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After a Miscarriage

May19

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Hi Amy,

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?

Sincerely,
Fearfully Hopeful

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

What to Expect: Coping with miscarriage, stillbirth & loss (and managing your fear during subsequent pregnancies)

Mayo Clinic: Healing from a miscarriage

National Share: for bereaved parents

Nation Council of Jewish Women: Pregnancy Loss Support Program (PLSP)

 

About the author

Amalah

http://www.amalah.com
Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy's daily mothering adventures at Amalah. Also, it's pronounced AIM-ah-lah.

If there is a question you would like answered on the Advice Smackdown, please submit it to amyadvice@gmail.com.

Amy also documented her second pregnancy (with Ezra) in our wildly popular Weekly Pregnancy Calendar, Zero to Forty.

Amy is mother to rising first-grader Noah, preschooler Ezra, and toddler Ike.


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45 Responses to “After a Miscarriage”

  1. Been there May 19 at 1:08 pm Reply Reply

    I too had a miscarriage. I was also older, and because my miscarriage was caused by an eptopic pregnancy, I had a fairly large risk that it would happen again. And then I got pregnant again. And my worry levels were off the charts. I called the doctor with anything that seemed worrisome. I even went to the hospital when I had cramps and pain at 30 weeks. And you know what? Everything turned out great. I have a happy healthy little boy. I know that my story doesn’t guaranty you anything. And I can’t promise you won’t be scared, because I’m sure you will. My heart still hurts when I think about the pregnancy that I lost, and I still remember when my old due date comes and goes. But there is so much joy I have that eventually resulted out of the buckets of pain. And I have to say that while it is different for everyone – for me, I it was worth rolling the dice and risking a broken/devastated heart again in order to also risk having this completely amazing joy. I hope and pray that your next experience is a healthy and uneventful pregnancy.

  2. s May 19 at 1:13 pm Reply Reply

    Fearfully Hopeful, 

    I am 35 and had a miscarriage in the fall of 2013. At the beginning od  2014 I found out I was pregnant again and am now 21 weeks with a (so far) healthy baby girl.

    Starting to try again as quickly as possible was what was best for me but I’ve had friends who waited 3, 6, 12 months before trying because that’s what was best for them. It is such an unimaginable loss to lose a pregnancy, doubled by the meaning of mother’s day. I am so sorry that you have to be in the deep end of this pool but know that there are countless women who have had miscarriages and gone on to have healthy, happy babies with ease or with help from IVF etc.

    Amalah is right — you are in no way responsible for this loss. The only advice I can give is that you give yourself permission to grieve fully so that you can be present for the next steps, whatever those may be. Also, all of your emotions are justified: anger, resentment, sadness, confusion — all of it. This is not about your age, your health, your habits. 

    Yes, your next steps may be fraught with anxiety and trepidation but that is completely normal and ok. You are not alone. Keep asking for help and keep talking about it when you need to. 

    Best of luck!!!

  3. Marnie May 19 at 1:19 pm Reply Reply

    Big hug for you, it is so, so hard :( I lost my 4th child at 10.5 weeks in January and was completely floored. In fact I was dumbfounded exactly how emotionally painful the experience was. Even now, every time I start my cycle, I get flashbacks. It sucks and it so sad, I’m so very sorry for your loss.

    I found it helpful to talk about the experience. We always hear the numbers but I didn’t know exactly how many women have experienced this until I told people. It was nice to have that comfort from friends and colleagues. I will warn you though, 2 weeks or so later when I thought I was doing okay, I then got slammed with my medical bills. Not only did I lose my baby, I had the “pleasure” of paying for the awful experience too. It was a setback, for sure.

    My doctor told me I could try again after my first cycle returned. I decided not to but know several people who have and went on to have successful pregnancies. You have to trust your gut with your doctor’s feedback. Good luck!

  4. Liz May 19 at 1:52 pm Reply Reply

    I’m so sorry for your loss.  I miscarried very early too, when I was around your age. It was my second pregnancy, and I too was devastated. It actually shocked me how hard it hit me and how unprepared I was for the magnitude of my grief.  I do wish that I had taken some time off of work to process and let myself grieve in those early days and weeks after I miscarried, but i thought then that getting back into the routine of daily life would help me heal faster.  We waited for about 4 months to start trying again and had a healthy baby girl just over a year after the miscarriage.  It’ll be three years next month since my loss and I still think about it a lot and find it awkward when I’m asked questions about early pregnancy, particularly when I’m asked to compare my pregnancies, because I had three, not two – even though I only have two children.  Take the time you need to grieve, but like Amy said don’t give up hope.  Sending you love and lots of best wishes.

  5. Kristin May 19 at 2:01 pm Reply Reply

    I am so sorry for your loss.  I have been there and it hurts more than anyone can understand.  I have had 2 miscarriages, one before my first child and another between my first and second.  I remember not wanting to wait but also being scared about what would happen, especially after the second one.  However, I now have 2 perfectly healthy kids.  The only thing that really helped was time.  My Dr advised me to wait 3 cycles to try again after each.  This was to heal physically and also emotionally.  I think it is made even harder because usually no one knows you are pregnant yet and you can’t really talk about it.  I didn’t even miss work for my first one.  Allow yourself time to grieve but know that it happened for a reason and it happens to a LOT of women.  We just don’t talk about it.  Hang in there. 

  6. Katie May 19 at 2:02 pm Reply Reply

    So, so, so sorry for your loss! I lost my first pregnancy and it, as you said, gutted me. Like you, I wanted to try again as soon as I was allowed to do so (I had a D&C). That worked for me and I was pregnant again within 3 months. While I was an emotional wreck throughout my pregnancy, it truly was healing for me. The loss for me was about the pregnancy and the hope to have a child. Once I was certain that would become a reality, the pain lessened and I stopped grieving the loss. My girls are now 5 and 3 and I only think of my miscarriage when I read stories like this. [Not to suggest that grieving for a lifetime is abnormal! It just wasn't my experience.]

    I hope you find some peace. It is a painful and, often, very isolating grief. Seek out friends! You may be surprised how many will tell you they have had a loss as well. I know I was.

    And don’t be afraid to ask your doctors for help easing your anxiety when you are pregnant again. I used a home doppler to reassure myself during the first trimester. I called a lot. My OB’s office was very understanding. That support can make all the difference.

    GL and many good thoughts.

  7. Liz May 19 at 2:02 pm Reply Reply

    Just wanted to put this resource out there in case it is helpful for anyone local to Colorado: Colorado Pregnancy and Newborn Loss Services: http://www.coloradopregnancyloss.org/

    It is a fantastic program that helps any woman who may have suffered a loss.

    My heart goes out to you!

  8. BethK May 19 at 2:38 pm Reply Reply

    I’m so sorry to read about your loss. I lost a baby in January at 8wks, but after the D&C I had a rare infection that resulted in a week long hospital stay and another D&C.

    Being pregnant again (I have a 3yr old son) and looking forward to a baby made me now want a 2nd more than anything, but I completely relate to your fear of being pregnant again and going through the doubt of another miscarriage.

    First, give yourself some time. I’m just starting to feel like I’m better emotionally, and your loss is even fresher, so give yourself time to grieve — the baby you had and the baby he/she would have been. Everyone grieves differently, and it may take longer than you expected. 

    Now that we’re stepping into the unknown of trying again, I just keep telling myself that great things don’t come from living in the fear. This last pregnancy and loss literally almost killed me, and I will be terrified for at least the first trimester of my next pregnancy, but if I live with that and let it guide my decisions, I will never know the joy of having another child. 

    Either way, I wish you all the best. 

  9. Sarah May 19 at 2:44 pm Reply Reply

    Just to add my voice to the chorus – I am so sorry for what you’re going through. I hope you’re taking good care and being patient with yourself. Grieving a loss this great takes time.

    I was 36 when I miscarried early in my first pregnancy. Even though we’d conceived easily, I too worried that that had been my only chance, or that if I was able to get pregnant again, I would inevitably lose that baby, too. We waited a few months before trying again, and the 5 months it took us to conceive were very difficult for me, emotionally. Then, once I was pregnant, all I did was worry.

    I am here to tell you, though, that it can and does get better. Once I was in my second trimester and was able to feel the baby moving – so I didn’t need the doctor or an ultrasound to let me know the baby was still alive – I was miraculously able to unclench and enjoy being pregnant. I’m due in 6 weeks, and while I have all the “normal” worries about my baby’s well-being, I really feel I’ve healed from the trauma of the last time and the everyday terror of the early months this time.

    I hope you are as fortunate as I’ve been. Please know that it can and does happen. And that, no matter what, you are going to be OK. Better than OK. Just be kind to yourself in the meantime, and don’t give up on your hopes just because they come with fears.

  10. Amy May 19 at 3:03 pm Reply Reply

    I am so sorry for your loss – when I miscarried after first trying I was also surprised – I hadn’t really thought that was something that would happen to me. I decided to buy a small angel statue – something that would remind me in a positive way that I had been pregnant and would give me positive hope for a future healthy-to-term pregnancy. I now have a healthy and happy 16 month old now – so please just always remember that you can deliver that baby – you will have fear but try and concentrate on the love you have for your future child and push through the fears as much as you can. Yoga helps too – but most of all reminding yourself of all of us women on here who have been in your shoes and who hold babies in our arms today. You can always meet with a doctor to get advice on how long to wait and anything else to consider to help ease your mind in that area.

  11. Bonnie May 19 at 3:30 pm Reply Reply

    First, I’m so, so sorry for your loss. Sending you internet hugs!

    I had a miscarriage three months ago about 8 weeks into my second pregnancy, and it was devastating. After reading the comments above, I can only echo what everyone else has already said — take the time to grieve, and do what you feel is best for you. Personally, I couldn’t wait to start trying again (after two cycles per my OB) but now that I’m “officially” allowed to, I changed my mind and decided to wait until after the vacation we have scheduled this summer. I thought about the nausea and fatigue I have experienced early on in both pregnancies, and figured if I stacked that on top of the level of worry and stress I’m bound to experience next time around, it wouldn’t make for a very relaxing vacation.

    That said, but for this brief additional “waiting period,” I am eager to try again as soon as possible. I know women who have done just that, and also ones who have taken longer to heal both physically and emotionally. Only you know what is best for your family!

    I have one more thing to add: as I shared my story with friends — which included people who knew about the pregnancy and ones whom we hadn’t told yet — I was blown away by how many women told me about their own miscarriages in response. It’s one thing to hear your doctor state the statistics and tell you that it’s more common than you think, but I think it’s far more powerful to hear firsthand from other people who have been through the same thing. It certainly made me feel less alone. Even if you do decide to try again as soon as your doctor OK’s it, that still probably gives you a month or two of waiting. I hope you can use that time to work through your loss, and in my experience, talking about it was a lot easier than I thought it would be, and helped me more than I ever could have imagined!

    Good luck and lots of hugs!

  12. sassy May 19 at 3:39 pm Reply Reply

    I’m so very sorry for your loss! My second pregnany was ectopic and I had to end it. I was devastated. I know women who tried again immediately after and you just know when you’re ready to try again. I would suggest maybe seeing a counselor. I really found the one on one face to face far more helpful than anything else. It’s absolutely OK to feel how you’re feeling and a counselor can help you through that (and won’t keep asking you when you’re going to let out go, etc.). One thing that surprised me was that I got pregnant again 4 months later (I had a different situation and had to wait at least 3 months before I could even try again) and I actually kind of feel sadder about everything now than before we started TTC in part because I kind of think sometimes I don’t want to be carrying this baby, I still want to be carrying my second baby. And then of course I feel horrible for that and guilt and grrr but still I wanted so badly to start trying again right away but now i kind of wish I had waited a little longer so that my bruised heart wouldn’t still be looking at the due date from last time and could focus squarely on the baby in my uterus who if all goes well shall be joining us in Dec.

  13. Amy May 19 at 4:00 pm Reply Reply

    Not to introduce more fear, but I had four early losses before I was successful with my son, and just had another at what sounds like about the exact same time as you, OP – I’m so very sorry for your loss.  Amy’s given pretty great advice for someone who has never lived it – my biggest mistake was always not feeling like I had a ‘right’ to be heartbroken (because they were such early losses, because we’d only been not trying/not preventing, not TRYING-trying, etc., etc.). I eventually had some counseling with a therapist who specialized in grief and pregnancy loss/fertility issues, and one thing she said that has always stuck with me is this:  fear is a perfectly natural reaction.  It sucks, but it would be a lot stranger if you WEREN’T scared to try again/about trying again.  It IS scary, so it’s okay to be scared – moving forward (and yet remembering) is brave, so give yourself credit for that, and lots of it.  People you share your experience with may say dumb, awful, hurtful things, though they say them with good intentions – a lot of it comes from wanting to comfort themselves because they don’t know how to comfort you. It’s okay to acknowledge the fear – if it becomes overwhelming, seek help (counseling).  There is something liberating about hearing a person who doesn’t know you on a personal level tell you that what you’re feeling is right, normal, okay – and that you can still be happy and excited and enjoy a future pregnancy, even while carrying some of that fear.  It’s a part of human nature some people don’t like to allow, but we can and often do feel two seemingly conflicting things at once – if you hear the news of someone else’s pregnancy, you may be very happy for them and very, very sad for yourself at the same time. Doesn’t mean one or the other has to ‘win’ and the other feeling will disappear.  They can coexist, as can your fear and hope.  Best, best, best of luck to you – many hugs (and wine and chocolate, if those are your kind of things!).

  14. Amber May 19 at 4:01 pm Reply Reply

    I’m so sorry for your loss. I also lost my first very early. It was devistating and I wanted to get pregnant again as soon as possible. I ended up getting pregnant 2 months later and have a very healthy boy. My main concern was having repeated miscarriages. I just wanted to know if that was my future, which is why I decided to start trying again right away.

    Also, for me, I found talking about it to people (friends, family, coworkers) was healthy for me. I really believe that we shouldn’t have to hide this information. It’s not healthy to just pretend that miscarriages don’t happen. I understand if someone doesn’t want to talk about it, but the idea that we shouldn’t is wrong.

  15. Michelle May 19 at 4:30 pm Reply Reply

    I am so sorry for your loss.  And it’s a real loss, don’t feel like something is wrong with you if you are truly grieving… people don’t talk about miscarriage much, because it’s so personal, but I would consider at least confiding in one or two close friends besides your partner, because no one can help you through a loss if they don’t know about it.  I’m just waiting on my doctor’s ok to try again after my second early miscarriage in a row, so I know exactly how you are feeling.  

    One thing that really helped me (and I was a biology major so I’ve got the background and it rings true) was when someone told me that when it comes to the first trimester, it’s a matter of the genetics – either it will be viable, or it won’t, and there’s absolutely nothing you can do about it.  On one hand that kind of sucks, but on the other hand it means IT ISN’T YOUR FAULT.  There was nothing you would have been able to do, so please don’t let guilt burden you when you are already mourning a loss.

    I have a healthy 3-year-old who is the joy of my existence and I’m determined to give him a sibling someday – so many women who have miscarriages go on to have totally normal healthy pregnancies – hang in there!

  16. Claire May 19 at 5:02 pm Reply Reply

    The letter I wrote to Amy about this is the second link down on the related posts. I’m not going to lie, the worry doesn’t leave. I’ve had 2 beautiful children since I wrote that but the fear never left. Even after having brought my son home I was still terrified with my daughter. Part of the advice Amy gave me included NBHHY – nothing bad has happened yet. I clung to that.

    Good luck to you, I have everything crossed for a happy and healthy pregnancy for you very, very soon.

  17. Shan May 19 at 5:16 pm Reply Reply

    I was about your age and suffered 2 early losses before giving birth to my beautiful, healthy twins.  I got pregnant very quickly the first time- the second time it took about 6 months, and the third time it took nearly a year.  I felt so much grief and was  panicked that  I would never have a baby – but please keep the faith.  I clung to the thought that loss is, unfortunately, sometimes part of the decision and commitment to have children.  It doesn’t mean that you won’t have children.  If you have trouble getting pregnant a second time, you might consider seeing a specialist early.  Best of luck and lots of love to you.

  18. Molly May 19 at 5:49 pm Reply Reply

    I’m so sorry for your loss; you are not alone. I’m surprised no one has recommended Coming to Term: Uncovering the Truth About Miscarriage by Jon Cohen yet. It’s a book, not a website, but it was an immense comfort to me after I miscarried my first pregnancy. It explains the science, along with how much is still unknown about miscarriage, but it also gave me hope and helped me feel less alone. The data on miscarriage is actually surprisingly reassuring; even if you have four miscarriages in a row, you still have a greater than 70% chance of having a normal, healthy pregnancy the next time.

    http://www.amazon.com/Coming-Term-Uncovering-Truth-Miscarriage/dp/0813540534

    Like you, I also wanted to try again immediately. I will admit that every month I wasn’t pregnant was agonizing, but after 3 months of trying I was again, and everything went smoothly the second time. I read some interesting research about women experiencing healthy pregnancies after miscarriage, and one finding was that women like us tend to feel less connected to their pregnancies, and often do not believe that there will actually be a live human baby at the end of the process. That described my experience perfectly, and again, it was comforting to know that those feelings were normal. 

    Hang in there. 

  19. Kim too May 19 at 5:52 pm Reply Reply

    There are so, so many of us who have experienced this, and yet it still doesn’t get talked about much.  I wish we did -I wish I had realized how common it was before I went through it.
    My doc told me I could try again as soon as I wanted, so if you’re feeling some urgency, it’s fair to push back against waiting and find out why. You sound concerned about your age, so I will share that I miscarried at 38, conceived my first daughter through ART at 40, and my second spontaneously at 43.I will also say that I let the fact that I got pregnant easily the first lull me into a false sense of security about fertility issues.  If I had it to do over I would have gotten into treatment earlier. I’m hoping that will be irrelevant to your story.
    Best of luck to you, whatever you decide,

  20. Paige May 19 at 6:00 pm Reply Reply

    I just had an early miscarriage and then got pregnant the very next cycle. While it is great news, I am a terrified, emotional wreck about the possibility of losing this one too. I think that is just the normal response at pregnancy after miscarriage, it’s just going to be scary, but it might be worth it. Support and sympathy to you! There are a lot of us miscarriage moms out there who know what you’re going through.

  21. Megan May 19 at 7:57 pm Reply Reply

    This same time last year I had a missed miscarriage with twins, we didn’t find out until 14 weeks, after we had thought it was safe to tell everyone. When you say you were gutted, there is really no other word to describe it.
    I was fortunate enough to take a few days off work with my husband and we hid from everyone and grieved together.
    There is a happy ending to my story, like many of the ladies on here have already shared. I got pregnant again 3 months later, I cried everyday the first trimester because I was terrified of the same thing happening. Now, just 11 days ago we welcomed a beautiful baby boy. I am a true believer that everything happens for a reason.
    Good luck with your journey.

  22. Mona May 19 at 8:28 pm Reply Reply

    Adding my hugs and thoughts your way. While the time to heal is unique for everyone, I’d say jump in as soon as you feel ready.
    I work in an office that includes four women. We got on this subject one day recently. All of us have small children- and it turns out every single one of us had miscarried a very planned / hoped for pregnancy at some point. It’s amazing how many women have had this experience- talking about it helps bring healing and awareness. It helps to know others have had the same experience.

  23. jill May 19 at 11:44 pm Reply Reply

    It’s okay to try again while you are still grieving. You can celebrate a new pregnancy and grieve a lost pregnancy at the same time. 

    And don’t let fear stop you. Acknowledge your fear, and do what is best for you anyway. People thought I was fearless the way I kept trying. No, I just went ahead in spite of the fear. 

    Whatever happens, you’ll get through it. I’m hoping for good things for you. 

  24. Amy M May 20 at 1:04 am Reply Reply

    I’m sorry for your loss. I echo so much of what has already been said.

    So sorry and so teary. I know there isn’t much more that I can say than that. I’ve been where you are twice (once at 10 weeks and once at 7), and it totally totally sucks. Both of my miscarriages were “missed” miscarriages– no bleeding or anything, just no heartbeat.

    Everyone deals with a miscarriage in their own way, and feel free to do whatever it takes to get through. For me, grief counseling was incredibly helpful. For some, creating a memory box is also a comfort.

    I’m sure the doctors told you how “common” miscarriage is. Please don’t feel that because of how “common” the doctors, nurses, and the Internet tell you that miscarriages are that your sorrow and pain should be at all diminished. Yes, feel comforted that others have gone through this and can provide you support, but this is still a loss for you. This is something that makes others sad and cry for you. Please do not feel that you cannot grieve in any way you need to because of how “common” it is. So, pray, yell, cry, drink cosmos and eat sushi, whatever you need. Feel free to discount whatever I or others might say. They don’t know exactly how you feel. I knew that the “it’s common”, “I know someone who had x number of miscarriages and has 5 kids now”, and other things people said were well intentioned, but all I really needed was “I’m sorry”.

    I was in my last semester of grad school when I had my first miscarriage. I told one of my professors about it. She emailed me a link to a New York Times article that I really found useful. She didn’t have to. I was particularly touched because she also lost a child, when he was in his twenties after a double lung transplant because of his cystic fibrosis. I so appreciated that she saw my loss as something similar to her own. http://www.nytimes.com/2008/10/21/health/views/21case.html?_r=2&scp=7&sq=miscarriage&st=cse&

    It was hard for me to do baby stuff for a while. I didn’t stay long when I went to a friend’s baby shower. She knew of the miscarriage and understood. It was just too much of a reminder. I have to add too, that I am still jealous of friends who get pregnant without having a miscarriage before. That sounds horrible. For me, their pregnancy experience is not marred by the initial emotional preparation of “in case this one doesn’t work”, and I so wish that was me. Even after a successful pregnancy, I approached my next pregnancy with a lot of trepidation and prepared myself for the worst, and I expected a few miscarriages before hopefully a successful pregnancy. Quite frankly, I didn’t think my pregnancy with my 2nd would take, so she was born earlier than I expected.

    It gets better. Nothing can take away the sorrow I feel over losing them, but it has gotten much better for me, and you just soldier on. Chin up! It gets better.

    • Claire May 20 at 10:22 am Reply Reply

      I’m jealous of those people too, it’s not horrible, it’s normal. I am jealous of people who announce as soon as they get a positive test and think nothing of it.

  25. Kelly May 20 at 10:46 am Reply Reply

    My first pregnancy attempt ended in a miscarriage too. We were so, so excited and the weekend I went home to spread the news is exactly when I started bleeding. That was really rough. I am so sorry for your loss. I kept thinking I did x or y and that is what went wrong, but try not to think that way because it is simply not true.
    As soon as it was biologically safe to try again, we did. And we got pregnant right away again! We had a scare at 6 weeks again and that is what started my hair graying–I am convinced of it. :)
    We now have a happy, healthy, inconceivably smart and considerate 3 year old boy. It is ok to try again right away, and things may or may not go the same way. You have support here and whatever you decide will be the right thing to do!

  26. Caroline May 20 at 10:58 am Reply Reply

    What a miserable thing to happen. That it is INCREDIBLY common helps not a tiny bit, I realise, but there is a tiny rational positive thing here; you are capable of becoming pregnant and your dh is capable of making you pregnant. I know, I know, the horrific repeated miscarriage fear is so real, the sick terror that it will keep happening, and as Amy says, it is actually quite rational because, indeed, it has happened once. My own early m/c happened between my first 2 children. I was DEVASTATED and convinced secondary infertility was my future. My first pg happened first try, my gorgeous little boy arrived normal and healthy with not a slight hitch. So 2nd time, I was so relaxed, I mean, I got this, right? WRONG apparently… and my confidence was shattered. I now have 3 children, but that sadness and worry takes a long time to fully work through. My OB is so cool, he’s quite practical and not overly touchy-lovey, but he held my hand, looked me in the (tearful) eye and told me that 2 in 5 pregnancies end this way. Maybe more but not all get reported. It is an example of the unfairness of nature. But happily, the vast, overwhelming majority of us go on and have as many healthy babies as we can handle (or more!) and all is fine. You did nothing whatsoever to deserve this, you have joined a sad club, but when you are ready – yes, as soon as you’re physically able if that’s how you feel – you are so likely to have a happy, normal pregnancy and a little baby at the end. Best of luck, hope you’re feeling a bit more equable soon. xx

  27. MR May 20 at 12:10 pm Reply Reply

    ((hugs)) I am so sorry for your loss. You are not alone. I miscarried our first at 11.5 weeks. I literally found out when I went to the bathroom right before I was supposed to meet with my boss to tell him I was pregnant. It was brutal. And I kind of held my breath through my second pregnancy. My third pregnancy (second child), I thought I was all good, since I already had a term pregnancy. And then I started spotting at exactly 11.5 weeks. To say I freaked out is an understatement. It all came flashing back. Luckily, it turned out to be nothing really, and baby was just fine. She just turned 3 on mother’s day. I absolutely adore my girls, and am so grateful for them. And I logically know that if I had had our first, I wouldn’t be able to have our now oldest daughter, but I still have a sense of loss that will never leave. As part of my grieving process, I named the baby. We hadn’t found out the gender, but I had felt like it was a boy, so I named him, and I think about him from time to time. I actually first found out I was pregnant with him on April 1st, so I now have a pretty strong aversion to that day. I honestly don’t even remember exactly what day we lost him. That and the weeks after were a bit of a blur. I’m sorry, now I have gone off point. My point was really to say that, even if it feels like there is so much sadness now, that there is so much joy ahead! Be kind to yourself. Don’t feel guilty or bad if you want to get pregnant right away. In a few years, when you look back at this time and feel sad, you will look at your toddler and hug them, and let them help bring you back to the present where the world is light and bright.

  28. MR May 20 at 12:11 pm Reply Reply

    P.S. Amy, you got it exactly right. Your response brought me to tears. Thank you!

  29. Erin May 20 at 2:49 pm Reply Reply

    I am very sorry for your loss.  My first pregnancy also resulted in a miscarriage.  I was also 34 at the time.  My doctor advised to wait through two cycles before trying again.  We did, and 3 months after starting to try again, I became pregnant with my two and a half year old daughter and I am currently 30 weeks pregnant with our second little girl.  I don’t think there is anything I can say to stop the worrying, but I hope it offers you hope that this will be the most painful time in your efforts to expand your family.  And the only advice I have is to not be afraid to talk about your experience.  I don’t know that the actual conversation helped me much, but hearing from SO MANY people that they (or someone close to them) had also been through a miscarriage helped me to see how many people go on to have successful pregnancies after a loss.  I realize it is no guarantee and this is probably painful to hear for the women who suffer multiple losses, but it helped me to have that kind of hope.

  30. Sarah May 20 at 3:29 pm Reply Reply

    I am so sorry for your loss.  I also experienced two early miscarriages (both missed and both we saw the heartbeat the first ultrasound and then two weeks later… nothing).  I was given the general doctor advice that everyone mentioned above, but I also wanted to add that if you think something is wrong- do NOT hesitate to bring it up to the doctor.  In my case, something seemed off with my cycle- and even though I had no other symptoms, my repeated assurances that something was not right was enough for my doctor to run some quick blood tests.  And I was right- I have PCOS which was the cause of my miscarriages.  So I know it’s hard- but to the extent you can-  try not to worry but also be your own advocate.  Good luck to you and I hope to get a follow up from you soon with some really awesome positive news.

  31. Lydia May 20 at 4:34 pm Reply Reply

    I’m so sorry.  I lost my first pregnancy at 6 weeks in 2011.  It is so different for everyone, know that first and foremost.  There is no right or wrong way to grieve.  You have to figure out what works for you and your DH.

    Unfortunately, my loss was the start of a difficult journey to parenthood as it took us over 2.5 years to conceive again and no one knew why.  I was terrified I’d lose another pregnancy.  However my story is not normal or common, so please don’t let it add to your fears.  I am currently 32 weeks pregnant with a baby girl and things are going well.  But I spent the first trimester in a near panic.  It’s okay to just FEEL it as it happens.  Emotions are rarely neat and tidy and that’s okay.  I had a total breakdown right around 6 weeks where I was CONVINCED I was having another miscarriage.  Went in to have an ultrasound and saw a strong beating heart.  It went from being the worst day of my life to the best in a matter of minutes.

    If you feel up to it, and have some trusted friends or family, please share with them your loss.  It helped me immensely to share with people that I’d been through something so difficult.  It also made them sensitive to me in the months to follow when I had a hard time going to baby showers and 1st birthday parties.  Having some empathy moving forward was hugely important, especially as we continued to struggle.  

    Good luck to you, and I hope the rest of your path to parenthood goes smoothly.

  32. Celina May 20 at 5:09 pm Reply Reply

    I am so, so sorry. I agree with Amy that how you process and grieve a miscarriage really can have an an effect emotionally in subsequent pregnancies, so grieve however works for you and feel your way through it. That’s what helped me. I have had two miscarriages, my first pregnancy, and my third. They each were incredibly hard. But I have two beautiful girls that remind me that hope, even fearful hope, is SO worth it. Amy is also right about the worry- the unique worry of a mother who has lost a pregnancy. But I try to let just be an undercurrent. I think that is why processing and working through it is so important– so that next time (again: hope!) you can face it for what it is, and carry on without being swept away by all of it. I am so hopeful for you! And again, I’m so sorry. I hope you have – and take full advantage of – love and support from friends and family. I found it really helped to talk about it once I was ready. <3

  33. Fearfully Hopeful May 20 at 8:33 pm Reply Reply

    Thank you so, so much – to Amy and all of you who commented. I don’t even know what to say, except that I am processing your words and will carry them with me. It truly means so much. I’m not sure I can really put into words what I feel, except much of it you understand. There are days I feel stronger and days I want to shut away. In some ways this has been a beautiful experience. Is that strange to say? It is amazing how you can love something that barely existed. It is amazing how people will surround you with love in your darkest hours. I have felt for a few years now that I already have a child out there – a child that I already love – that I am just waiting for them to come to me. That is why I won’t give up, even through the fear. But your words have also helped me understand it is okay to both want a(nother) child and continue to mourn this one. xoxo

  34. Kristin May 21 at 2:31 pm Reply Reply

    Dear Fearfully Hopeful – Many hugs to you, and nods of understanding. Tears are welling up in my eyes for you because I know how you feel. I miscarried my first pregnancy and spent a year driving myself absolutely insane trying to get pregnant again. It was all I could think about. My boss (of all people) suggested visiting a fertility clinic so that I could take back some of the control and I found that helpful. The diagnosis was to just keep trying. Finally, after I had given up and decided to just stop trying for a bit, one stuck, and she’s 16 months old now. I’ll tell you – there’s nothing like a baby to help you forget the anguish of the one that never was. After such trouble conceiving the first, I’m now 8.5 months pregnant with her sister – so heads up on that, too. Just because the first took a while doesn’t mean you’ll have any trouble with subsequent pregnancies.

    Good luck to you, Fearfully Hopeful. You aren’t alone and you’re going to make an incredible mother.

  35. Rachek May 21 at 7:53 pm Reply Reply

    I’m so very, very sorry for your loss, and I want to add to the chorus of virtual support.  I had three miscarriages between my two children, and I know so well how devastating it is, and how hard it is to know when to try again. Everyone processes it differently, but for me it did get so much better after my second child was born. The grief of the losses is still real, but when i look at my son, i think “if i didn’t have the losses, I wouldn’t have you”.  I also frequently re-read this column from amalah when I was scared during my last pregnancy: http://alphamom.com/pregnancy/pregnancy-loss-ptsd/
    As she says at the end  “1 hope, though, that in some small way this post and the comments will bring you some measure of peace to know that you are not alone in these feelings and that there are many, many strangers on the Internet rooting for you and your pregnancy now.” 

  36. Erica May 22 at 11:51 am Reply Reply

    I am so sorry for your loss, and this is a definite loss.  As Amy said, please, grieve in every, any, and all ways you need to.

    I don’t know your pain, but I would like to address the “I’m too old for this” part of your fear.
    No.  
    You are not.
    I just gave birth to my surprise third child and I am 44.  You are definitely DEFINITELY not too old for this.  I might be, but you? You are not.  I was 36 when I gave birth to my first and I was not too old.  I was 38 for #2 and still not too old.  And while being pregnant at 43 was admittedly not my favorite (crabbiest old pregnant woman EVER, yes I was)  I am not too old to be my son’s Mommy.

    Miscarriages are a little more common than we realize.  A friend who is pregnant now suffered two of them over the past year before her current, working out just fine so far pregnancy, and her doctors refused to be concerned about anything until after three miscarriages.  Another friend suffered 5 or 6 miscarriages before her new doctor helped figure out how to get her to carry a child to term. (She now has two sons.)  As awful as they are, hang in there, keep working with your doctor, and have hope.  

  37. Elizabeth May 22 at 5:49 pm Reply Reply

    I’m sorry for your loss. I do know how you feel.

    I had my first miscarriage in 2008 at 6 weeks. We were already going to baby stores and looking at cribs and things. It was gutwrenching. And I never got back that pregnancy innocence.

    I had my second miscarriage in in 2011 at 9 weeks, but we didn’t find out until the 11 week appointment. I had been very nervous about that pregnancy, not believing it would go right. My husband had been much more positive. We had already told his parents, in that window between when she died and when we found out. Quinn was born (yes, there was a labor involved with a baby that size, which nobody told me to expect) in mid May. I decided I wanted to try again right away, but told my husband that if I had a third miscarriage I didn’t know if I could continue trying.

    By that July I was pregnant. My healthy son was born in 2013. Completely normal pregnancy (aside from a little pre-gestational diabetes), though I had lots of first trimester scans at Maternal Fetal Medicine to make sure – mostly because I was so scared.

    I had my third miscarriage in September 2013. It was 7 weeks. I hadn’t even had a first scan yet. But we knew we wanted two kids, so I decided to try again right away.

    I am due in August of this year. I will be 35 at the due date. Even now I hate getting questions about the pregnancy and hate having to wear obvious maternity clothes. I am fortunate in that my build allows me to hide pregnancies pretty well until at least 20 weeks or so.

    The pain and the fear, while it may lessen, will never go away fully. Pregnancy for us is no longer a joyous, magical time. It’s scary. And that’s normal. There are a lot of us out there, but we don’t talk about it. You can see from the responses here how many of us there are.

    Many, many women go on to have healthy children after miscarriage. I hope you will be one of them. Talk to your partner, decide what you can and cannot do. For me, I decided that if I had one more loss of late first trimester or later, I would reserve the right to refuse to get pregnant again, and we could look at adoption.

    How do you get pregnant again without being overcome by fear? One day at a time. One hour at a time. One minute at a time, if necessary. And find a group of women who know what you are going through, to support you in the dark times. If you are a member of Ravelry.com (a knitting/crafting site) there is a strong loss community in the forums there and you would be more than welcome.

    FWIW, my most successful pregnancies have been within a few cycles after a loss, and there is anecdotal evidence that many women have some kind of increased fertility effect after a loss.

    Good luck with whatever you decide!

  38. traci May 22 at 5:50 pm Reply Reply

    Your story sounds so much like mine. I had waited so long to start trying and then got pregnant right away and then had an abnormal miscarriage around thanksgiving. It was horrible. I’m not going to suggest how to grieve, go with how you feel, however if you aren’t functioning after a few months get some help. Don’t be surprised if you are randomly hit with overwhelming grief sometimes, some things you don’t expect to upset you will and that’s ok, let yourself cry it out. My baby was due at the same time as the royal baby and when I see anything about that kid I do always have atwinge of sadness and what if and then it passes.
    Be forwarned that you might feel upset if you don’t get pregnant immediately, but that will pass too and when you do get pregnant paranoia is normal and you’ll probably freak over every little thing, but you will finally get that little one (statistically you will bc most women go on to have normal healthy pregnancies after miscarrying). I do still think of my little speck (that’s what I called my unknown baby), but right now I have a beutiful baby boy who wouldn’t be if that speck had grown and in that knowledge I’ve found peace.
    It hurts like hell now, but one day your speck will grow and you’ll have the little one you are meant to have, it doesn’t mean the other wasn’t wanted…

  39. Morgan May 22 at 6:05 pm Reply Reply

    So glad you are talking about it. So many women go through miscarriage silently and I have found healing in sharing my experience. We miscarried our first pregnancy at nine weeks and I was gutted emotionally for five months before conceiving again. That second pregnancy resulted in our now 3.5 year old daughter. While we will always mourn the loss of our first, my husband and I both had a tremendous healing three days after our daughter was born. I’m not going to lie, though, we spent the entire pregnancy on pins and needles until our girl was in our arms. And man oh man, is this girl both loved and so completely cherished! We just now decided to try for #2, got pregnant the first month, found out on Mother’s Day, and I miscarried one week later at not quite five weeks. The sadness is all so fresh again and I’m back to baby steps to get through my day. Take care of yourself and know that whatever that means may be different for you. But most of all, don’t be scared to feel hope again. Hugs to you. 

  40. Jules May 23 at 3:54 pm Reply Reply

    I’m so sorry for your loss. So, so sorry. I’m also glad that you’re reaching out for support, because it’s so important.

    I also suffered a miscarriage the day before Mother’s Day in 2010. I was only 7 weeks along, and it was our first attempt at getting pregnant and we were SO excited about it. It hurt like hell. I remember having to attend my MIL’s Mother’s Day BBQ that Sunday and having to field questions from DH’s family about the loss and just wishing I could crawl in a hole somewhere and cry, because none of them understood that I was in pain, and there were a lot of insensitive comments along the lines of “It wasn’t meant to be.”

    I found support and healing in an online forum on the WebMD website. There are two groups there that were healing for me, Conceiving After Loss and Pregnancy After Loss. It was comforting to talk to other women who felt the same way I did about my loss, who shared my fears in conceiving again, who reassured me every step of the way when I got pregnant again (2 months later) and who celebrated with me when I had my son in April 2011. For me, talking with other women who were or had been in the same situation was healing and it was what I needed.

    ((BIG HUGS)) to you, Fearfully Hopeful. Each woman is different, each loss story is different, but you are not alone and you do not have to grieve alone if you don’t want to.

    Those fears that you mentioned, of never conceiving again, never having a baby if you do, loss after loss, they never completely went away for me. I just found out I’m pregnant again, and each day I check off the calendar feels like a miracle. I think about the possibility of a loss every day. It’s scary, but it’s worth it (to me) to have the possibility of another beautiful, wonderful child. I wish you healing, peace, and courage, and I have faith that you will come through this too.

  41. vanessa May 23 at 7:58 pm Reply Reply

    I am really, really sorry. I’ve never been pregnant (despite trying) so I can’t even imagine. However, I have two links, because I can’t help but try to offer resources:
    This is a Dear Sugar letter that talks about how wondering how god could do something horrible to a parent (I know I didnt see this in your letter, but it will become clear): http://therumpus.net/2011/10/dear-sugar-the-rumpus-advice-column-88-the-human-scale/
    Anyway,she talks about creating a false hierarchy of the blessed and the damned, which really helps me sometimes wondering about Great Unfairness. 
    Also, Martha Manning has a book about mourning a miscarriage.

    http://www.amazon.com/All-Seasons-Pass-Grieving-Miscarriage/dp/1893732088

    and if you want one more happy data point– a good friend of mine had to terminate a wanted pregnancy at 20 weeks due to the fetus not having kidneys or a bladder. it was  a horrible experience and talking to people helped her. And although her third pregnancy was really scary, she now has, in addition to a 3 year old, a beautiful 6 month old. 

    Good luck. I am so sorry.

  42. Sherry May 27 at 5:32 pm Reply Reply

    So sorry you are going through this. Like so many of the ladies above I’ve also been through this twice in a row. First one was at 7 weeks, and resulted in a D&C, then the second 6 months later was at 6 weeks. I realized with the second one that I hadn’t fully processed that first one yet and the grief really took a toll on me. So take time to feel the emotions. I am happy to say that knock on wood, I am pregnant again and am at 18 weeks – the furthest I’ve ever made it. I’ve tried really hard to stay positive and take things day by day, but the worry is always there. We had a scare at 14 weeks and we thought we were going to face another loss – but thank goodness all is well. As Amy mentioned all pregnancies are going to come with some amount of worry no matter what, so I’ve accepted that. Hang in there – you are not alone! All the best!

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