My first pregnancy four years ago ended in a miscarriage. I remember the pain like it was yesterday, because almost exactly four years after my first, my 4th pregnancy has resulted in a miscarriage. The grief is still one of the hardest things to cope with. However, this time around I am a little wiser, a tad older, and I now have two beautiful children to thank God for.
In today’s social media landscape, people share more and more about their personal life. But for some reason, miscarriage is still one topic kept mostly behind closed doors. Of course, I respect that all women grieve in different ways and handle miscarriage the best they know how. But for me, it’s helped tremendously to share with other women who have gone through the same loss. It’s the only way to overcome the one thing we all have in common—feeling alone.
Hence, I am not scared to tell you about my miscarriages and I do not want to stay silent. I want to reach out and offer my compassion to women who have lost babies or who are struggling with infertility. I truly understand the pain, and hope sharing my story can provide some solace for someone who is suffering. Infertility is real, and miscarriages are real, and in our society, we should be open and support anyone we know who is going through this battle.
I wish one day women will feel like they can talk openly about our journey to bring a child into this world. A world where the words miscarriage and infertility are linked to strength and not shame. I have not yet personally struggled with infertility, but it is a subject very close to home for many women in my family.
After having two miscarriages, I learned that all women who have lost a baby are part of a club that no one wants to be in – but once you are in, you realize almost everybody you know was already a member. At least one in five pregnancies end in a miscarriage. The odds are higher than most people, including myself, would have imagined. Once I began opening up to other women about my struggles, I was overwhelmed with support. Women shared their stories of loss, sorrow, and later pregnancies intermingled with hope and terror. By being a member of this community, we’re able to find strength in our stories, hope in our love, and compassion in our shared experience of life becoming just a little too real.
Here is some advice that I hope can help others:
- You will be changed, and even for the better – After struggling through my own miscarriages, I won’t say the grief goes away, but it does fade. The grief has changed me in many ways, but mostly for the better. I am more empathetic, I am more aware of my words and thoughts towards other women. There’s a line from a novel I found while reading forums about miscarriages that really touched me, “You were unsure which pain is worse — the shock of what happened or the ache for what never will. When the due date approaches, the grief will sneak back in, but this time it will be less sharp. And as much as the path to get there is one I wouldn’t wish on anyone, there is a lovely silver lining in truly learning your own strength. You’re a badass strong lady. And you’ll keep getting stronger.”
- Distractions are good – We all cope with grief differently, and after each miscarriage I found myself surrounded by friends. Coincidentally, they were both right before thanksgiving and it turns out the the hustle and bustle of cooking and preparing my home for family was what I needed. I was able to put the grief aside for a period of time, however temporarily, it was such a relief.
- Find the positive – What got me through both my miscarriages was looking at the positive in my situation. For my first, I acknowledged the fact that I was able to get pregnant, for many women don’t even make it to this stage. For my second, I was already blessed with two beautiful healthy babies. I knew I could conceive and deliver a healthy child. I know we will be able to conceive again, and I find comfort in this. Until then I will carry on with life, filling my time with my hobbies, my blog, and my family. I’ll never be able to completely silence the fear of the unknown in the back of my mind, but I can definitely choose to rise above it.
- Closure takes time – Take your time to grieve. I really beat myself up because I was ‘only’ five weeks pregnant when we miscarried our second. But as soon as you find out you are expecting, you begin to dream. Those hopes and dreams need to be grieved, along with the loss of the child, no matter the number of weeks of the pregnancy.
- Men grieve too, but differently – I found this advice on an online blog and I couldn’t have said it any better, “The hardest thing is that my wife and I know that our next attempt will be fraught with concern. The wonder of the first time, the unmitigated joy, and possibility and optimism are, if not gone, then muted by the knowledge of what could be, and could have been. It’s challenging to be the man. My wife has been amazing and always encouraged me to be open and allow myself to feel what is going on, and I have. At the same time, it is easy to feel at a loss. Men don’t experience the hormonal changes or the physical reality of the pregnancy. We suffer our loss second hand, because we only get to live the experience by proxy. For us the pain is real, and also not real.”
Miscarriage is not an easy topic, or one that slips easily into casual conversation, but every time we name it, we add to the growing sense of awareness that not every pregnancy ends in a joyful birth. My story is a truth, and there are thousands of nearly identical tales of hopes and sorrow. And that is exactly why it’s important to tell.