Chances are you have experienced this cruel trick of pregnancy. Chances are you know someone who has. Chances are someone close to you has experienced one and not even opened up about their pain. Statistically between 10-20 percent of pregnancies end in miscarriage, most of those being in the first trimester.
The despair you feel when you lose something you desperately longed for cannot be measured. When I experienced my miscarriage it felt like the rug had been ripped out from under me. I was twenty three, in a new, but highly committed relationship with my now husband. We were young, both in college, and (in hindsight) a tad bit impulsive, but we both wanted to start a family together. This baby was wanted and loved from the moment we saw the pregnant reading on that digital test.
In my excitement I found myself immediately envisioning the new life that would be joining us. Would we have a boy or a girl? What would we name our baby? What would our baby look like? I started daydreaming about hearing my baby say mama, seeing their first smile, holding a conversation, teaching them everything I knew, playing with them, watching them graduate, watching them get married and have children of their own.
It was literally a whirl wind of emotion, hopes, and dreams that flooded my mind coupled with immense joy. The kind of joy where you don’t know what to do with yourself and you want to tell everyone you know how ecstatic you are. Naturally, the first person I shared the news with is my mom.
My mom (bless her heart) is always great about giving me support and saving her judgement. When I excitedly called her up and told her I was pregnant she simply asked, “Do you want me to make you an appointment to Planned Parenthood?”
A few days later we went, my pregnancy was confirmed, and I giddily went to Jason’s work to share the news with him. I will never forget the look on his face when I came through that door and the way his eyes lit up with joy. We embraced and felt wonder at the new little life we created together.
Not even a week later our newfound joy was destroyed. Every woman’s fear when she is pregnant is to see blood. Blood and cramping are doubly disturbing, although both these things CAN be normal in a pregnancy, for a first pregnancy it’s all the more alarming.
Jason and I quickly made our way to the ER. At this point I still held onto hope that we would have an ultrasound and everything would be fine. I was still clinging to the future I already created in my mind of the life this baby was going to live and I was not so quickly going to let it slip away.
Our ER experience was not pleasant. We were met with an insensitive doctor who claimed my HCG levels were too low so I couldn’t possibly be seven weeks along. A nurse gave me an ultrasound and while she could see the sac there was no visible heartbeat. The doctor was dismissive and discharged us with a threatened miscarriage.
At the time it was an incredibly disheartening and confusing term; was I losing my baby or was I not? All that was left to do was go home and wait until later that night when I passed what was my pregnancy and I knew for sure our baby was gone.
Jason and I were devastated that night. I remember crying and wondering why? I felt immense guilt. I wondered what did I do wrong? How could I already love someone so much that I never even met? How could I endure such a loss?
My healing began when a month later we were once again graced with that elusive pregnant reading. We went into the second pregnancy with joy, but also a great sense of caution. The innocence we experienced the first time was replaced with the fear that it could happen again. Every week that passed was a milestone for us. When we went to our first ultrasound and saw Camden’s beating heart it became real and our hope increased.
While I was devastated at the time, I am now grateful for my miscarriage. Without it I would not have my handsome, smart, amazing son. He is the best gift after such a gut wrenching loss.
If you are experiencing a miscarriage know that you are not alone. There are countless women who have gone before you and are prepared to listen, or cry with you. Know that it is NOT your fault.
Know that it does not matter how far along you are, be it five weeks, or ten weeks, a loss is a loss.
Know that not everyone will know how to respond when you have a miscarriage; some of the best intentioned people have said hurtful things in an effort to be helpful; they do not intend to minimize your pain.
Know that there is no timeline for your grief; it is your own and you have the right to work through it in your own time.
Lastly, hold onto hope. Hope that you will experience pregnancy again and that it will be just as you envisioned it to be.
If you have any additional words of wisdom for a mama experiencing a miscarriage please share them in the comments below.
Have you experienced a miscarriage? Why do you think there is such a stigma around sharing your loss?