Coping with Miscarriage

With Mother’s Day around the corner, it’s hard to imagine that I could have been celebrating this year as a first-time Mom. Eight months ago, I miscarried. Publicly sharing my story is not easy, but I’m hoping that through this I can help someone else.

Even though more than 20% of known pregnancies end in miscarriage, it is still a taboo subject. I know many women feel very alone during miscarriage. If every woman who lost a pregnancy shared her story, I believe that we would all feel less alone.

My husband and I are both fairly healthy so when we saw a heartbeat at 8 weeks in an ultrasound, miscarriage was far from our minds.  I’ve been told less than 2% of pregnancies (after 8 weeks and a heartbeat is seen) end in miscarriage. So I began dreaming about the future and my husband and I shared the good news with family and friends. Since I had terrible morning sickness, I also shared the news with my boss so she wouldn’t wonder why I was not performing my best at the office.

Most parents feel comfortable sharing the news that they are pregnant in their second trimester, which begins at week 13. I didn’t know I had miscarried until I was in the 12th week so I was already planning my public pregnancy announcement. I had what’s called a missed miscarriage when the fetus stops growing, but I didn’t physically miscarry yet. I don’t want to go into too many gruesome details, but I had to endure a lot of mental and physical pain when going through the miscarriage after taking Cytotec.

The entire process lasted too long and cost too much money. It’s an additional sting to pay hundreds of dollars out of pocket to deal with morning sickness, labor-like miscarriage pain, and still not have a child.

If you’ve found my page because you experienced a miscarriage, I feel your pain and I’m giving you a big, virtual hug. If you’re debating between a D&C and taking Cytotec, that’s a personal choice and not an easy one to make. What helped me make a decision and got me through the entire process was sharing my experience with family and friends. The ongoing support and love was so helpful.

I am keeping my head up, looking forward to the future, and hoping that someday it will be the right time and we’ll start our own family.

If you’ve found this blog post because you know someone who has miscarried and you want to help them, keep reading.

Tips for supporting someone coping with miscarriage:

1.Don’t forget about the husband or other parent. Most everyone focuses on the pregnant wife, but her partner is most-likely dealing with the same feelings.

2. Send a letter or email with some kind words. I received some beautiful cards that made me cry, but also made me feel so loved.

3. Every once in a while, check in on your friend or family member with a quote or note and let them know you’re thinking of them. When you do speak with your friend, ask how she / he is feeling and let her / him discuss.

4. Don’t ask her what she did wrong or make her feel like she did something wrong. This is a horrific misconception. If you think it’s the woman’s fault, then read this article to hopefully change your mind. I couldn’t believe that so many doctors had to tell me I didn’t do something wrong. I already knew that I did my best to be as healthy as possible during the pregnancy. But the doctors had to make sure that I didn’t carry around unnecessary guilt like many other women.

If you’re looking for more examples, I recently found this interesting article about helping someone experiencing loss and grief. In the article they give some good examples of things to ask or say instead of “I’m sorry for your loss:”

1. I’m sorry you’re suffering right now, but I’m here with you and willing to help any way I can. Is there anything you need right now?

2. I’m sorry for whatever challenges might lie ahead for you, but I’m here and willing to help. Would it be okay if I call next week just to check in with you?

3. Please accept my deepest condolences. I can’t imagine what you must be going through right now, but I know enough about grief to know that it can be very challenging. Don’t hesitate to call me if there’s anything I can do to help.

4. I’m so sorry to hear about _____. I’m sure you’re going to miss him/her terribly. How are you holding up?

5. I know there’s nothing I can say right now to make things better, but I also know that having someone to talk to at times like this is really important, so don’t hesitate to call me whenever you need to.

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