After a Miscarriage
I’m not sure if I am really looking for advice, or… I don’t know, reassurance? I am 34, and after years of wanting a child and waiting, waiting, waiting for the stars to align so we can start trying (graduate school, marriage, health issues, family issues, husband ready for the whole baby thing), it was finally time. Time to start a family. And I got pregnant, quickly. And then I lost the baby. Over Mother’s Day weekend. I lost him or her very early, before it was even a him or her. But it gutted me.
And while I am still mourning this loss, I can’t help but think about trying again. I don’t want to wait. I want to try as soon as it is possible and healthy to do so. I hope beyond hope that I will get pregnant again immediately. I am also completely terrified of the possibility. Of going through this again. Of being too old to do this. Of never getting pregnant again. Of losing baby after baby. I’ve read your blog for years and don’t believe you’ve experienced this. But you have had other struggles and maybe can relate to this? Or your readers can? How do I move on and (hopefully) get pregnant again without being overcome by fear?
I am sorry for your loss. I can only imagine. I can’t really imagine. I am just so, so sorry.
Now that the Zero to Forty pregnancy calendar is available as a email subscription, we get notified of the occasional unsubscribe. There’s an option for letting us know why you’re unsubscribing, and sadly, painfully, it’s almost always because of a miscarriage.
I always want to say something to these women, to write them a note or send them a link to a page full of virtual hugs and kitten videos. But I don’t know what to say. I don’t really know what to say to you either, Fearfully Hopeful, so please forgive me if I stumble into words that are not helpful, or feel wrong or presumptive or patronizing.
You are not alone. You did not cause this. You are allowed to grieve however you see fit, to scream and cry or to not scream or cry. To take time off and stay in bed, or to throw yourself into work or activities that keep your mind occupied. It’s okay to be sad, angry or numb, or to cycle through all of the above in waves.
You can try again. You are not doomed to repeat this experience, but it’s probably best to accept that this experience will be part of you forever and will color any future pregnancy with a special breed of fear and worry. That’s okay. That’s perfectly normal. All pregnancies are tinged with worry, really, regardless of past loss or the ease/difficulty of conceiving in the first place. Miscarriage is on the back of all of our minds during those early weeks, as we check off each milestone that drops the risk by even the merest percentage point. And then we are faced with the cruel reality that the fear doesn’t all magically go away after hitting the magical 13 week mark, because there’s always something else that can go wrong, something standing in the way of a living, healthy baby in our arms.
Try again, if you want, once your doctor gives you the all clear. Face that fear and accept it. Talk about it, lay it bare, to your husband, a friend, your mom or a bunch of strangers in an Internet forum. Don’t fight it or attempt to mash it down, where it can fester and simmer deep within your gut. Feel it instead, acknowledge it and remind yourself that it is both oddly rational and irrational — you’ve been gutted by a loss once already, OF COURSE you’re afraid of it happening again. But the fear still serves you no real purpose — you’re not going to let it stop you from trying again, and ultimately it will make no difference whether you spend your time feeling afraid or putting on a brave face. Your “next time” will be what it will be, like all pregnancies: out of your complete control, a terrifyingly wonderful risk, a leap of faith.
I hope, of course, that your next time is better. And that you are able to reach up through your fears and find your own similar glimmer of hope. Grab it. Seize it. Let it carry you up and over your grief and fear, and into the Wonderful Next.
Here are some additional resources for anyone grieving a miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, stillbirth or loss of a baby/child:
March of Dimes: Dealing with grief
Baby Loss Comfort: Grief resources
glow in the woods: for babylost parents
Mayo Clinic: Healing from a miscarriage
National Share: for bereaved parents
Nation Council of Jewish Women: Pregnancy Loss Support Program (PLSP)