DEALING WITH THE PAIN OF MISCARRIAGE

I’ve never been very good at keeping things to myself at the best of times, and certainly if I was faced with something as exciting as finding out I’m pregnant, I’d probably struggle with keeping my trap shut, regardless of the implications!

But then, I’m not pregnant but was recently in the interesting situation of a close friend of mine revealing the wonderful news that she was pregnant.  She shared it over dinner with myself and two other close mates, and of course we were thrilled with her news!

Thrilled as I was, I felt myself holding back; out of fear given she was only just at the 5-week mark! While her two other friends treated it with the enthusiasm expected when someone you love finally gets the dream she was hoping, I couldn’t help but be measured with my response.  I just wanted her to be safe.

She said she wanted to tell us because naturally it was hard to contain her surprise and happiness at the finding, and also because if the worst-case scenario happened, she would need us there for all the support she’d undoubtedly need.

Sadly for my beautiful friend, a month later she got back to us and said she’d miscarried. To which, I burst into tears knowing how devastated she would now be.

And she was, and she probably needed us now more than she ever had, so for her it was right to at least tell us. There was still an amount of guilt that I felt that I had been hesitant to go completely with the elation she had that day, even though my fears were sadly founded.

Although we both knew she hadn’t reached the so called ‘safe’ period, in her heart she had that baby inside her and how on earth could she not feel connected to it, and how could she ever stop herself from feeling however you feel when you know that there’s a child growing inside you?

Of course she, as every other mother no doubt does, upon finding out they’re pregnant, allowed herself to believe that in 9 months she would have the little angel she’d always dreamed of having.  Time, in this case as short as it was, held no protection to the fact that she was now grieving the loss of her child.

Although I’ve never had a miscarriage myself, I can only imagine the horrific grief that a mother, and equally the father must have to endure when they go from ‘feeling’ that child, only to find in one traumatic moment, it’s gone.

Even for us women who seem to talk about absolutely everything, how many of us have really talked about how this feels with our friends? And for the boys, how much support do they really get from their mates? As with all grief, the silence that comes after must be unbearable.

Is it better to protect yourself by not telling anyone your news until you clear the 12 weeks? Potentially allowing for the news to travel, only to then have to deal with not only the inconceivable pain of the loss, but then to never know when someone who hasn’t heard that you miscarriaged, innocently enquires where you’re at?

I thought of my friend alone that day in her apartment, discovering what only a mother that has miscarried could describe.   How alone and soul destroying that time must have been.

And then, I think of the father, who although not physically carrying that child in his belly but undoubtedly in his heart must feel?  Too terrible kinds of alone that tragically so many people out there know only too well!

I’m glad now that my friend did share her news so soon, because I realised that knowing she’d gone through the up, and then the horrific down, would have been extra silence she certainly did not need.

28 thoughts on “DEALING WITH THE PAIN OF MISCARRIAGE

  1. What a honest and interesting read, while I have never had a Miscarriage and have 2 beautiful boys, it was something was certainly a big concern in both pregnancies. I agree with you Amber, there is no shame in sharing the news with close friends and family as no doubt its not a pain we want to bear alone.

    • Hey Letisha, read Janelle’s post on this if you have time. I think she really brilliantly explains what it must be like. Very thoughtfully written

  2. The first time I found out I was pregant I was 5 weeks and I told everyone. I miscarried at 12 weeks and 1 day. I know a lot of people were worried about me telling everyone so early and I got a few calls at 12 weeks to say congratulations and then the next morning it was gone. I am glad that I told everyone as I needed them more than ever.

    I have gone on to have 3 children and still told everyone within days of finding out in the early weeks. After the miscarriage I was worried that it would happen again and found it helpful to have my friends know during the early weeks to help me get through without stressing too much. My husband found it hard to deal with as he didn’t really have a huge emotional connection to the first pregnancy and couldn’t quite understand how I was feeling.

    I have friends that have suffered miscarriages as well and we have all been great support for each other.

    • I can imagine Rebecca that the men find it really hard to know how to feel, or if it does affect them it must be very difficult as it’s not something I imagine the boys discuss much amongst themselves. And also, I guess they feel that their feelings aren’t as great as the mother’s because she was physically attached to the child as well. I do feel for the boys too!!!

  3. For some reason there seems to be some shame associated with miscarriage, which I am at a loss to understand. I am one of those people who always waited the 12 weeks to tell people that I was pregnant and I think it is hard to cope with a miscarriage whenever, however it happens. I miscarried at 11 weeks and was booked in for a curette two days after the ultrasound confirmed there was no longer a heartbeat. I went to work the day before the curette and told them I would be taking a week off for sick leave, not knowing how I would cope emotionally with the experience. Work did not know the circumstances of my sick leave and I felt no need to tell them. On my return to work, I was called into the office and told that I had been seen in town and was questioned about my sick leave (I had been taking my 2 year old to her swimming lessons). I then told my boss about the my miscarriage and his comment was that at least I could start trying again. (big sigh)
    It has been 8 years since I miscarried, I don’t grieve for either child (also miscarried at 8 weeks) I had two more amazing daughter after my two miscarriages. Although it is not something I go around telling everyone, I am not embarrassed that I miscarried, I am happy to talk about it, so that other women do not feel alone.
    It was a difficult time, because as you mentioned as soon as you know you are pregnant you start the dream and you feel a little foolish, like you were tricking people perhaps. The best way that I can try to explain it, is that it is similar to losing a pet. You know how people don’t really understand how you could be that upset over losing something, and they just can’t relate and maybe you feel a little strange that it hurts that much. It feels a little like that, well at least to me it did.

    • wow, the way you describe your experience is so spot on to how I can imagine that it must feel. I really hope people read this post of yours because it’s really well articulated, and clearly from the heart. It sums up the confusing grief that so many girls must only know if they have experienced a miscarriage. Good on you for sharing that. Thank you.xx

  4. I miscarried my first pregnancy. While this was a huge loss to my husband and I, we were able to deal with the loss and move forward as we planned to have children and knew for a fact that we would try again. We now have three beautiful children. Earlier this year I discovered I was pregnant again despite us being careful. It was hard to decide what to do about the pregnancy but we both agreed to go on and have the baby. I had my usual scans and saw my healthy little baby on the screen, I got to keep the pictures and as the weeks passed I started to get really excited about the pregnancy and we started to make plans for the future. At the very end of the first trimester I felt something was wrong and I went to the hospital to get it checked out. My baby’s heart was no longer beating. My loss was classed as a missed miscarriage so I had to be booked in for a curette. As I arrived at the hospital for the curette I began to bleed very heavily and had to be rushed into surgery. Not only had I lost the life of my baby but I nearly lost my own life too.

    I am still struggling to deal with the loss. I grieve for my lost baby. I grieve the fact that I was so upset when I discovered I was pregnant. I grieve that I considered termination for at least two weeks before deciding to keep the baby. I grieve for the time that I could have been celebrating this little life that was to be cut so short. Not only do I have all this grief and guilt but my husband and I don’t know how to move forward. Do we try again? How do you try again when you never tried o get pregnant in the first place? It would have been a big strain to have 4 kid but we would have found a way to get by. If we try to get pregnant and then are financially strained would we resent ourselves for purposely putting ourselves in the situation rather than dealing with a surprise gift that we were given?

    I have spent hours searching for information on how to cope with the loss of a baby. Sometimes I find little piece of advice that sound helpful, sometimes it makes me cry and sometimes it makes me so darn furious. It seems so often that I am told to take time for myself, to take the time to grieve, but in real life it is so hard to take time for yourself – I barely have time to cut my toe nails or even to go to the toilet without at least one child knocking on the door. When do you grieve when you have to work, when you have three children who don’t know what happened and are too young to understand?

    I think it is really important to be able to talk about the loss of a baby and for miscarriage to be recognized as the death of a baby, not as a medical condition suffered.

    It is really important to have the support of friends. For the friends though, and especially the friends that have never been pregnant or suffered a miscarriage, don’t try to give advice, the only things needed from you are you ears to listen, your shoulder to cry on and your arms for hug. One of the hardest things to deal with is the well meant but gut wrenching comments from other people. Comments like “There must have been something wrong with the baby.”, “Well it’s better now than if you were further along.”, “You can always try again.”, “Well, it just wasn’t meant to be.” – No one would dare say comments like that if the baby had actually survived to term and been born and then passed away.

    We need to acknowledge that miscarriage is the loss of a life. If you are the friend of someone who has suffered a miscarriage, you should acknowledge the loss how you would acknowledge the death of a close family member of theirs – just because you never met that person doesn’t mean they never existed and that the grief, pain and loss are not real.

    • Cherie that sounds like a VERY tough time. I can only imagine all the various layers of grief that you went through, and the major trauma and shock of nearly dying. Have you had some counselling to make sure that time hasn’t stayed with you? I really to agree though that when we hear that someone has had a miscarriage, rather than as some do, think “I won’t intrude and I’ll leave her alone”, which perhaps then if everyone is doing the same, then the person feels even more alone, and perhaps even angry that those close to her – or the people that she would normally talk to – just dropped off the face of the earth. I always believe that when something awful happens to someone you care for, making a phone call at least to check on them is the right thing to do. They don’t have to answer the phone if they’re not up to it, but at least they know you’re there and thinking of them. Thanks Cherie. I am so glad you have 3 more wonderful babies.x

  5. Hi Amber,
    This is a wonderful article on miscarriage, very truthful and the girls who have responded thankyou for sharing.
    I know many girls who have had one or more miscarriages and now have a bundle of joy in their arms, I have been there to support each of them and realise how devastating it must be to find out you are pregnant only to lose it, brings me to tears.
    I have never been in this situation as my husband and I have been trying for almost 3 years now with no luck, not 1 positive test at all, so we are at a whole other end of the spectrum. My one comment to one of the responses where it was written a boss said “at least you can try again” whilst a horrible inconsiderate rude thoughtless thing to say the first thing that pops into my head is at least you can get pregnant in the first place and you can try again, and 99% of the time you go onto have successfull pregnancies.
    I am certainly not trying to make this any less than what it is but there are so many devastating blows to women out there, whether it be through miscarriage, infertility or the inability to fall pregnant that we should certainly bring it all to light and talk about it so others can feel and see how devastating it is. This article certinaly helps to start this off. Thankyou

    • LC thanks so much for your story! Look I’m sure most people will understand your ‘first thought’. I have a friend who has been trying unsuccessfully to have a child for a long time and I have no doubt that that thought would pop into her head too. And of course that’s nothing against anyone who loses a child because really I guess when you have that miscarriage, it’s about loss which we all hopefully move on from, but at the time it feels like you might not. And also, at that time, and until you’ve had that next baby and it’s survived, you don’t know for a fact that you’re still in the category of able to have a child. So, thank you for raising another point that we hadn’t thought of. But no doubt, others in your situation would. By the way, are you based in Adelaide? x

  6. I had a missed miscarriage at 11.5 weeks. I told everyone because I was so excited!!! It was worse I think because I didnt know I had miscarried until the Radiographer called in the Doctor at the Xray place. They called it a missed miscarriage because it had only happened in the last day or two. I was in shock at first as I was on my own, my husband couldnt make it and thought everything would be ok but it wasnt. I walked out of the xray place very devastated. Luckily my private Obstetrician was across the road and the doctor had phoned ahead to tell him I was coming over. I saw him straight away and he put me into hospital that day to have a D&C so I didnt have to go through the miscarriage.
    I now have a beautiful 4 year old son who happened to have been born the day I was due with the baby I miscarried. I just keep telling myself that these things happen for a reason.

    • WOW, so happy to hear about your gorgeous son. That’s interesting that he was born that day. Sounds like he was determined to be with you.x

  7. Thank you for sharing Amber and everyone.

    I talk with families every day who have lost a baby and the one thing that we as a program can offer is that we support families who suffer any type of loss at any gestation.. because the loss of a baby at any stage matters.. a loss should not be judged.. the loss of a bay is not something to get over it is something that we learn to live with..

    I am always interested in peoples thoughts and feelings about suffering a miscarriage to give us a better insight into what parents/families/women need.. Some of the peoples stories that have touched me incredibly have come form women who have suffered the loss of their baby by miscarriage, there words have impacted me incredibly as they tell of feeling their grief and heartache is not warranted because of their baby’s gestation. Very heartbreaking and I hope we can change this misconception.. Miscarriage is a very individual experience and should not be generalized as it does matter and for some people is a devastating loss that they have to work through..

    Cherie teddy love club provides bereavement support please know you are welcome to contact us or visit our website http://www.teddyloveclub.org.au

    Trudi
    very proud mum to twin daughters born sleeping 2002

  8. Hi Amber
    I suffered a miscarriage at 11 weeks after telling everyone that we were going to have a baby. I thought everything would be fine as I already had a healthy child. I was absolutely devastated. My friends didn’t call and when my husband spoke to them they said that they didn’t know what to say. All I needed to hear was “HI”.
    I really struggled with the grief that I felt, as we were living in a rural area, there was no one close by to even take my mind off my grief.
    I did some searching on the internet and found a website that has jewellery and cards in rememberance of your lost baby. I ordered a key chain with tiny footprints on it and 11 weeks printed on the back. You would not believe the relief that I felt when I received the key chain. I kept it with me all the time and still do, 5 years later. I think it was just the ability to acknowlegde the fact that I had had a baby, no matter how briefly, that helped to ease my pain. If anyone is interested in having a look at the website the address is http://www.labelledame.com

  9. My mother miscarried her first pregnancy. She had told everyone as soon as she found out she was pregnant. So for her second pregnancy, she held off telling people until she reached 12 weeks. Then she miscarried at 13. Another friend of mine miscarried at 19 weeks – one week short of the point at which a foetus is legally recognised as a person and can be legally named and a funeral held. Just goes to show that while waiting til 12 weeks might be wise it doesn’t guarantee anything.

  10. OMG, this subject is so close to deal with. I held off and told people at 12 weeks only to miscarry at 13 weeks. It was totally devastating and I believed that it would happen again so put off trying for another 5 years. I spotted again with the next one and panicked!!! Straight to emergency, only to be told if it was not to be, it’s not meant to be, I nearly vomited. I had a beautiful boy, who is now 11. My next pregnancy, started spotting again, went to my obst.. only to be told again he couldn’t find a heartbeat. Having been through the miscarriage and a live birth, I knew the pregnant feeling. When you miscarry, all feelings of sore boobs etc go away, I felt that the first time, but this time I knew I was still pregnant, as he found my the first one with no heartbeat, I kept telling him I still feel pregnant, I know I am, after 2 minutes of looking he found my beautiful daughter’s heartbeat….Relief!!! I often think of the kids that didn’t make it, I should have a 16-17 year old, due date May 21 four days after my mum’s birthday, and a twin for my nearly 8 year old daughter, but what is meant to be I suppose, that’s all I can tell myself. Emotionally miscarriage totally messes with your mind. It is the hardest thing to go through. xxxxx

    • I can totally imagine that women must think about thoses kids that didn’t make it. I think I would. I’ve never had a miscarriage but I tell you what, I know I would have been crushed. Thank god you have a beautiful daughter now. Thanks for sharing your story, and love to your little girl.xx

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