4 Things I Wish More People Knew About Miscarriage

  • Cherry Blossoms
    Image adapted via Flickr/Suraya_M

    When I first pursued growing my family, never was there any place in my mind that thought things may not go according to plan. We were going to go off birth control, I was going to get pregnant, have an easy pregnancy and delivery, and add the the most healthy, gorgeous baby to our family. I read all the books on preconception and pregnancy before we decided it was the right time and I was ready. Good to go, right?

    Miscarriage seems to be one of those “go wrongs” that only enter our thoughts when it’s happened to us already.

    Except that’s not how things ended up going for us. We went off birth control, I was getting pregnant, but for some reason my pregnancies would always end at about 7 or 8 weeks gestation, leaving me with another lost baby and another miscarriage in its place. It’s been a long road for us building our family and now, instead of that perfect plan we had years ago, we are acutely aware of all the ways a perfect plan can go wrong. 

    Miscarriage seems to be one of those “go wrongs” that only enter our thoughts when it’s happened to us already. It’s an uncomfortable topic to talk about and even more so when we’re trying to conceive and holding on to that perfect vision of how it will all go. It doesn’t happen that way for many women and families — miscarriage is estimated to affect “about 10 to 15 out of 100 pregnancies (10 to 15 percent)”, according to the March of Dimes. If you’re fortunate not to be in that category, you may think it’s not an issue you need to know anything about, but there are some things I wish more people, especially those not affected, knew about miscarriage – here are four of those things:

    {Continued: Thing #1}

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4 Things I Wish More People Knew About Miscarriage

Devan McGuinness is the founder of the online resource Unspoken Grief, which is dedicated to breaking the silence of perinatal grief for those directly and indirectly affected by miscarriage, stillbirth and neonatal death. Using her own experience of surviving 12 miscarriages, Devan has been actively supporting and encouraging others who are wading through the challenges associated with perinatal and neonatal loss. Winner of the 2012 Bloganthropy Award ... More

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50 comments

  1. Profile photo of Alisha Alisha says:

    I had 8 miscarriages and a total of 36 months of pregnancy before the birth of my only child. I had a case of hashimoto’s that went undiagnosed for 4 years and was the major contributing factor to the miscarriages of what presumably would have been 8 healthy pregnancies. It’s hard to cope with the grief and the loss of your hopes and dreams, now that my daughter is 2.5 years old its but a distant memory to me, I have so much more to think about now. But I often think of other women who are going through what I went through. It was too painful. I remember seeing women with babies and feeling so sad. I remember not wanting to leave my house. I remember thinking I would never have a baby of my own. It’s still hard to think about, but I do speak about it as much as I can and I like to tell people about it because I think it needs to be discussed and people need to be aware. I feel for all women and their partners that have lost a baby, it is a harder type of grief because people just shrug it off. Oh well, you can try again, and all these stories that people tell. Like the doctor at the emergency room who told me that he and his wife had a miscarriage and they went on to have a baby. I was like that’s great, but did your wife have 6 miscarriages, of course I didn’t say it, I just looked at the ground and nodded but inside I felt like I was going to lose my mind. I remember an very uncomfortable ultrasound to check if I had lost a baby where the attendant was searching around with the ultrasound, eventually went and got the vaginal ultrasound and tried that and then excused herself and a doctor came in and in a very cold matter of fact manner told me that the baby was gone. I was so dejected and depressed, it was so difficult to pick myself up and try again.

    • Profile photo of LK LK says:

      How did they dx and treat the hashimotos? I have been diagnosed with hypothyroid and a Dr. once told me that I may have Hasimotos but I never followed up. I was 7.5 weeks pregnant when I miscarried (this week). It was my first pregnancy and it is by far a heartbreaking/painful experience. I hope I never have to go through this ever again. I need to follow up with an endocrinologist and I take synthroid to regulate my thyroid.

  2. Profile photo of Jewels Jewels says:

    My husband and I tried for 9 months to get pregnant with baby number 3. My first two pregnancies were perfect. Shortly before we found out that baby number three was coming my husband and myself went to Florida for a couple days. The first night there I fell and broke my leg. When we got home I took a test and it was positive. I was excited. We went to our 13 week checkup and the doctor said everything looked good. Four weeks later we went in for my 17 week checkup and he couldn’t find the heartbeat. My heart sank. I know something was wrong. We did the ultrasound and the doctor said I’m sorry. I lost it. I blamed myself. Thinking that when I fell I hurt my baby. I asked him if falling can cause a miscarriage and he said no. I still don’t understand why I lost my precious bundle. But three months later I was blessed with a beautiful baby girl. I was scared the whole pregnancy. I think about my little angel all the time and wonder what she would be like today. More people need to talk about this. It shouldn’t be kept quiet.

  3. Profile photo of Amelia Amelia says:

    I’ve been fortunate enough to not have this experience, however i’ve seen it all around me. It has affected my friends and my sister in law. It broke my heart when my sister in law lost a baby while i was carrying one of the same age. Now, my son is 18 months, their adopted son is 17 months and two friends have been blessed with little boys as well. I know how hard it has been for them, as much as i can know, from the outside, and i wish there was something i could say or do to ease the pain or at least better the odds for them.

  4. I have PCOS and tested positive for cervical cancer when I was 16. I was told I would never conceive and was scheduled for a hysterectomy to eliminate the cancer. I didnt go to my surgical appointment…and never went back. Over several more years and several testing, I was still told i had 0.1% chance of ever conceiving due to my PCOS. When my husband an I got married, I had my heart set on having children. We were surprised one morning when I had a strange feeling i was pregnant and took a test. IT WAS POSSITIVE! We were so excited, we beat the odds.Then we lost the baby at 9 weeks. a few months later, pregnant again!? What were the chances? Lost that one at 10 weeks. Pregnant again!? Lost at 7 weeks. Pregnant again…but this time I was depressed and cried. I didnt want to be pregnant again, I couldnt go through it again. At 14 weeks, second trimester, had an ultrasound to check on baby. Everything was fine, baby was good, past the miscarriage scare zone so we were safe. The next day, lost baby #4. We gave up. My heart was broken. My husband and I separated, it was too much for us to bear. I was miserable, hated life. He was hopeless, couldnt make me happy. We wereseparated 6 months, spent one night together before we were to file for divorce after only 2 years of marriage. Then, I found out i was pregnant again. I was devastated. This one was going to kill me. Every time I was pregnant, a little glimpse of hope. Every miscarriage was God laughing in my face saying I would never be a mommy. I acted as if I wasnt pregnant, afterall I wouldnt have a baby at the end of this anyways. but for some reason, this little guy stuck. My husband and I stayed together to wait it out. We grew closer as the baby grew bigger. We were excited for our future, our future as a family. My little guy was born 9 months ago after 4 very painful miscarriages. We are together, happy and hopeful. Things happen for a reason. Those miscarriages forced us to say things to each other we had been holding back. They forced us to admit we werent happy. That one baby who wouldnt leave forced us to rekindle what we had when we first met. Those miscarriages and that 1 baby saved us. Now planning to start trying for #6 pregnancy (hopefully #2 baby). My PCOS is still a huge problem but one we know we can overcome. :-)

  5. Profile photo of Diana Diana says:

    This article hits close to home for me. Being diagnosed with pcos I was for sure I would never have my family. Got married in 2003 & started trying & nothing happened. My husbands career took off & we moved to a bigger city & decided it was time to start trying. In 2009 we saw the reg Ob & done 5 cycles of clomid, nothing. Referred to an RE in 2010 & started injectables/iui. Responded good to first round but no pregnancy. 2nd round increased the meds. We were pregnant. At 6 wks started heavy bleeding went to er & they told us no heartbeat. Had a d&c a week later. Dr told us to try again. Very next cycle we did our third round of iui & it was twins. Lost them at 6 wks. I was devastated we were finally able to get pregnant but couldn’t stay pregnant. RE ran all sorts of tests & everything came back normal. Ran DNA studies on both of us & everything was normal. Went back to dr to start our 4th attempt to only find out that we were already pregnant. Natural pregnancy. I was blown away but scared to even move. It was short lived as we lost that one at around 6 wks. Naturally I was just devastated but numb at the same time. I was ready to give up. The next cycle we went back to RE for more tests to find out we were pregnant again. Went in at about 5wks and saw a sac. Went in at 6 wks & saw heartbeat something we never saw in any of our pregnancies. 7 wks heartbeat, 8 wks no heartbeat I was floored. Had another d&c & was an emotional mess. I was throwing in the towel. Hubby was trying to be strong & support my needs but I saw the hurt & pain he was going through. I gave him a way out so he could be with someone that could give him a family, he told me to have faith that things would workout. Our dr labeled us as unexplained recurrent miscarriage. She told us our next step would be to consider IVF with PGD or surrogacy. When that was mentioned we sought a second opinion from another dr in another city she ran more tests all which came back normal & referred us to another RE in our city. We went in for our initial consult where we discussed everything & decided to do iui with injectables again. They ran my blood work up & later that day called me & told me we were pregnant already. So they put me on heparine & progesterone injections along with baby aspirin. We went in the next week saw a heartbeat I was scared to go in the next week didn’t want to get my hopes up but we had a heartbeat. The next wk came, so far so good. We saw our baby growing & developing before our eyes. We made it to 10 wks & was released to our regular Ob where she monitored us wkly. Went to a maternal fetal specialist & he monitored our baby’s growth. On February 29,2012 I was induced because of IUGR & 24 hours later my son was born March 1,2012 5lb 13oz. When my son was 4mo old I found out I was pregnant again & my Ob started the same meds during my first trimester. On February 27,2013 I was induced because of decreased fetal movements & my daughter was born 6lb 5oz that evening 2 days before my sons 1st birthday. In August 2013 I found out I was pregnant again & now we await the arrival of my 3rd baby due April 11, 2014 (boy). Just when I was ready to give up my husband lifted me up & told me to have faith. My Drs. used heparine therapy even when I tested negative for clotting factors. I started my fertility journey in January 2010 & thought it would lead me nowhere. I’m on my 7th pregnancy since then & feel like I’ve been pregnant forever but all the tears & heartache I went through is so worth it I wouldn’t change anything.

  6. Profile photo of gfeld gfeld says:

    After suffering 3 miscarriages consecutively, my husband wanted a break before trying again but I was obsessed with seeing a pregnancy to full term asap. Luckily we found out what was causing the miscarriages and when my son was 2 years old, I gave birth to my second child. What a 2 year experience that was!! I hope it will never happen again! Now, years and 4 additional children later the miscarriage experience still has a hold on me. Every pregnancy is fraught with anxiety and grief for what could have been had it not happened. I know it’s an illogical frame of mind, yet it comes unbidden every pregnancy. I wish none of you this experience, and only healthy pregnancies and children!

  7. Profile photo of Lindsay Lindsay says:

    It was awful and I wasn’t prepared at all. We were trying to have our 4th and final baby and had never had a problem conceiving or sustaining a pregnancy at all. We wanted our last two very close in age and started trying when he was 4 months old. Got pregnant first time as had happened every time before and thought yay! At 11 weeks 4 days I went to the bathroom, wiped and saw blood. I freaked cried then assumed it was a fluke. I looked up sch ad nauseum to make myselfbelieve it was anything but what it was. I finally went in to the dDr and was confirmed we had lost the baby. I was so lost and am still crying writing this almost 2 years later. I never talk about it, and my husband thought I was crazy to grieve. I threw myself headfirst into getting pregnant again to the point when we had trouble and one more loss at 5 weeks 3 days after I felt the joy of knowing I was pregnant again, my husband wanted to stop. He didn’t like how obsessed I became he thought we should wait. I couldn’t. I practically forced him to have sex when I was ovulating, I didn’t spend enough time with my wonderful son because I was too busy looking up conception tips etc. I was out of control. I finally got pregnant again, I found out July 31st and didn’t announce until 12 weeks. Every time I went to the bathroom I looked fearing the worst. This went on until 20 weeks and then I became taken over with anxiety about still birth. I just knew something was going to take this one away too. I had preterm labor and placenta previa and a cyst on her brain. I ran to the hospital unnecessarily because I was just so scared. My drs must have hated me! My gorgeous baby girl was born just perfect 4 days before her April 13th due date and I finally relaxed. I had my tubes tied in a rush decision to not go through any of this ever again and now regret it. I’m only 25 and might want one more in 10 years when I could feasibly still have one but oh well. She is 9 months in 2 days and I am so grateful but am still trying to recover from my losses. I never thought it would happen to us. I have never spoke about this before and thank you so much for giving me an appropriate forum to do so. I am a counselor and know my coping methods but couldn’t implement them. I just don’t know why. It feels so good to finally discuss this and I know ?I should have a long time again. I’m really sorry for making such a long post however!

  8. Profile photo of Lisa Lisa says:

    While the people in my inner circle that knew about our pregnancy and ultimately the miscarriage were very compassionate and understanding of our grief it wasn’t until a friend of mine told me that “God needed by baby”, did I feel any relief. I didn’t know it at the time but that was one of the things that was hurting so much that I didn’t know what had happened to this beautiful thing that was to be my baby. The idea that while I wasn’t able to bring that baby home it was still able to go to heaven was somehow comforting. We were lucky, I ended up getting pregnant again before I had even had another period and he was born completely happy and healthy. But I never stop thinking about the baby that we didn’t bring home.

  9. Profile photo of Amy Amy says:

    I too had multiple miscarriages before having a successful pregnancy and a few more before having my second child. Everyday I am thankful for the two children I do have. I had always wished of having a large family, but between not being able to get pregnant because I rarely ovulate and the miscarriages I am happy I have two. I hate listening to women complain about being pregnant and everything about being pregnant when me and many other women would gladly change places with them. I really hate it when it is the women who didn’t want to get pregnant(have a lot of comments I could insert). For those who have never lost they do not understand the fear of every time you go the bathroom looking for any sign you may lose another one or making sure you still feel all the signs of being pregnant. I could never tell anyone I was pregnant because I didn’t want to tell them that I lost it later. You don’t get the joy of being pregnant, I was worried until the day I had my boys and even those were a close call.

  10. Profile photo of Christina Christina says:

    I’ve had three miscarrages over the years with no living children. I cryed
    I was depressed, I wondered what did I do to deserve this.
    Why am I being punished?

    • Profile photo of Lilyanne Lilyanne says:

      Im so sorry for your losses Christina. You did nothing to deserve this and I know it does feel like you are being punished. I wish you a healthy pregnancy as soon as you are ready.

  11. Profile photo of Elena Elena says:

    I had a miscarriage in my very first pregnancy at 7 weeks. Instead of lying and crying, first thing I did – read a good book and several articles to find out the possible root causes and how to carry a healthy pregnancy. Second – found a very good doctor though my friends’ recommendations. She was very good – checked carefully for all possible infections, hormon problems and other staff which could lead to miscarriage. It was all clean and I knew for sure what I did wrong – I had been exercising 3 times a week like I did before knowing about pregnancy so during one of my classes I felt severe pain in the uterus and 3 days later on ultrasounds there was a hematoma which causes the miscarriage 3 other days later. So I said to myself – once I get pregnant again, no exercising in 1st trimester unless the doctor allow so later on. So after 10 months from my miscarriage I got pregnant again with twins (one stopped developed though) and delivered a healthy girl the same year as my very first was supposed to be born. I am very happy being a mom, the lesson is learned and no fear! Now I am carrying my second baby and don’t even bother of thinking of miscarriages anymore. I just make sure I attend doctor often, get right nutrition and vitamins, enough sleep and rest.
    The key thing about keep your head recovered from miscarriage – know the exact root cause why it happened and find the doctor you can trust to make sure s/he monitors you carefully to correct any issues on time should they arise.
    Good luck to everyone here!

    • Profile photo of Rebekah Rebekah says:

      It’s wonderful that you found a way to deal with your loss that worked for you, but you should’t condemn others who have different ways of dealing with their losses. “Lying around and crying” can be a preliminary way of processing grief. The rational steps you took do not work for others with more emotional ways of thinking, especially at first when it just happened, or when it has happened multiple times.

      I also can’t help but wonder, would you be so glib and dismissive if you had never found out why your child died, or had been unable to prevent more miscarriages from happening? This article was written to help women who are grieving, not so you can tell them that they don’t have that right and instruct them on what they did/are doing wrong.

    • Profile photo of Lilyanne Lilyanne says:

      Nobody here is ‘lying around and cyring’. They are taking the necessary steps that they need to mourn the loss of their child. And it is not always possible to know the ‘exact root cause’ of a miscarriage. In fact, more often than not, especially in early miscarriages and unless extensive genetic testing is done, there is very little chance of finding out the cause. Even with the aforementioned testing, in our case we had genetic testing done post D&C, there is still a good chance that the cause of a miscarriage will never be known. This in itself serves to deepen the loss for many of us. Also, in many cases no amount of nutrition, Drs appts, reading, limitations and to-the-letter advice-following will prevent a miscarriage. Again, yet another thing that makes a loss to miscarriage so much harder to understand and manage.

  12. Profile photo of ashley ashley says:

    We tried for 8 yrs ending in countless miscarriages it’s takes an emotional toll not only on you but your family and marriage we recently had a baby which is 10 mo old now and I look at her and still think of my other babies that could’ve been it’s one of the hardest moat heartbreaking things someone could ever go through and it’s seems like no one cares if they haven’t been through it to know how your feeling.

  13. Profile photo of April April says:

    I have experienced pregnancy losses and a pregnancy related cancer. This has gave me the calling to companion other families through their loss journeys and become a bereavement doula.. If you want support through a loss or fatal diagnosis please go to stillbirthday.com a bereavement doula can be there for you and most times there is no fees or very small cost to you. You are not alone, you have the right to grieve and love and morn your child.

  14. Profile photo of Live4everqt Live4everqt says:

    This past march hubby & I experienced our first miscarriage & hopefully our least. We were 8 weeks pregnant. It was so emotionally painful for the both of us. We’re still crying about it. The doctor was a jerk telling us the baby was too small to be a real person. Can you imagine that? Passing my baby was painful too since I did it naturally. Ten months later, we’re expecting a beautiful baby girl this march. Our two year old, my husband & I are very excited. Everyone there is light at the end of this painful dark tunnel.

  15. Profile photo of Betty Betty says:

    I was so thankful that the hospital we doctor at treats this in a very sensitive way. They gave us a little something for the baby to have as a keepsake and actually allowed us time with our nurse to ask the questions we needed to ask and even some we didn’t realize. The biggest thing for me was when the nurse told me to be kind to myself and to realize that I did have hormones that I would need to allow time to leave my systme, just as if I were to actually deliver. This was really important to me to allow me the time I needed to truly be kind to myself through this process.

  16. Profile photo of Carol Carol says:

    This is a great article. I think too often, miscarriages get swept under the rug because people don’t know how to respond to them. They don’t realize the emotional hurt and turmoil. My first miscarriage, I was 8 weeks along, on a cruise of the Mediterranean with my husband and his family. It was my first time seeing Italy and Greece, and it was supposed to be such a happy time. I miscarried while walking through the streets of Pompeii, all while trying to keep a smile on my face and pretend that everything was normal because I didn’t want to upset anyone else. I didn’t feel like I could tell anyone except my husband, who was amazingly supportive. But to this day, I don’t think I’ll ever want to go back to Pompeii. My second miscarriage was a suspected molar pregnancy, and there was the emotional turmoil of not just having lost the child, but also worrying about my own health as well. I had a D+C, and it wasn’t a molar pregnancy, thank goodness, but the whole experience left me wanting to withdraw from the world.

  17. Profile photo of Ljohn195 Ljohn195 says:

    In November I had a tubal pregnancy and they had to remove my left tube because it had ruptured and I was bleeding internally. This article describes everything perfectly!! I have struggled so much with this loss and some people just don’t understand. They don’t think that it was a real baby because I was only 6 weeks along, but in my mind the moment I found out I was pregnant I was in love with that baby and it was mine.

  18. Profile photo of Sdwyatt Sdwyatt says:

    Great article. I had two miscarriages before. The emotional damage was the most devastating part. The first miscarriage happened in 2005 and I was about 4 months along. The second miscarriage happened in 2009 and I was about 6 weeks long. I wish I had more support during those periods.

  19. Profile photo of Heather Heather says:

    I think that the hardest thing for me is being truly happy I am pregnant again. People know about my miscarriage and still don’t seem to understand when I am nervous about my current pregnancy. I am at 20.5 weeks and hope and pray that we are doing good, EVERY Day. But to be honest each time I go to the doctor I cannot relax until they doppler me to to hear the heartbeat.

    • Profile photo of ashley ashley says:

      I know exactly how you feel after trying for 8 yrs we have a 12mo old now I didn’t get to enjoy my pregnancy because I was sooooo worried about the what ifs and is this normal and is my baby going to be healthy and get to come home or am I going to get to even hold this one and tell her I love her and ppl just didn’t understand why I couldn’t wait for that 9mo to hurry up and come and why I was a total basket case

    • Profile photo of Lilyanne Lilyanne says:

      This, absolutely this! I just delivered a healthy baby girl in August, but my pregnancy was 9 months of constant fear. So much so that I was afraid the fear itself was becoming unhealthy for me and the baby. My husband shared my fears, but not the same extent because I wore an ‘Im not worried’ face, and he fed off of that. We bought a home doppler and when I was alone I listened to it constantly, I had to in order to sleep at night. It was an unhealthy coping mechanism but it was the only one I had that worked at the time. I know that if I ever get pregnant again I will carry the same fear until I hold my baby in my arms. Miscarriage left me with a lot of baggage that isnt simple to process but that I forced myself to manage for the health of my baby, my husband and myself. Talking with my Midwife helped a lot and, mid pregnancy, when I finally shared my fears with my husband, it felt like a weight was lifted. The fear was still there, but it is a lighter load to carry if you have help.

  20. Profile photo of Amy Amy says:

    I wish people would acknowledge it! You know they know it happened, but they don’t even bring it up. They ask for favors, make jokes and carry on as usual without acknowledging that your heart is broken. It may have only been a 5-week pregnancy to you, but to me it was hopes, dreams, love and excitement for another child I now will never know in this lifetime.

  21. Profile photo of Phammom Phammom says:

    Miscarriage is hard. I carried for exactly 3 months 9 years ago. No it didn’t make it easier that I wasn’t married or that the guy wasn’t really there. I am now happily married and 7 months pregnant. Happy yes but it doesn’t change how I feel about losing one.

  22. Profile photo of jujube1113 jujube1113 says:

    I experienced a different type of miscarriage. My first pregnancy I was carrying twins, but by my 9th week, one of the twins became “non-viable”. At 9.5 weeks, I had miscarried one of my twin babies but I never passed that baby. I carried it to term and gave birth to it. So while I was celebrating the birth of my beautiful son, I was also grieving for the loss of my other baby at the same time. The doctors called this a “vanishing twin syndrome”. It was very difficult and strange to be carrying both of my babies, one alive and one dead.

    • Profile photo of Elena Elena says:

      I had the same thing. Luckily I did an early ultrasound at 6 weeks and my doctor told that one of twins will likely to stop developing and at 9 weeks she did one more and confirmed – there is only one heart beat. But instead of making tragedy of it, I am happy to have my daughter who is 3 years now. And I am expecting another baby soon.

  23. Profile photo of Monica Monica says:

    It was the worst thing I have ever been through. My grief turned to anger, ” why can she have a healthy baby and I can’t? ” Aside from my family I had no support. The doctor just said it was normal and not my fault, which didn’t help much. Now 13 years later I am 13w but watching my sister go through her third miscarriage. Her doctor is more supportive and will just sit and talk with her if she needs. Things have definitely changed in the last 13 yrs. Its still something that if you have never gone though it you won’t fully understand.

  24. Profile photo of Christina Christina says:

    I know the loss,the staring.The whispers….Talk about it.

  25. Profile photo of Christina Christina says:

    I see iam in discussion alone.Anybody out there!!!!!!!!!!

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