What I Wish I Had Known About Miscarriages
Unfortunately, another by-product of the lack of public support and information about miscarriage is that women aren’t given much information about what to expect. And because so much of women’s experiences of miscarriages are kept hidden, there’s no one around to tell you how it might really feel to lose a child. These are the things I wish I had known…
1. That it can be painful. It’s like having a bad period, they said. Really?! Maybe that’s true for some people, but I have had pretty painful periods my whole life, and this was way worse than any period that I have had. I can only imagine that it would have been worse had I been even further along. It actually feels a lot more like labor than a period, only you don’t get the same end result.
2. That every pregnancy announcement I will hear or read after my miscarriage will upset me, even if I’m not even sure I want to be pregnant again. I truly hate feeling this way. I am genuinely happy for my pregnant friends. Obviously, I wouldn’t want anyone I care about to go through what I did, but it doesn’t keep me from feeling upset. It’s a completely irrational feeling but there’s nothing I can do about it.
3. That I will feel weird around pregnant women. I am often very uncomfortable around pregnant women, especially if they are due in the same month or close to when our baby was due. This is another thing I really hate but it’s not something I have a choice in. I often feel anything from anger to jealousy to just immense sadness.
4. That even if I have been feeling fine for weeks at a time, sometimes one little thing will trigger my memory of it all and I will spend most of my day thinking about it all over again. It’s crazy how even the small things will mess with me, even when it’s been almost six months.
5. That I will be “keeping track” of my pregnancy at every holiday and birthday. I am always thinking of how far along I would be in my pregnancy, and holidays just seem to make that worse. Maybe it’s because when I first found out I was pregnant, I had the whole thing mapped out in my head. Yep. Before that second pink line even showed up on the test, I already knew my due date and how far along I would be at each holiday and what I “should” be doing right now to prepare for another baby. Unfortunately, that plan I had in place that was supposed to be in play right now is not so easily forgotten.
6. That the grief resulting from a miscarriage is very lonely. Yes, I have a couple of friends who have been very understanding and helpful, but most people are just afraid to bring it up. It’s just really awkward a lot of the time.
7. That I will feel guilty that my other kids didn’t get to have the sibling they wanted. I know that there is nothing I can do about it, but I feel so badly that my kids won’t get to meet their brother or sister. They were just as excited about the new baby as we were, and I feel bad that I couldn’t fix this for them.
8. That the hormones will probably take months to sort through. Have you ever felt your hormones raging? It is a really awful feeling. It has dissipated some since the miscarriage, but my cycles are still a little “off,” though I couldn’t easily explain why. I just know that I feel the symptoms of the cyclical changes in my hormones much more than I ever did before, and some days I just feel awful because of it. It’s very frustrating to feel like you can’t physically or emotionally keep up with your life because your body just won’t allow it.
9. That some days the hormones/depression will win. This really, really sucks. It is much better than it was but it’s not where I would like to be, for sure. Being a therapist, I know what I’m supposed to do when faced with these kinds of challenges. In the beginning, I made myself keep up with my work responsibilities and my social stuff (book club, journal circle, etc.) because I knew I needed to make sure I didn’t isolate myself. I made myself get some light exercise and I started running again a couple of months ago. Sometimes, it’s the last thing I want to do, but I push myself because I know it will help. But even though I do all those things, some days are just hard, and it’s a huge leap of faith to just remind myself that tomorrow will be better.
10. That some people will just completely ignore what has happened. I know it is just because it’s awkward, but I will never again turn my head when this happens to someone I know.