Coping with the tragedy of miscarriage
I can speak to this point quite personally—having miscarried two babies back to back over the course of a year and a half, it is nearly impossible to communicate the grief that goes along with it. What I have learned from other women, friends and my patients is that our experiences with fetal loss are all very different. Some women are very private—never even telling those closest to them that they were expecting. Others grieve very openly and share their experiences with everyone. For myself, I kept fairly quiet about my story, but as the years pass (8 to be exact) it does get easier to talk about how it felt.
I don’t want to dive into the specifics of miscarriage, but instead to encourage each and every one of you who may have had one—that you are not alone. In fact, I read somewhere that an estimated 70% of first pregnancies end in a miscarriage. That includes the women who missed a period and then suddenly had a very heavy, painful period and never took a pregnancy test. That’s a lot of women. That is a lot of grief for some women.
So what about those of you who have had to ride the emotional pregnancy roller coaster over and over? Three, four– even six times? There is certainly nothing that anyone can say to help, but just knowing that someone else has been there does provide some form of comfort in its own way. Today, I have two healthy, happy children but the days leading up to their births were marred by my fears. Carrying a baby after a loss changes the game for most of us. We never see our pregnancies the same again—viewing them instead as delicate, fragile and able to be lost in an instant. We prepare ourselves for the bad news with every doctor’s visit. I never found a relief from that feeling, but instead did my best to cope with the fear. After all, is it really under my control? How would worrying keep my baby any safer?
No matter if you carried 8 weeks, or 38 weeks, the sense of loss is profound. I think that for those women who had the opportunity to see and hear their baby’s heart, to feel their tiny kicks, stretches and movements, the loss is unexplainable—life changing and profound. But for the women who lose babies during the first trimester, the grief may be no less as it is coupled with disappointment for what might have been.
I would love to hear your stories—about your loss, how you learned to grieve and find hope again. Please feel free to share your feelings, thoughts, emotions, and what helped you most—as it might help someone else.