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:

pink cherry blossom
Image via Flickr/Matthew Grappengeiser

1. It's a real grief:

It can be hard to understand why someone would be sad and grieving a miscarriage if you've not been through one yourself. You may not see it as a baby yet, but for the family, that baby was a member of the family. Not only are they grieving the loss of that, but often it's complicated from grieving the loss of what was expected and who that child would be, and it's just as real and powerful as any other reason for grief.

Cherry Blossom over water
Image via Flickr/Josh Berglund19

2. It's much more than just a heavier period:

Many people fluff-off a miscarriage thinking all the experience includes is a heavier period with cramps. People may believe that the earlier in the pregnancy the miscarriage occurred, the less likely it will have any lasting impact after the bleeding is through. The truth is, while that could be true for some women, everyone has a different reaction to loss and grief and what may be a normal reaction for one family, is not always the same for another. There can be emotional aspects to miscarriage that last far longer than the physical aspects.

pink cherry blossom close up
Image via Flickr/Zdenko Zivkovic

3. It may be common, but we still need support:

While miscarriage is common, it doesn't make it any less difficult for those going through it. It's an individual experience and when it's dismissed due to a statistic of commonality, that can make it even more difficult. In our experience, we didn't feel a lot of support throughout our experiences from the community and medical professionals and that is something that needs to change because so many women are left on their own, after the fact, to sort through all the emotional and physical aspects of a miscarriage. This is concerning because many may end up feeling so alone because of the dismissive nature that can be taken and some women may feel “abnormal” feeling they're having a harder time moving forward.

Cherry Blossom
Image via Flickr/Chris Hunkeler

4. Getting pregnant again or already having living children doesn't make it easier:

There is this widespread idea that if a woman has a miscarriage, she should feel happy knowing that she could get pregnant.  The goal of conceiving is to bring a child into the world and for that to happen, a miscarriage is not the end-goal. Additionally, if a family already has older children who are living and healthy, it doesn't help to say they should feel grateful for them as a way to console them through their miscarriage. It's still healthy to grieve the loss of another child and it has no bearing on that grief if you have children already or not. 

:: If you've been through a miscarriage, what is something you wish more people knew? ::

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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 and named one of Babble's “25 bloggers wh ... More

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50 comments

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. Profile photo of Christina Christina says:

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

  13. Profile photo of Christina Christina says:

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

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