These are 7 things you should know about miscarriages.
- It’s not your fault
Repeat after me: “It’s. Not. My. Fault.” I felt that somehow, as a woman, I had failed. I remember thinking, “Maybe I shouldn’t have worked out, lifted that box, or walked around so much. Maybe if I’d only sat longer with my feet up,” that maybe somehow the outcome would have been different. Worse yet, I felt like my body had failed me. I felt I had let my partner down. I felt inadequate. It took me a long time to accept that I couldn’t have changed the outcome.
- It’s really common
…That doesn’t make it hurt less
I’ve read that up to 20% of pregnancies end in miscarriage–that’s 1 out of 5! It seems that so few people talk about these experiences, and yet chances are, your neighbor, co-worker, even a family member, may have been through this and suffered in silence. Find who those people are in your life. Talking to someone with a shared experience helps.
- It’s not your fault
(I just thought it was worth saying again.)
- It’s a loss, no matter when it happens
Both of my miscarriages were early on, and in one case, had I not been going through IVF treatments, I would not have even known I was pregnant. The first miscarriage occurred right before my scheduled early ultrasound. We have a tendency to compare and ‘one-up’ one another’s tragedies and stories. Be it five weeks or 20, it’s the loss of life, and a tremendous one at that. You have the right to grieve. Do not let others minimize.
- It’s hard for the men, too
Let’s face it: the women have an added element. Our lives change as soon as we pee on a stick and get a positive pregnancy test. The miscarriage takes a tremendous emotional toll, but the physical aspect adds another dimension for processing the loss. My husband was grieving too, but due to the hormones and physical symptoms–including pain–I could hardly find the room for his grief. Sadly, a second one came around, and we were better prepared to support one another. It was a loss for him just as much as it was for me. The loss of a dream, of excitement. The loss of life.
- It changes you
It’s okay to tell people what you’re going through. The age-old adage has been to wait until after the first trimester to tell people, and with social media, there may be helpful prudence here. Having been through this twice myself, I know that no one around me knew I was experiencing a darkness unlike anything I’d ever gone through before. Even if you do not share specifics, letting others know you are struggling is giving yourself a buffer to grieve and process. Miscarriage changes you and is likely something that will remain with you throughout your life. Be patient with yourself and find a way to honor the loss and bring closure.
- There IS hope
There really is. I can guess what you’re thinking right now, and I recognize that I have the gift of 20/20 hindsight. What I can say is that the path to becoming a parent may not always follow the initial route envisioned, but I found peace in trying to open my heart up to the possibility of that altered route taking me to the desired outcome.