Miscarriage resources?
August 19, 2014 12:20 AM   Subscribe

Some days are ok, some days are just heartbreaking. Where can I look for some support and information after my first pregnancy ended in miscarriage? I'm not sure how to deal with this better. Personal stories are welcome.

A month ago I had a missed miscarriage. The fetus stopped developing at 9 weeks, but it wasn't discovered until 13 weeks. We tried to go the natural route, but ended up with complications that lasted for weeks and led to some really painful physical exams and treatments. As of right now, my hormones are not quite back to normal.

I am having all the feelings you'd expect. It was my first pregnancy and very much wanted. The miscarriage was complicated, gory, painful and seemingly never-ending. All of my friends are pregnant or have recently given birth. None of my friends have had miscarriages and now that it's been going on for weeks, everyone is over it except for me. Everyone keeps telling me to be glad I can get pregnant and to be glad that my body knew enough to end it early if it was broken. They keep telling me to look on the bright side, and to remember next time to take it easy so it doesn't happen again. I get the very distinct impression that they think I am taking this too seriously.

It's particularly embarrassing because we had told everyone around week 12. I feel both very exposed and very isolated. My partner is supportive, but he is having a very hard time relating.

Googling is horrible for information and support. All message boards seem to be populated with people who've had many multiple miscarriages. I'm terrified this is just the beginning and while everyone around me has baby after baby, I'll be left in the dust. I feel like everyone pities me and everyone knows I couldn't make it happen. Everything online seems very religious and/or patronizing.

It's bad some days, it's not so bad others. I just need somewhere to discuss it, or at least read about people dealing with it in a sane way. Hopefully without the culty acronyms (AF? seriously?) I am rational enough to know that all these feelings of guilt, envy, shame, and grief are normal- but they are still kicking around. I can't really complain to my best friends about this when I've got their baby showers to plan and their babies to play with. What do I do with them if everyone around me is tired of hearing about it?
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (27 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
You had a really horrible experience - not only losing a longed for potential baby, and all the happy daydreams and planning you did - but it was painful and protracted, and it is absolutely normal for you to still grieve your loss.

I lost a pregnancy a few years ago, of a likewise much longed for child. Time really does soften the edges of your memories, though, and while you'll probably always have a little pause when you think of your miscarriage, it won't be the swirl of pain and disappointment you feel now.

Drop me a memail, if you'd like.
posted by thylacinthine at 12:40 AM on August 19, 2014 [2 favorites]

Miscarriage is lonely and isolating because it's the schrodinger pregnancy - you felt it, you experienced the reality of this loss, but to everyone else, the pregnancy wasn't visible yet.

Ask your husband to google "What to say to someone who's had a miscarriage" and then to pick the most helpful article for you and send it to your closest friends and family and say to them "This is what Jen needs right now, please read this and help."

Some people really do bounce back from miscarriages and are able to go on quickly, but IMO, most women just learn from the social pressure to bury their grief and stress and pretend convincingly. This was your first pregnancy, and this was your child, and it fucking hurts. Looking on the bright side can get stuffed.

I think it's way out of line for you to have to plan baby showers or even be around babies and pregnant friends if you're still actively grieving. Six months would be pretty moderate for this to start to feel less raw and painful - I would say until the due date that you had spent two months excitedly planning your life around has come and gone (plan on a quiet week that week and maybe a small ritual to say goodbye) because that's hard. It just is. You're not being crazy or hormonal or dramatic. You're grieving a big loss.

You will eventually be able to think about another pregnancy, but you're also mourning the loss of that innocence, of being pregnant without fear. I am so sorry - that is this gift that you don't know you had, and the next pregnancy is scary. A lot of doctors will help with more frequent testing to reassure you, like additional ultrasounds and HCG testing, because of the stress.

I had a friend drop me because I was very sad about a miscarriage and she felt I'd been sad too long. I've had other friendships end for drama reasons, but when I think about her, I feel just so pissed off that my grief was inconveniencing her and glad that we are no longer friends. If your friends really are pushing you to get over your grief, then those are acquaintances, not friends.

Try asking older women in your social group - miscarriages are not rare, although they can feel like it. If you belong to a religious community, ask one of the leaders there if they know someone else who's had miscarriages they can refer you to. You basically want someone who can listen and know what it's like.

Memail me if you'd like.
posted by viggorlijah at 12:48 AM on August 19, 2014 [22 favorites]

I'm so sorry--this is your entrance to a secret society, one so secret that there's no handshake, no code word, and most of the members will never recognise each other.

What you're going through now is awful. It gets easier with time, but it's never as easy as you'd like it to be, and my experience (four years out from my end-of-first-trimester miscarriage) is that dealing with other people's pregnancies and children is going to be a huge struggle for you for a while. I still can't deal with baby showers or going to see Newly Born Babies--I just lose it. I have a friend who had a miscarriage a month after mine, though, and she's had a baby since then, is planning a second, and organises baby showers for everyone she knows. Both reactions are normal and ok.

It's ok to be sad, and sad for a long time--I think that sometimes people forget that for women, especially those who want children, motherhood doesn't just magically start when you're handed a squalling newborn. If the pregnancy is something you wanted, motherhood started the moment that you saw that positive test. You've spent months thinking about this child, and making plans for them, and thinking about their names and worrying about childcare and maternity leave and money. You're not losing some abstract clump of cells--you're losing your child.

You're also losing your own--I don't know. Something, though. You're losing the privilege that many people have to say "I'm pregnant!" and have it be joyous, not fearful. You're losing the privilege of assuming that your body can and will do this, and that things will be fine. I feel like that's a difficult thing to articulate, but was a huge deal for me, psychologically--I felt like my body had betrayed me, and my child, and that I couldn't trust it anymore. I still sort of feel like that, to be honest. But that's a huge loss, and a stressful thing to have to live with.

If your friends or relatives or whomever are telling you that you're too sad, or are implying in any way that you did anything that contributed to this, please tell them to get stuffed. Tell them that strangers on the internet say that they're hurtful and wrong, because they are. Something like 15% of recognised pregnancies end in miscarriage. It's super, super common, and for whatever reason (fear, probably) it's not a thing we talk about. I know it feels like you're alone, but you're not, I promise. Please feel free to add me to the list of people to Memail if you'd like to talk.
posted by MeghanC at 1:09 AM on August 19, 2014 [16 favorites]

I'm so sorry.

I don't know how old you are, but the fact that you can say none of your friends has had a miscarriage is slightly stunning. Miscarriage is so, so common. I was recently in a room with five or six women when it came up conversationally that all of us had been through pregnancy loss. (Then again, I'm 42 so my cohort has been breeding for decades now.) You may feel alone, but you are so far from alone.

You might want to join the boards at ADL. It is demographically very like MeFi but without the men, and there are boards around pregnancy, pregnancy loss and TTC without the religion or the baby dust.

It will get better with time, which sounds like an empty platitude but I promise it's true.
posted by DarlingBri at 1:25 AM on August 19, 2014 [6 favorites]

I want to second talking to the older ladies you may know. Almost every older woman I know has had miscarriages and some of them were first babies and all of them have enough time between then and now to be able to talk with you, without being immersed in it. So they understand, but aren't swept under by their own grief (mostly, my mother will still cry for the last pregnancy sometimes). And often, they get the gory bits too, in a way many modern mothers don't.

Also, there are counsellors who specialise in post-miscarriage treatment - my therapist's office mate wrote a book specifically about it for example. That may be worthwhile for you.
posted by geek anachronism at 2:51 AM on August 19, 2014 [2 favorites]

I am so sorry for your loss. I miscarried too at 9 weeks and physically it wasn't great - it was picked up on a scan, I went home to miscarry normally but ended up losing too much blood so had to go back into hospital.

That was my second pregnancy and a year later I went on to have my baby boy (who's now almost three).

I think it is harder when it's your first miscarriage as you haven't had a viable pregnancy yet. But speaking anecdotally I know SO MANY women who've had a miscarriage the first time around, which has been their only miscarriage, and they've gone on to have their family. I know others, who, like me, had one the second time around. Miscarriage is sooo common it's kind of the luck of the draw if you have it first time round, or later, and you've been one of the unlucky ones as far as that goes, if you see what I mean.

Like the others I am really surprised none of your friends has miscarried and I am annoyed on your behalf they are being so unhelpful.

They keep telling me to look on the bright side, and to remember next time to take it easy so it doesn't happen again.

They can fuck right off. It is NOT YOUR FAULT you miscarried. It is NOTHING you did. Women go trampolining, jogging, ride horses, go ski-ing, drink a bottle of whisky in early pregnancy and they don't miscarry. You did NOTHING wrong.

You're in mourning right now. That is absolutely fine and normal. Plus your body is still recovering. Personally, if you can, I would stay away from babies right now. Take some time concentrating on yourself, get lots of TLC and later if you want to, you can continue your journey. I wish you SOOOO much luck with it!
posted by low_horrible_immoral at 4:10 AM on August 19, 2014 [9 favorites]

Your hospital may sponsor support groups or know of some. Give them a call and ask.
posted by Carol Anne at 5:29 AM on August 19, 2014

I'm really sad for you. I had a missed miscarriage as well - eleven weeks, baby stopped developing at 6, D&C at the advice of my doctor. It sucked. It still sucks. The a-hole attending doctor at the urgent care clinic I went to (just in case! even though a little spotting was normal!) told me that I was lucky because most early miscarriages aren't even recognized as pregnancies.

My sister sent me a rosebush to plant in memory of the baby we lost, and it was really helpful. It was extra awesome that it bloomed shortly after being planted. We moved last fall and the rosebush didn't survive the move and realizing that the rosebush had died (a year after the miscarriage) was very, very hard for me, but I'm still really glad I had it and would recommend something like that - something physical to look at when you need to think about this time. The hardest part for me was that there was nothing tangible about the pregnancy, nothing physical to help me focus my feelings.
posted by SeedStitch at 6:36 AM on August 19, 2014 [2 favorites]

Dear Anon, I'm so sad for you too. I am exactly 10 weeks out from the day I discovered my missed miscarriage, at 13.5 weeks. That first month after finding out was the darkest month of my whole life, and I will never forget the pain, anguish, ennui, anger, and more. I am still grieving. The only thing I can tell you is that 10 weeks after is SO different to 4-5 weeks after. At the point you're at, I felt like I would never breathe normally again, never feel normal again, like my hormones would never leave me alone. Now, I don't feel 100% normal but I am feeling a lot more like myself. I don't expect the sadness will ever go away, but I do feel better, and so will you. I promise. I also share the feelings of friends not understanding, of society expecting me to just get over it, of everyone saying all the pragmatic and positive utterances that cut through my soul.

What has helped:
- being very honest with my friends and colleagues about how shattered I am
- trying to be kind to myself and take lots of downtime to veg out and relax
- eating nutritious food and sleeping a lot
- writing about it

I also did feel better after certain milestones - the first post-D&C visit to my surgeon, 1 month after, 2 months after. I popped very early and had quite a bit of weight and it's finally going away now, so the extra insult of having extra weight is finally leaving.

You will get better. I will keep cheerleading you from afar (well, just 6 weeks ahead).
posted by shazzam! at 6:45 AM on August 19, 2014 [5 favorites]

I'm so sorry for your loss, I've been through this. Three years ago we lost our first pregnancy to miscarriage at 15 weeks and it was devastating. Time really does help, you need to just let yourself grieve, I'm so sorry that I don't have any better advice than that. My husband and I started trying again after 3 months and got pregnant on our first try and now have a beautiful two year old. Miscarriage is incredibly common and its not considered a fertility problem until you lose 3 pregnancies in a row. Be kind to yourself and take it easy, no need to go to anyone's baby related activities for awhile, if people don't understand that feel free to tell them to go get bent. If you need someone to talk to feel free to memail me. I'm so sorry for your loss.
posted by julie_of_the_jungle at 6:47 AM on August 19, 2014

None of my friends have had miscarriages

This is almost certainly not true, whether they know about it or not. around 20% of known pregnancies miscarry and as many as 50% of all pregnancies probably do.
posted by empath at 7:16 AM on August 19, 2014 [3 favorites]

Sorry for your loss. We lost our first pregnancy fairly early in, too--after going years without getting pregnant--and it was very physically painful for my wife (had to have outpatient surgery afterward) and pretty emotional for both of us.

Like you, we had told everyone since, hey, finally, right!? And then, ugh, not finally. 'Nope, not pregnant anymore'--'oh, you can see the baby bump? Nope, scar tissue.'

Like you, we really wanted those babies (turns out it was twins!). But, oddly, in hindsight, while we would have loved the heck out of whatever came down the pipe, having kids a couple of years later turned out to be much, much better timing for us. And we ended up pregnant again. And again. And again! But each time we were more circumspect at the early news, no longer taking out a full-page NYT ad to announce, etc.--just in case, right?--and more importantly, we were so appreciative of that life and just how fragile it was (and is!). And then when it was born, it's like, whoa, little dude (or dudette in our case), your chromosomes all lined up, your mom only accidentally got drunk twice, and you lived in a dark underwater handbag and you made it! And so when people say 'oh he's just perfect,' from experience you'll know, painfully more than most, that it's true.

The crazy thing for me is how many women have miscarried--I think we're in an age where we're much more open about discussing these things, and I'm realizing that it's very, very common.

So just know that you're not alone--and that you can actually get pregnant, which is more than a lot of women can say!--and that you'll only appreciate life that much more the next time.
posted by resurrexit at 7:24 AM on August 19, 2014 [3 favorites]

I am so sorry for your loss. We miscarried twice and it was a horrible experience both times. However, it did get better over time. Please hang in there.
posted by Silvertree at 7:32 AM on August 19, 2014

Oh, anon. I am so sorry this has happened to you.

I had a similar situation - missed miscarriage at around 9 weeks, not discovered until near the end of the first tri, we'd already told many people (at 9 weeks, as it happened! that was so awesome to discover in retrospect!), gory/bloody/traumatic day spent in the ER, everyone was well-meaning but clueless in their support. To worsen matters further, my dearest friend had just delivered her first child three days earlier, and brought her baby home the same day I was in the hospital losing my own. It was so awful in every way.

The next few months were very dark. I wept nearly every day, and dealt with a lot of depression and anger, which surprised and worried my family that I was grieving so intensely. I hated it when people told me how great I was doing, because they evidently couldn't see that I'd never been less great in my life. And when I had recovered physically and it was time to resume TTC, it got even worse. I was terrified that it would happen again, or that that had been my one shot at a baby. When people said stuff similar to what you mentioned - it wasn't meant to be, at least you know you can get pregnant, you'll have another baby, etc. - far from providing me comfort, it would bring me to tears. I wanted to scream at them that they had no idea if that were actually true, and that they couldn't promise anything like that.

My story has a happy ending. I was incredibly, massively fortunate to conceive my baby girl on the following cycle, had a healthy and uneventful pregnancy, and and she was born last November, less than 11 months after my miscarriage. But the miscarriage itself, it lingers in weird ways that still hurt. Typing out my story still makes me cry. Looking at pictures of my best friend's baby from her first few weeks only reminds me of how much pain I was in. I feel deep sadness and camaraderie for women who have gone through the same thing.

It will always be with you in some capacity, although it will lessen dramatically with time, but it sucks that it's something we have to live with forever. I feel weird when my friends get pregnant uneventfully; of COURSE I am happy for them and glad they didn't have to go through what I did but a part of me resents their innocence and mourns the loss of my own. Even though I had my beautiful baby girl safely in my arms, I still lit a candle on the anniversary of my miscarriage. I don't know that I always will but for now it feels very necessary.

There's a (tens of pages long) thread at ADL called "miscarriage stories - how did it happen for you?" that I read over and over in the weeks following. There are several other threads related to every aspect of healing from a miscarriage, from body changes to emotional and mental health to TTC and pregnancy following a miscarriage, and I posted there often as I worked through my own. Reading others' stories, and writing out my own, helped me put words to the experience when the inside of my head felt like nothing but a giant incomprehensible mess. And then I started seeing a therapist for the first time in my life, when two months had passed and I still needed to talk about it and I felt for various reasons that I could no longer burden people with it. That helped immensely. When I got pregnant again, she helped me work through all the NEW anxieties I now had to bear, in addition to the usual first tri crap. She also suggested some form of physical commemoration of my first pregnancy in whatever form, whether it was a plant or a piece of jewelry or a tattoo or whatever; I didn't end up following through on that but I definitely think that it would have helped as well.

Peace, love, hugs, and healing to you. I, and I'm sure many here, will be thinking of you.
posted by anderjen at 8:10 AM on August 19, 2014 [2 favorites]

Came here to say what julie_of_the_jungle already did: One miscarriage does not a pattern make. They are very common, and most women who have a miscarriage go on to have healthy pregnancies afterwards. It is also very unlikely you could have done anything differently-- the majority of miscarriages occur because of chromosomal or other developmental error.

Another point: you simply may not know which friends have miscarried; it's not something American women talk about much. As my friends have aged, I've noticed they tend to start telling people later, because either they or friends of theirs have experienced miscarriage. Just reiterating that it is quite a common experience, and hopefully you've found some support here to know you aren't alone.

For now, though, it seems like this thread contains some good suggestions on how to mourn; I hope they are helpful to you as you go through this process.
posted by nat at 8:47 AM on August 19, 2014

OP, I am so, so sorry. When I read your post it made me tear up. I recently experienced a second term loss of a much wanted pregnancy, and it was emotionally traumatic especially since it was our first pregnancy and we'd had difficulty conceiving. It was also physically traumatic, which as you unfortunately know compounds everything. This is the first time I've mentioned it here but I want you to know you are not alone and it's unfortunately very common.

I can relate to the feelings you are having. I have good days and bad, but now, two months later, there are more good than bad ones. I highly recommend the alt.dot.life forums recommended above. I have obsessively read many threads in the pregnancy loss forum and they're so helpful. There is one in particular called something like "Pregnancy Loss is bringing out Ugly Emotions in Me" and it's all about the incredibly NORMAL feelings of anger, jealousy and sadness being around pregnant women or newborns. When I read them and heard my two very dear friends who have unfortunately experienced pregnancy loss say the same things, it made me feel less like a horrible green-eyed monster.

It might also help your partner to read those threads to understand what you're going through. Having a supportive partner is so invaluable and I'm glad yours is.

But I am sorry your friends haven't been very supportive. Some may not know how. They might say dumb things because they don't know you are feeling so terrible and they may think you are coping well. Please know it is ok to be honest and tell someone that you are still feeling sad and you're not over it. You may be surprised--some might be more compassionate because they didn't realize how you were feeling. If they continue to minimize your feelings, then they are not being a good friend and they can get bent.

I showed early, and we had told quite a few people about the pregnancy so I also had weird feelings when we had to break the bad news. I was just really honest and said it was the worst experience of my life. I didn't care if some people thought I was being dramatic, but actually people responded with empathy and I was surprised how many women shared their story of loss with me.

The last thing I'll say is that when I was the same number of weeks out as you, my hormones were a mess and I felt terribly raw, very up and down. Things were much better after my HCG levels returned closer to normal (my dr was monitoring them). This doesn't mean your feelings aren't real; it's just that the hormones can make it especially hard to cope.

Grief is a process. It's different for everyone and can be up and down--one step forward, two steps back. Please be gentle with yourself and feel free to MeMail me if you need a listening ear. I'm so sorry this has happened to you.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 10:05 AM on August 19, 2014 [2 favorites]

I went through something very similar only this past Christmas. What should have been a joyous holiday sharing the news with my family ended up as the worst time of my life and my husband's. We had also told a few close friends and I had to ask my husband to tell some of them the bad news because I couldn't bear it. On top of that his sister was pregnant with the same due date as us. Hers went successfully and she had a boy about a month ago.

Anon, my heart completely goes out to you. I couldn't stop crying for a least two months and it was probably close to 4 months before I could go a month without crying (and usually because I got my period). Basically everything set me off - even babies on commercials. I still tear up reading your question and typing this out. At a certain point I felt like I didn't want to stop being sad. It would have felt like this time of my life was truly over and without another pregnancy to look forward to, I didn't want to move on.

All you feel is normal and I am grateful that you are brave enough to post this so that I may also benefit from the responses as well. Everyone has offered such wonderful insights and words. The points about the loss of innocence really resonates with me.

It does feel isolating when all around you it seems people are getting knocked up with ease and popping out babies like nothing. It's infuriating and life seems SO UNFAIR. You think you're doing everything right and this happens. I actually quit Facebook and unfollowed people with babies on Instagram. I kind of felt guilty but you know what, it has really done me a lot of good and I would highly recommend it.

Talk to your partner. My husband was also grieving heavily but he felt he needed to support me and I felt like I didn't want to burden him, so there was a lot of silent crying on my end and frustration on his. I try to be a lot more open with him now and it's hard but it helps and we're closer and stronger for it.

Although I know you will never "get over" this, I hope you soon find peace. Feel free to memail me if you want.
posted by like_neon at 11:18 AM on August 19, 2014 [2 favorites]

I'm so sorry. It's hard. And losing a pregnancy is like other types of grief: it's variable and unpredictable and different people have different reactions. That's ok. I'm approaching the one-year anniversary of a miscarriage and while things are much better now than they were at first, there are still times when I am just floored with grief.

Also this:

Everyone keeps telling me to be glad I can get pregnant and to be glad that my body knew enough to end it early if it was broken. They keep telling me to look on the bright side, and to remember next time to take it easy so it doesn't happen again. I get the very distinct impression that they think I am taking this too seriously.

is horrible. There is this intense pressure placed on women not to be "too emotional" and to always be positive and happy about anything related to childbearing and parenting that has brutal consequences for people. I've discussed before with friends how sexist this is...can you imagine saying to someone with cancer, "Look on the bright side - you'll have time to say goodbye to your family before you die!" Or to someone who just survived a heart attack, "You should be glad that you got this wake-up call to lose weight and eat better!" You don't have to be glad. You don't have to look on the bright side. There doesn't have to be a bright side. It can just be horrible and shitty and sad. If you want to be an asshole like me, you can respond with, "So, you're saying that you think it's a good thing that my baby died?" Finally, this comment about how you should take it easy next time is victim-blaming. It implies that you did something wrong that caused your miscarriage, and that your future behavior will control whether or not you have another one. This is pure distilled 100% essence of bullshit.

I'm sorry people around you are being so awful; unfortunately this is pretty typical of people's responses to miscarriage. For online support I echo the recommendation for altdotlife. You should feel free to memail me. Maybe it would also help you to talk to a therapist or go to a support group that's focused on pregnancy loss? If reading is a good way for you to process, I found the book A Silent Sorrow helpful.
posted by medusa at 11:41 AM on August 19, 2014 [2 favorites]

I care about it and do not think you should be over it. You must be devastated and feel so very alone. Even your partner can't completely relate, and it must feel like you have no one to validate your emotions, and that loneliness is an additional source of pain.

I'm so sorry. Even the medical problems alone are enough to really make you feel like shit, and the miscarriage on top of that--you have every right to be sad. Other people's happiness doesn't cancel out your grief.

You're working hard to get support by looking for groups and asking us about this. I can tell that even in this difficult time you have substantial inner resources to work with.

Can you make an appointment with your OB or midwife and talk to them about your feelings? They may have resources for you, and may also consider referring you to a reproductive mental health specialist.

Good luck.
posted by the young rope-rider at 11:46 AM on August 19, 2014

I had a missed miscarriage at 7 weeks. What I've learned is that you go on with your life (and I'm now pregnant with another baby at 22 weeks), but you don't get over it. I'm pro-choice as it can get and yet I loved that little fetus more than I could have imagined. It's not all that different than losing someone you love except that you don't get to grieve publicly. There's no funeral. And in some ways that makes it harder.

For me, therapy didn't help. The therapist couldn't fix the thing I was sad about, so I didn't see the point. My friend who had stillbirth twins at 21 weeks did find it helpful. I think she said she learned that the grief doesn't go away necessarily, but you get to a point that it doesn't control your life. Obviously she had a different more horrible experience than I did, but therapy helped her get on with her life.

I will say that the most lingering impact of the miscarriage is that I can never relax about this pregnancy. Every ultrasound makes me scared. Sometimes that means that you require a little extra monitoring to feel better. Most obgyns will understand if you need that. I hear that the fear can linger even after the baby is born-- so some us with PTSD also get extra pediatrician appointments just for reassurance. Something to think about when you get there.
Some people find this online group helpful:
posted by bananafish at 1:08 PM on August 19, 2014 [3 favorites]

I've had 6 pregnancies and have 3 live children. So, 3 miscarriages. Every other pregnancy, I lose, it seems. My first pregnancy was very similar to your story -- we'd told everyone, were really excited, etc. Unlike you, though, I have found that my story is not at all unique. It really is a roll of the dice when you decide to have children. You never find this out, though, until you're in it. I think the culture paints a really rosy picture of pregnancy, especially now, with modern medicine, it's an easy, expected thing. You have sex, get pregnant, and have a baby! But it really isn't that way at all. People at large don't talk about miscarriages, but once you have one, it is just like a poster said above. You are in the secret club that almost everyone is a member of.

Over time, and because I have been fortunate enough to have successful pregnancies, the miscarriages have started to seem like the cost of doing business. I think literally every woman I know who is a mom has also lost a child. I wish I had known how common this is before I started trying. It would have saved me a lot of pain.

One thing about having kids -- whether they actually are born or not -- is that it requires you to open yourself up to love. And doing that is such a risk. It's terrible, in a way, to really love something because lurking on the bright edges of love is the dark risk of loss. And if you do go on to have children, which many, many, many people do, that feeling of love and risk intensifies. In a way, the miscarriages have helped with how I think about my live children. It is a fact that you can't control everything and the possibility of terrible grief lurks right around the corner all the time. The fact that so many people understand this because of the losses they've experienced has changed the way I look at people. I think suffering something like this made me more human.

I want to congratulate you on trying, on getting in there and pitching. It's much easier to not do anything so you can avoid potential loss and the crushing heartbreak it brings (it never got any easier or less painful, losing a baby, especially after I'd had one and understood what it was I'd really lost). It is stunning how much bravery a "simple" thing like pregnancy requires. The process you're embarking on now could make you a stronger, deeper, more empathetic person, and, most likely, a really great parent when/if the time comes.

I hope you will talk to other women about this, cry for as long as you have to, gird yourself for battle, and don't lose heart. I really commend you for posting this question.
posted by staggering termagant at 1:13 PM on August 19, 2014 [8 favorites]

I'm so sorry you are going through this, you are certainly not alone. I had an empty sac miscarriage (where an embryo does not develop) and felt totally alone grieving for a baby that literally did not exist. I had a very drawn out miscarriage using misoprostol trying to avoid a D&C but had constant massive bleeding until I finally had to go in to hospital. I felt totally shattered to loose a much wanted pregnancy and really shocked by peoples (lack of) reaction to what to me was a devastating loss combined with real physical illness. I lost huge amounts of blood, couldn't digest food and could barely stand, but somehow had to cope with a young child and put a brave face on with no support network to speak of.
Like you I felt that the support groups out there were not really for me and I felt enormous pressure to get over it and move on. It took a good six months before I could really say I felt better, but even now 2 years later I still think of what I am missing, a part of me, a sibling for my daughter, a chance to be a mother again. I guess this has become part of the fabric of me now, and that's ok. I know it seems hard to imagine but this will gradually get easier, eventually the emotions will flatten slightly and you will feel calmer, but if at any point you begin to feel like this is taking hold of you then do please seek counselling.
Please be gentle with yourself, absolutely nothing you did harmed your baby and you have my permission, for what it is worth, to shut out those people who make you feel like you should be over this. I was really suprised by how many other women I knew had been through the same thing, but I was even more suprised by how many of them thought it was no big deal, I guess some people are just more able to compartmentalise and move on. You are allowed to feel how you feel and nobody should be tired of hearing about it. This may not work for you but have you considered asking your partner or a trusted friend to speak to your circle of friends about your feelings around baby showers and new babies, perhaps just to let them know that you are struggling and to please be patient? Anyone who can't understand that you feel raw even if it isn't something they can identify with themselves really isn't much of a friend to you. I think that because we choose to reproduce we are expected to suck it up and get on with it when things don't turn out how we'd hoped in a way that would be totally inappropriate in any other situation. Sorry for the garbled essay, it's still a hard subject but I can identify. Please feel free to memail me if you'd like to.
posted by RandomInconsistencies at 1:31 PM on August 19, 2014

OP, I am so sorry, and fuck those hurtful comments from friends and family.

It is very common to lose a pregnancy, quite common to lose a first pregnancy. Which doesn't make it hurt any less. I lost my first pregnancy under similar circumstances and can still touch that pain and grief, though its nature has changed (my second pregnancy, resulting in a ridiculously healthy child, could not have happened if the first pregnancy had resulted in a child. So that grief is complicated.)

Keep in mind that your soup of hormones is like postpartum right now, which doesn't make the pain less real, but does mean that you should be very easy on yourself. There are loss support groups, though as you say multiple/later pregnancies can feel invalidating to your feelings even if it's not intended to be.

Last thing: sharing news is not embarrassing. You should not be ashamed of your loss. I actually shared about the miscarriage on FB without having made a pregnancy announcement, and a number of women comforted me with their stories. I'm very sorry to welcome you into that sisterhood. If you need to talk or have specific questions, feel free to MeMail.
posted by tchemgrrl at 4:16 PM on August 19, 2014 [1 favorite]

I've had two missed miscarriages, at 7 and 9-10 weeks (discovered via scan at 8 and 10 weeks), and while time helps, some aspects of the pain don't really go away. And that's okay - you suffered a real loss and it's okay to grieve. One thing that did help me was finding out how many women have them - it sounds like your peer group is younger and not going through this heartbreak yet, and that makes it harder for you to reach out, but go easy on yourself and know that miscarriage is very common. Even after heartbeat. It doesn't mean you need to worry about infertility or that you're broken in some way. You're just extra unlucky in that none of your friends can relate yet.

As a practical thing, if you bought anything at Destination Maternity or any of the other national chains and gave a due date (they often ask for it at the register as part of checkout), have someone call them and ask to be taken off their list. Otherwise the next time you go in, they will assume you had the child and may comment on it, because it's in their system. Ugh.

Feel free to memail if you want someone to talk to.
posted by Mchelly at 5:38 PM on August 19, 2014

I've had two miscarriages, both early (one stopped developing around 5 weeks, I lost it at almost 11 weeks, the other stopped developing around 8 weeks, I lost it at 10), both VERY wanted, planned, joyously welcomed pregnancies. I bled for a fucking MONTH after the first one. I said something about not feeling well to my dad a couple of weeks into it and he cluelessly said, "You're STILL doing that?" and I'm almost punched him. (Oh, and now he's like, "Are you pregnant yet? I want to hold a baby!")

It really fucking sucks. I have SEVEN pregnant friends right now. SEVEN. Oh, wait, six because one of them had her baby right around when my first was due.

Oh, and I had told everyone about the first one, too. I was so excited and couldn't wait. Please don't feel embarrassed or ashamed, either of the miscarriage or your emotions. You did NOTHING to cause the miscarriage. How much rest you were getting had NOTHING to do with it. That makes me so angry that someone would say that to you. And you don't have to be glad about it, either. What an insensitive thing to say.

I was just complaining to friends about how...unhelpful I find a lot of online resources. The term "rainbow baby" makes me gag (I'm not trying to be offensive, it's profoundly unhelpful to me, but I'm glad if it helps someone else) and you're so right about people speaking in acronyms. It's like another language I don't want to learn. I've not really found much in the way of online support that made me feel any better. This just really sucks. I'm so sorry. Memail me if you want to commiserate about how much miscarriage sucks and how many assholes we know.
posted by Aquifer at 6:16 PM on August 19, 2014 [5 favorites]

I had a missed miscarriage - we found out at the scan too - the Christmas before last. I dealt with it by being extremely pragmatic and almost refusing to think about it at all. I told almost no-one, went back to work the day after my ERPC, and made myself extra busy until I got pregnant again. I wouldn't advise this, because my anxiety in my next pregnancy was stratospheric (I asked a question on here about it around my due date when I was going insane with paranoia about stillbirth - seriously, I didn't even see the point of packing a bag for the hospital), but I can hand on heart tell you that when what would have been the due date came around this summer, it honestly didn't even cross my mind.

I do think it genuinely helps to distract yourself to some extent. I got involved in some extra causes and projects around that time, which I felt gave my life additional meaning and gave me something completely unrelated to focus on, and I do think that helped. If you intend to try again - and on no account rush yourself - then spend this time taking really good care of yourself and getting in the best shape possible: this will give you something positive and controllable to focus on. It took weeks and weeks for me to get a negative pregnancy test again, so don't be disheartened if your body doesn't co-operate for a little while.

I don't think it's universally true that you feel "over" it once you have a healthy baby (I suspect I will never have a pregnancy that I will allow myself to feel excited about), but I certainly feel that if that pregnancy had worked out then I wouldn't have *this* baby, which is one positive thing. Another is that if you do get pregnant again, just getting past that first scan will feel utterly amazing, and those who haven't been where you are now won't get to feel quite as relieved and joyous and triumphant as you will.

And perhaps I do cherish my baby and feel grateful for her existence that much more because of my experience. I had kind of a crappy birth; a friend had the same sort of birth as me and was really gutted that she didn't get the birth she wanted, whereas I was beyond euphoric just to have a healthy baby.

Please feel free to memail me. Give yourself time and space - and permission - to feel whatever you need to feel. And be very, very gentle on yourself for a good while yet. My thoughts are very much with you, anon.
posted by raspberry-ripple at 10:44 PM on August 19, 2014

When I had a missed miscarriage at around the same week as you, what helped me most was finding out how common this is so I felt less alone (but frustrated with how this seems to be such a taboo topic until one becomes a member of the club, so to speak, and sometimes even then), reading around a lot and realizing that there was nothing I did wrong, and batmonkey's comment about framing the story as that of a visiting spark. It was still awful, but these three things made it a little easier for me. Your feelings are valid, don't let the naysayers get to you. All the best for you.
posted by meijusa at 1:28 AM on August 20, 2014

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