Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness Month - “I Had a Miscarriage”
"I had a miscarriage." Those were four words I never thought I'd have to say, but I knew it was possible with the rate of miscarriages being so high especially when it’s the first pregnancy. However, it’s rarely ever talked about. I decided to write about this because I want to bring awareness to pregnancy loss because I’ve noticed many people don’t really know what to say or how to react when one goes through a miscarriage. I also feel most people don't know why women have miscarriages. Heck, I didn't even know until it happened to me and I began researching.
Miscarriages happen for numerous reasons, and I know many people tend to think it's from stress, but let me just tell you based on my research and talking to doctors, stress is actually NOT one of the causes. There's actually little to no evidence in stress being related at all. This great article on Parenting explains the 7 most common reasons & the number one cause has to do with chromosomal abnormalities. The others are mostly related to disorders and health, or a problem in the development of the embryo. Ironically, stress is not mentioned in this article at all nor in others I looked at so I think we can put that theory to rest for now.
There's another interesting fact which is very important to know in case it happens to you or someone you know; in many cases, women that have had early miscarriages in the 5-6 week of their pregnancy, might not even know they've had a miscarriage because they'll just think their menstrual cycle was delayed a week or two. The symptoms of bleeding for a few days and cramping will seem like a typical menses. That's why it's good to track your cycle and know how long your cycle is regularly. I track my cycle using the Flo app, which is how I knew I was late & took a pregnancy test to find out I was pregnant.
When I told my loved ones I miscarried at almost 6 weeks pregnant on the last weekend of September, the only thing I wanted was a warm, comforting hug and maybe a reminder that everything will be okay and that it’s in God’s hands. I did get that from most, but when I’d hear things like “You can just try again next month” or “It wasn’t even a baby yet” or “Maybe you were too stressed,” that just made me want to cry, yell, and smack someone all at the same time. I'm sure I speak for many women when I say, I don't want to try again next month because THIS WAS my pregnancy and THIS WAS my baby. No I was never stressed or worried until I saw blood in the toilet and realized I was probably losing the baby. I even had a nightmare of that happening two nights before the miscarriage occurred and even that didn't stress me out. I guess I'll be paying attention to my dreams more often from now on. Whether it’s 5 weeks or almost full term, THAT IS YOUR BABY. You are growing a life inside of you and when you are so excited that you can’t wait to share the good news with the world, only to have it crumble before you can even get to do that, it is depressing. It literally takes life away from you.
I realize that at 6 weeks, the baby wasn’t developed much. I realize that I CAN try again next month. Some women can’t even try to conceive again right away because they have to get a vaccine or get a D&C performed to clear the tissue of the fetus out of their uterus and have to wait a few months to conceive again. The point is when someone miscarries, it’s not as easy to get over as people think it is. It’s a grieving process no matter how short of a pregnancy. You’ve lost something precious that you had hopes and dreams of holding, watching grow, experiencing the first kick, watching your belly grow because something beautiful and miraculous is growing inside, picking out cute baby clothes, and making cute pregnancy announcements. I know that these are all things I can do with another pregnancy that may turn out to be normal and healthy. I just want people to be aware that losing a baby inside of you whether it’s only 5 weeks, full term, a still born, or an infant is not as easy as just trying again. You have to get past the physical, mental, and emotional trauma.
Those first few days of a miscarriage, you have to deal with emotional and physical pain, cramping, feeling uncomfortable, and bleeding, knowing that what you’re bleeding is what was supposed to be your baby. You turn to forums on the Baby center community, desperately looking for hope and comfort from other women that may have experienced what you are going through, possibly telling you that you're just spotting and not bleeding enough to actually miscarry. Some women are lucky enough to have a normal pregnancy after spotting after all. You have to keep making visits to the doctor every other day to draw blood to make sure your pregnancy hCG levels are down to zero & that there is no more tissue from the fetus in your uterus so that everything is healthy and normal again. Let that sink in for a minute. All the while, you have to keep your composure and hold back your tears like the strong woman you’re supposed to be when you see a beautiful pregnant woman walk by with her big belly bump or when you see those annoyingly cute baby announcements all over social media that you know you should be happy for, but just make you want to cry. It’s anything but easy, but I will say this, it does get easier.
Those first few days and couple weeks, I would cry, I would be upset thinking "Why me?" and thinking about what I went through and what could've been. Then I realized, it just wasn't meant to be yet. I need to keep living my life. I'm not going to get anywhere in life dwelling on what if's and wondering why this happened. I had to keep telling myself God has a plan and always has a good plan for me. What's meant to be will be and I will be ready for when or if my time comes to be a mother some day. One thing's for sure, it taught me to be stronger. It taught me to bring awareness to this subject for myself and others. It just so happened to occur two days before Pregnancy Loss Awareness month, so I saw it as a blessing in disguise to break the silence and bring awareness to it.
To the people who say “You can just try again” or “It wasn’t even really a baby”: Don't say that! Just give that woman a hug and tell her you’re sorry for her loss and that God has a better plan for her.
To the women who have lost an angel: I am with you. I will be here to hug you and console you. Together we can be strong, overcome this pain, and break the silence about pregnancy & infant loss. May you find that rainbow after the storm.