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What Nobody Tells You About Miscarriages (Because Nobody Talks About It)
a blog by Katie Landry
When I miscarried in November 2012, one of the most shocking discoveries I made was was so many other people I know that had miscarried also.
But I had never known that. That was all news to me.
I know that pregnancies, miscarrying and the like are all personal issues, but some of these girls were good friends. I mean, really good friends. Why didn't I know they went through this? Sure, I couldn't have stopped it, but certainly I could have been a support for them. I could have prayed for them. I could have done something.
I truly do respect people's privacy, and I sincerely believe "telling" - either about pregnancy or miscarriage - is a personal choice; I believe you should be choosy about whom you tell. But I started to think about the taboo behind it: "Don't tell before 12 weeks. That's when the risk of miscarriage is highest."
OK - and? So now, if you miscarry, you bear this burden alone? Just because nobody knows you are dealing with it, it doesn't exist? Sure, it's no fun to have to go back and tell people what happened, but it also is no fun to be in pain and suffering and 'not yourself' - and nobody knows why.
When I miscarried, I felt like a freak. Like there was something wrong with me. Like I was alone. But when I found out that this had happened to so many women I knew, I couldn't help but ask, "If this is so common, why doesn't anybody talk about it???"
I know it is extremely painful and personal, but it is also incredibly helpful for women who miscarry to be able to be able to connect with other women who have been down that road and can offer support and insight. But unless you know whom this has happened to, you don't even know where to go for support.
So because nobody talks about it, I was totally blind-sided by the after-effects of a miscarriage. If people had been talking, here's what I wish they would have told me:
- There are a whole new set of hypothetical calendar dates that now are 'real' for you: "This would have been his due date." "We were going to have our first Christmas with our baby." "This summer, we were supposed to be at beach..." You will probably spend the rest of your life noting 'invisible' dates on the calendar - birthdays, anniversaries, milestones that should have been...but aren't.
- Jealousy will come out in all different ways, at all different times. You really want to be the bigger person when everyone seems to get pregnant so easily...but it is really hard. Something rises up in you that just wants to scratch out your eyes if you see one more pregnancy announcement on Facebook (and if it is an adorable Pinterest idea, you want to scratch out their eyes, too). All you see when you see their babies in their arms is your baby. We don't want to be vengeful - and we wouldn't wish a miscarriage on anyone...but why does she get to hold a baby and not me? Why was it so easy for her?
- You'll probably be tortured by second-guessing. Could I have done something different? Maybe it was that one cup of coffee? Or the Diet Coke I had before I knew I was pregnant? Maybe if I didn't go to Zumba? I shouldn't have eaten that greasy junk food. Maybe it was my fault? Somehow, you will relive every moment between conception and miscarriage and wonder if there was something you did that contributed to it.
- You will question your womanhood. More than likely, you will be plagued with feelings of inadequacy. "What is wrong with me?" "I don't feel like a 'normal' woman; I can't even do what a woman's body was clearly designed to do." "I'm letting my husband down." "I'm letting myself down." Those self-doubts will rattle the core of your identity as a woman.
- Pregnancy going forward will never be the same. There will never be such a thing as a 'carefree' pregnancy for you. This fear will always be in the back of your mind.
"Did I feel these same symptoms last time?" "It was the 7-week sonogram that had bad news when I miscarried before." "Last time, at 10 weeks was when I lost the baby...'" And even when we pass those milestones, we can probably find 100 examples of other women who lost babies past those points. And each new milestone brings new worries. We might clear one, but the next one is always looming just ahead.
So do I really wish that my friends told me all these terrible things I would feel and experience? Well, yes and no. Yes, because I think it would have helped me feel 'normal' when I felt or thought these things. I would know that I wasn't crazy for feeling them. I would know that all of those thoughts and emotions are just part of the journey. Every woman who miscarries feels them to some degree or other.
And no, because I would hope that they wouldn't just leave it there with all the bad news. I hope that they would include what happens after all those negative feelings run their course:
- Yes, eventually you will smile again.
- Yes, you will be able to see babies and want to hold them and not just cry because you wish it were yours.
- Yes, you will actually feel genuine joy someday when you hear about other women getting pregnant; this time, it won't make you (that) jealous but instead, it will give you hope.
- Yes, there is more to life than infertility, miscarriage, and even pregnancy. There are still a lot of meaningful, significant, important things to life for.
- Yes, eventually you will feel like yourself again.
- Though you never forget that precious life that was once alive in you - eventually, yes, it gets better.