As moms, we share about many things that happen in our lives.
We talk about sleepless nights and our absolute and complete exhaustion. We discuss diapers and their contents. We share about our relationships and how they have changed after having children. We’re even talking more about post-partum depression and anxiety.
But there’s something we don’t talk enough about, and that is miscarriage.
I had a miscarriage between my two full-term pregnancies. I was nine weeks pregnant with my second child. My oldest had just turned two, and this baby was due two months shy of his third birthday. In our eyes, it was perfect timing.
But for my body, it wasn’t.
It was an interesting few weeks. I had “morning sickness” with M, my first child, although it was really more evening sickness. With this pregnancy, I had extreme nausea, but it felt different than the first time. As we traveled to the first OB appointment for the internal ultrasound, passing over the bridge into Burlington on I89, I thought to myself, “something is wrong”.
Indeed it was, as we found out at the appointment that the pregnancy wasn’t viable, and that I would have to make a decision. I was given three choices: miscarry on my own (no thank you!), take misoprostol at home and miscarry there, or have a D&C. I chose the latter, since I am a teacher and my first day of school was the next day, and I could not take the chance of waiting.
All of our stories are different, but end in the same result. I wound up needing a second D&C as they did not get everything out the first time, and my hormone levels remained elevated for too long.
The one thing I didn’t count on was the emotional toll of having a miscarriage. I was very newly pregnant, but even so, I was already thinking and planning. I was counting the weeks until I would be in my second trimester, when it would feel safe to share the news of our pregnancy with more than just our immediate family.
One thought I clearly remember when I was crying my eyes out on the phone with my parents in front of the OB’s office, was “Now we have to start all over again.”
A miscarriage. We have to start all over again.
I remember the despair that comes with that feeling. Now the agony of the waiting, the planning, the timing, and the disappointment when my period comes. The dealing with the sadness over losing a child. The rational side of my brain saying, “It was for the best. There was something wrong and your body took care of it. At least it happened now and not in your second trimester.” The emotional side responding with “It’s okay to be sad. Be sad. You had a miscarriage.”
I kept my miscarriage to myself. I thought I failed, that my body failed somehow. I thought that miscarriage wasn’t typical and that it was not something people talked about.
And then I started talking. And the more I talked the more I realized how many of us, how many women, have gone through this. One person I confided in told me that she had four miscarriages between her two boys. Another had two. Someone else was trying desperately to have her second child, and each pregnancy was ending in a miscarriage. Another teacher friend lost her first child in her second trimester.
So if you are currently going through this, or if you already have, you are not alone. Don’t feel shameful or embarrassed. There are a lot of us out there who know how you feel. So go ahead mama, be sad. Be angry. Mourn your loss.