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After a Miscarriage

After a Miscarriage

By Amalah

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

Pregnancy Loss Support Program (PLSP)

 

Amalah
About the Author

Amy Corbett Storch

Amalah

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 Ama...

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 [email protected].

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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Been there
Guest
Been there

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,… Read more »

s
Guest
s

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… Read more »

Marnie
Guest
Marnie

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.… Read more »

Liz
Guest
Liz

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… Read more »

Kristin
Guest
Kristin

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… Read more »

Katie
Guest
Katie

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… Read more »

Liz
Guest
Liz

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!

Isabel Kallman
Admin

Thank you, Liz for adding to the resource list.

BethK
Guest
BethK

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… Read more »

Sarah
Guest
Sarah

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… Read more »

Amy
Guest
Amy

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… Read more »

Bonnie
Guest
Bonnie

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… Read more »

sassy
Guest
sassy

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… Read more »

Amy
Guest

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… Read more »

Amber
Guest
Amber

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… Read more »

Michelle
Guest
Michelle

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… Read more »

Claire
Guest
Claire

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.

Shan
Guest
Shan

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,… Read more »

Molly
Guest
Molly

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,… Read more »

Kim too
Guest
Kim too

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… Read more »

Paige
Guest
Paige

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.

Megan
Guest
Megan

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… Read more »

Mona
Guest
Mona

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.

jill
Guest
jill

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. 

Amy M
Guest
Amy M

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… Read more »

Claire
Guest
Claire

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.

Kelly
Guest
Kelly

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… Read more »

Caroline
Guest
Caroline

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… Read more »

MR
Guest
MR

((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,… Read more »

MR
Guest
MR

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

Erin
Guest
Erin

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… Read more »

Sarah
Guest
Sarah

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.… Read more »

Lydia
Guest
Lydia

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… Read more »

Celina
Guest
Celina

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… Read more »

Fearfully Hopeful
Guest
Fearfully Hopeful

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… Read more »

Isabel Kallman
Admin

many hugs to you. xoxo

Kristin
Guest
Kristin

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… Read more »

Rachek
Guest
Rachek

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… Read more »

Erica
Guest
Erica

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… Read more »

Elizabeth
Guest
Elizabeth

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… Read more »

traci
Guest
traci

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… Read more »

Morgan
Guest
Morgan

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… Read more »

Jules
Guest
Jules

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… Read more »

vanessa
Guest
vanessa

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… Read more »

Sherry
Guest
Sherry

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.… Read more »

Trying again
Guest
Trying again

My first pregnancy went perfectly so I wasn’t super concerned with my second. We didn’t tell people except our family at 6 weeks since it was Christmas. Apparently that was when we lost it but didn’t find out until my 11 week ultrasound. No bleeding, no cramps, no clue. It was a terrible shock and my co worker announced her pregnancy a few days after I lost mine with a due date just a week after mine. I’ve struggled with that part, especially the baby shower. No one at work knew so I had to carry on normally bc I… Read more »