4 Hard Lessons I Learned After 12 Miscarriages

4 things I learned miscarriages
Image adapted via Flickr/ m_shipp22

If you were to read my kindergarten yearbook, you'd come across a mini-bio of myself where I answered questions prompted by the teacher. One question asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, and while my fellow classmates answered with typical kid replies, like “police officer,” “astronaut,” and “doctor,” my answer was different. At the small age of 5 years old, I was certain that when I grew up:

I wanted to be a mother.

The idea of becoming a mom was never a question for me, and as I grew older, my answer to that question never changed. I had a rough outline of how I wanted my life timeline to go, and after meeting my husband in high school and marrying after we were done with college, I felt my dream title of “mom” was just around the corner.

My husband and I had been married for only a few months before we started trying to get pregnant, and to my surprise, it didn't take long for me to be staring at those two lines confirming I was pregnant.

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After sharing the news with my husband and mom, I did what every pregnant woman seems to do — I complained about the size of the prenatal vitamins I was taking, I called my doctor and made an appointment, and I daydreamed about morning sickness and what baby kicks were going to feel like.

Then, it happened: I had a miscarriage. Statistics show that miscarriage happens in about 10 to 15% of all confirmed pregnancies, usually in the first trimester. Most often, women will go on to have a healthy pregnancy, but the path to motherhood and growing my family was more complicated than I ever imagined it would be.

I went on to have four amazingly perfect children over the 10 years of growing my family with my husband, but we didn't just have the one miscarriage, which on its, own can be devastating. We had 12, and I learned a lot about myself and how people see pregnancy loss in the process.

lessons-on-miscarriage-1 miscarriages
Image via Flickr/ Tim Evanson

It Never Got Easier

“You should be used to this by now,” an emergency doctor said to me as I was lying in the bed, crying after receiving the diagnosis that I was having another miscarriage. I knew there was nothing that could be done, and having been through it before, I was pretty sure I was losing the baby.

The coldness I had received from that doctor shocked me. Does anyone really find the process easier the more you experience it? Sure, it could be true for some things like how putting contacts in becomes less scary over time, but when it comes to miscarriage — losing a pregnancy and a baby — it got harder as time went on, and fear really set in.

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flowers miscarriages
Image via Flickr/ Princess Ruto

Isolation Hurts

If you've heard women say that they felt isolated after a miscarriage, it's completely true. No one likes to hear sad stories, especially when it may burst the bubble of the perfect idea of a to-the-point pregnancy, but for so many women and their families, miscarriage upheaves that ideal, and no one is willing to listen or talk about it and offer comfort.

I had a great group of friends who were by my side after my first few miscarriages, but as the number grew larger and I became more scared, the concern dwindled. I had received the very clear message that no one wanted to hear about it anymore.

They were over it, but I wasn't.

I experienced the same lack of support within the medical field as well, and it baffles me to this day. I can't tell you how many doctors I saw throughout my 12 miscarriages, and never once did I receive any information or support upon leaving the hospital on what to expect or what the process of healthy grieving was.

lessons-on-miscarriage-3 miscarriages
Image via Flickr/ Live to Create Photography

I Played the Blame Game Hard, and I Wasn't the Only One

The term itself is cold and blaming: “miscarriage” — implying that there was something I did to cause it. While somewhat true in the sense that my body was to blame, I came down really hard on myself since I was causing so much pain to my husband and my family. The cause of the pregnancies ending too early was determined to be a result of a blood clotting disorder that caused my body to produce too many clots — killing off the placental flow to the baby.

It wasn't just some fluke of nature, and that was apparent as the number of losses continued to grow. With each pregnancy, I pleaded with my body to keep this baby safe and became preoccupied with making sure I never did anything wrong. I religiously took my prenatal medication and the medication prescribed to keep the blood clot risk lower. I ate healthily, never exercised too hard, and walked on pins and needles for the nine-plus months.

{ MORE: Pregnancy Loss: Does the Ache of Miscarriage Ever Really Go Away? }

I learned that I wasn't the only one playing the “blame game.” Others were taking me to task, telling me I should have taken a hint that it wasn't meant to be. While some people were more outright in their finger pointing, others questioned why I needed another child if I had had so many losses. When it comes to family planning and growing, no one's opinion really needs to be interjected.

nice flowers miscarriages
Image via Flickr/ T.Kiya

Support after Miscarriage Really Goes a Long Way

Having support around me as I navigated the confusing path of perinatal grief was so important in my healing. Having others who understood what it was like — or at least really tried to on some level — and allowed me the space to share my feelings, work through my guilt, and held my hand through the anxiety was everything.

I can't change my path to motherhood, but thanks to the support of my family, friends, and a few select doctors, my arms are full, and I am able to live my dream job every day.

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Have you had to learn any hard lessons on your path to parenthood? Please share in the comments.

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4 Hard Lessons I Learned After 12 Miscarriages

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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9 comments

  1. Profile photo of Jo Jo says:

    You write: “… others questioned why I needed another child if I had had so many losses. When it comes to family planning and growing, no one’s opinion really needs to be interjected”.

    Sorry to sound blunt among swan songs, ehem,posts, but maybe those people cared more, than the dwindling circle of friends. They spoke up, probably trying to protect you from further suffering, not to push you off the cliff. It did not sound exactly like you wanted it to sound? Do we live in a perfect world?
    We live in a diversified world. Some people would NOT multiply losses, if it depended on them. Shall they be condemned, or advised to “go for it” because of somebody else’s convictions?
    My husband and I have lost a baby girl after two healthy pregnancies. We did everything we could to find out why the bad outcome. Only after it was confirmed, that it was medical community that messed up, we planned and delivered two more healthy children. We would NOT proceed, had we found out that future pregnancies/babies were at risk.
    People ARE going to speak when the see a fellow human suffering. Some of them will give unsolicited/misguided advice. Others will offer us wise advice, that we would scoff at, because it’s not what we want to hear.
    If you do not wish to hear any of it, keep your private life private. And by all means, DO NOT BLOG.

  2. Profile photo of Kristilynn Kristilynn says:

    I’m so happy to have come across these posts. I have had 4 miscarriages and s stillborn baby. We do have 3 beautiful children, however I have just had to cut people off when they start to share their opinions with me. My husband and I feel like their are still more children that need to be in our family. Although to be honest, I’m scared to get pregnant again. We are trying to adopt, however we haven’t accomplished that yet. I’m starting to think about pregnancy. I do find it comforting to talk about our miscarriages with other women that are sensitive to the issue. Part of me feels broken. I feel like that’s what women are suppose to be; mothers. Thank you for all your comments.

  3. Profile photo of Katy Katy says:

    Ty for sharing your experience. I found much of it hit home for me. I only suffered thru 1 miscarriage myself but found the lack of proper support shocking. I stupidly went onto a bump message board that was supposedly a support group for those dealing with loss but it was an awful group of bullies that belittled women seeking comfort of needing to vent. Thankfully I went on to have a healthy baby but the experience lives with me. I find your courage inspirational & am glad you didn’t give up!

  4. Profile photo of Maryp1100 Maryp1100 says:

    I haven’t had that many miscarriages, I’ve only had two, but I feel your pain. I had what they called a Molar Pregnancy and a Stress Induced Pregnancy. I do have one absolutely perfect, beautiful 2 year old boy, who is the light of my life, but my husband and I wanted to have one more. I think people have no filters, they don’t think before they speak or are just indifferent to people’s problems. I am turning 40 in a month and I am being told by everyone to stop trying because, if I am blessed with another child, I could have a special needs child and it is selfish of me to choose my husband and my happiness over that of the child, that may or may not be born.

  5. Profile photo of Cody Cody says:

    I just recently went through a miscarriage. Saying it wasn’t the right time or you should be used to it by now. They wouldn’t say it if the child had been born. Its the death of a human being and its devastating. It doesn’t matter how many youve been through. Its not something you ever get “used to”

  6. Profile photo of Amanda Amanda says:

    I share a similar story and applaud you on making your story public. I have always wanted to be a mom, even as a child. I thought it would be fairly easy to start a family, but I quickly realized it was not always that simple. After 7 miscarriages, my first son was finally on his way. I was anxious the entire 9 months. He was a perfect, 10 lb little man. After 4 more losses, my husband and I had another beautiful boy. They are my world and give my life purpose. I always pause and look for a response when someone asks whether we are going to have another. Or says we have to have a girl now. I know I’m blessed to have my boys and hope others can see what a blessing and miracle children are.

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