Almost as quickly as we bask in the excitement of finding out we are pregnant; it becomes natural to worry about having a miscarriage. The worry is usually compounded by the fact that random people will inadvertently tell pregnant women about either their own miscarriage or someone else’s. Mix that with the fact that few medial doctors want to see you or take you seriously as a pregnant woman until you are past the 12 week mark and the old wives tales and superstitions about telling people we are pregnant during the first trimester; can leave many newly pregnant women worried about a miscarriage.
Dealing with a miscarriage is never easy; but there are some things that can help!
The first thing you have to do is develop thick skin early on. Try not to read everything there is about early pregnancy and keep away from all the facts and figures about how many women have a miscarriage. Yes, the risks are high! Little that healthy women do can make a difference in the outcome. Enjoy your changing body and listen to your inner voice. If something feels wrong then contact your doctor and force them to deal with you. The second thing to keep in mind is that if you have a miscarriage chances are there was a genetic defect in the fetus. As a woman who experienced several miscarriages I understand that this rarely, if ever makes us feel better – at first. Research indicates that around the 10 week mark of gestation the largest and most important genetic split occurs. This seems to correlate with the time that most women experience a miscarriage and is also the reason that physicians usually wait until this point to begin taking us seriously.
If you are one of the women who does experience a first trimester miscarriage, take heart! You are absolutely not alone! Dealing with a miscarriage is as much about dealing with the physical loss of your pregnancy as it about dealing with your emotional connection to your unborn child. This connection encompasses all your hopes, dreams and visions for the future and can take a long time to get over. Chances are high that although you will heal; you will never forget your miscarriage and that a part of you will always love and cherish the child you lost.
The world can be an insensitive place. Often times husbands, doctors and family members do not understand how you feel. They couldn’t possibly. Forgive them immediately. A miscarriage is a loss and just like a death it needs to be felt and somehow processed. As we process miscarriage it is easy to lose our faith, question our God, curse our luck and feel terribly jealous each and every time we see a pregnant woman or newborn baby. This is simply natural. Accept all the feelings that you feel and never be afraid to navigate through your emotions. Even if they take you somewhere you don’t want to go or induce a feeling that seems wrong; allow yourself to work through them. Otherwise you will never heal. After a miscarriage the goal is not to find solace in the fact that it happened but to find strength to go on. For many women, going on means having a successful pregnancy and for others it means snipping off that fertile side of themselves. Whichever works for you is right!
In the first trimester, a miscarriage can often go unnoticed. In a pregnancy that seems normal, where the heart beat is apparent and where no red flags are raised; a miscarriage can still happen. It doesn’t mean that we did something wrong, ate the wrong food, or didn’t take proper care of ourselves. A miscarriage is not about fault or failure. Most of these miscarriages don’t even physically hurt and can easily be so calm that a woman’s mind can begin to play tricks on her. I remember specifically, after one such miscarriage- I came home wondering if I was every really pregnant at all. I looked at the ultrasound pictures and the documentations of heart beat several times curious about whether or not I had just been dreaming. It was confusing and my OBGYN seemed unequipped to help. It isn’t that the medical world doesn’t understand how emotionally painful it is; it’s just that they see it so often they have become complacent. For them a miscarriage is an occupational hazard. For women, it is conflict in the heart.
Another thing that can help when we are dealing with a miscarriage is to find some sort of commemoration. For me, I planted a tree! Each spring the tree blooms and I imagine my unborn child reaching out to me through the flowers. The larger the tree gets, the more time I see that has passed. Although it doesn’t bring on tears or gut wrenching sobs anymore I do still feel a part of my miscarriage in who I am today. The tree allows me to never forget and somehow helped me to make the whole thing real. The miscarriage was so much more about life than death; and as the tree lives so do my feelings. Other people scrapbook the baby, write him or her a letter, make a small burial spot in a special place or use a piece of jewelry to keep them close. It doesn’t matter what we do or how we do it, the fact remains that no matter what a woman never forgets. Perhaps it isn’t about moving on as much as it is about accepting and learning whatever it was that child was meant to teach us.
People will also not know what to say. If they knew you were pregnant or if you were already showing they will for some reason think they have to say something. Most of what comes out of their mouths is unintentionally upsetting or only adding salt to the wound. You may feel like screaming at them or throwing a book in their face; that too is natural. Try to understand that these people care and that they are trying to help in the only way they know how.
A sometimes forgotten victim of a miscarriage is the father. They may not understand the hormonal changes or feelings that a woman goes through. They may not understand the reasons. They may not ask questions or do anything but hold your hand. They may just go on with life as normal. But they too are hurting. This is something that will strengthen the relationship you and your husband have. This is something that the father has to deal with as well. Like you it will have to be dealt with in their own way, in their own time and with their own heart. It may seem like they too are complacent or uncaring, but more than likely they are trying to be strong. A miscarriage can scare many men away from fatherhood and sex and they may not be ready to discuss trying again for a long time. My husband didn’t discuss the miscarriage or having another baby until we passed the original due date. When I asked him about it, he said he felt like it was only right that this baby was able to live in his mind until her intended birth. Until that moment I never believed that a man could feel so much for an unborn child. He too is dealing with the miscarriage.
Being a woman is an incredibly awesome gift. Sometimes we complain about having our periods and having to shave. Sometimes we moan about cramps, menopause and bearing the pregnancy that brings us a child. When we think about what nature intended for our bodies and discover the absolute power and strength that is inside us; we have to form a higher level of appreciation and respect for ourselves. A miscarriage can make us feel like our body has failed us. It can make us wish we weren’t women so that we wouldn’t have to deal with this sort of pain. But it should also bring us to a place where we thoroughly understand the magic we behold. We create life. We may not do it on our own at first, but we grow it, nurture it and hold it inside us for a long time to bring it to fruition. Someone obviously trusts us to do so. There is something miraculously special about being a woman. If we are faced to deal with miscarriage in the hopes of bringing more life to this world, it is pivotal to not forget your blessings.
No woman wants to feel that they are simply replacing one baby with another. No woman comes home from a miscarriage without feeling implanted with fear or insecurity about what our future holds. This too is natural. The loss can end up teaching us and allowing us to truly respect and admire the birth of a child. Often we can take it for granted. We have to be able to reach a place that enables us to treasure the lives that come our way, no matter what form they take.
Looking back, dealing with a miscarriage was the hardest thing I ever had to face. I was caught in a world that seemed surreal and mean and had a hard time climbing back up. I questioned everything. I even tried to find reasons for why I was being ‘punished’ in this manner. In the end I can say I never truly understood it until the day I gave birth to my third child. The moment I looked at her I knew. The answers flooded to me in a sweep of human emotion that I never felt before. She had a birthmark on her shoulder and the moment I saw it I knew that I knew her! It explained all the why’s and gave me all the answers that I wanted so desperately to find. She was supposed to make her way into my life and quite probably would not have had I not suffered through a miscarriage. I understood in that moment, that most certainly there is a reason for everything in our lives. Often it is not about understanding the reason right away, but leaving yourself open to receive it. When we got home from the hospital, my tree was in bloom. The flowers were open and the leaves were green brilliantly glowing with life! My unborn baby was smiling with me from Heaven. Such is life!