you have experienced a loss, be more open about it and do not be ashamed of it. By being more open, you can support, guide and lift up others through their losses. Losing a baby, no matter when it happens, is life altering and needs all the support you can get.  I also encourage you to light a candle(s) in memory of your angel babies to show that you have experienced such a loss so that other people can be comforted that they are not alone and if they experience a loss they can reach out to you.

If you have never experienced infant loss, I encourage you to still take action on social media to support those who have and let them know you are there for them. If you know someone who has suffered an infant loss or if you meet someone in the future, it can be uncomfortable to know what to do or say. Amy gives some great ways in her post above and I would like to add that you can acknowledge the loss even when you think it might be a difficult time for the person. One of the most moving moments for us has been when our friends made an effort to tell us in private about their pregnancy, knowing that it was going to be emotional for us to hear. They didn’t want us to hear it from someone else, and they wanted to be there beside us as we juggled the emotions of happiness and sadness at the same time. We’ve also had friends who have given us an easy out when we were invited to their baby showers, knowing we were not in the best place to attend.

Miscarriage is hard for so many and I have found that by being open and talking about our losses my family has healed and we have helped so many through such difficult times. It makes us realize that our three angel babies have a purpose way beyond their little lives and this is the greatest gift they could ever give us.

If you have experience a loss and would like support, you can always contact me, Nicole at contact@wisemommies.com

 Support is also at the following websites:

http://www.october15th.com/

http://www.mend.org/support/home-news-and-announcements.jsp

http://www.stillbirthday.com/types-of-loss/

http://www.marchofdimes.com/loss/stillbirth.aspx

I would also suggest finding a miscarriage/pregnancy loss discussion board like on The Bump or BabyCenter.

Books that might be helpful are:

 Losing You Too Soon by Bernadette Keaggy

Avoiding Miscarriage by Susan Rousselot 

Pregnancy After a Loss by Carol Cirulli Lanham

When Empty Arms Become a Heavy Burden by Sandra Glahn

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14 thoughts on “Let’s Talk about Miscarriage”

  1. Thank you this post! I lost my baby, just weeks ago, at 23 weeks and unfortunately, I’ll have to carry it to full term and birth it along with the healthy baby still inside me. I have so much sadness in my soul. How will, can I, be happy with the birth of one twin while mourning the death of my other baby. I even worry now that my depression is hurting my unborn healthy baby

    • My heart is breaking for you. What a emotional time for you. I will keep you in my thoughts and I hope that you are able to find support groups of other women who have experienced a twin loss like yours. I also hope that in time, you will be able to reflect on October 15 as a day to remember how strong you are to say something here and to others. It is OK to be sad! That is normal, you are mourning the loss of a baby. Please use some of the resources I posted above to look for help in your area. I encourage you to seek a professional, I found my time talking with a counselor really helped me heal. You can always contact me if you need to talk.

    • So great that the word is being spread about this day and my message of support! It sounds like we both had difficulty with our first losses and finding support. HUGS mama! You are a strong woman.

  2. @Hurting – I’m so sorry for your loss. You are doing the best you can. Please don’t blame yourself. Take it one day at a time and if that doesn’t work, take it one hour or minute at a time. You will get through this in time. During my first loss, my nurse told me that. I thought she was crazy. However, she was right. Your heart heals with time. It still hurts, and that’s okay; the pain is just less sharp. It also helped me to make a memory book for my lost little one. That gave me something to remember her by and helped me through the pain. I hope this helps you some. You are in my thoughts.

    Nicole – Thank you for sharing your experiences with us. I’m so sorry for your losses.

  3. This post was beautiful. You stopped over today at Milk and Honey Living and I am so glad you did. I have two young sons and we are adopting our third, but I experienced a very long, drawn-out miscarriage and the loss cannot help but change a woman. Since Remembering our babies circulated yesterday, I have had numerous friends open up (publicly and privately) and share about their miscarriages! Thank you for sharing your story!

    • Becca, I’m so sorry for your loss! And excited about your adoption! Welcome to the adoption family! It is such a blessing. I’m glad to hear that women are opening up about this since that is the whole purpose of this special day.

  4. We just passed 4 years since we had one baby still born and then had a miscarriage four months later. The pain doesn’t completely go away, but it definitely gets easier. I hid from everybody afterwards and avoided talking about it at all for a long time. I started to share my experience with a few others and have found that talking to women who have also gone through loss helps a lot. It helps me to know that I’m not alone.
    We now include our son when we tell people how many kids we have, and we tell people about our losses. There are still occasional tears, but it’s getting better.

    • I’m so sorry for you losses but it sounds like you have found healing in sharing and that is great news. It does hurt, and I definitely cried over this post but like you said, it does get better and is helpful to know we are not alone!

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