Losing a pregnancy is an experience I would never wish on anyone.... but I do know that if it does happen to you it helps to know you are not alone. I’m still surprised when I speak about my losses at how many other people then share a similar experience. Despite miscarriage being common it’s still not something we openly talk about, especially the finer details.
As a result there is not a lot of information out there about what it is really like.
Some things I didn’t know before my losses:
A miscarriage is often not something that happens quickly.
There is definitely that moment where you hear the dreaded news that your pregnancy is not going to make it - but its rare that in that exact moment the loss actually occurs. Often you then wait - for your body to let go of your baby naturally or for an operation to help that process along.
That wait can go on for days or even weeks
This part is very hard. It’s the worst kind of limbo - you can’t move forward and you can’t go back. I felt afraid to leave the house in case the miscarriage suddenly started, and was scared, angry and sad all at once.
Often Doctor’s aren’t forthcoming about exactly what is going to happen physically, at least not to the level of detail you might want at that time.
Both times all I was told was to go just home, expect to start bleeding soon and to come back in a week for a blood test to confirm I was no longer pregnant.
My losses were ectopic’s so I ended up requiring surgery, as such I can’t personally speak to a ‘natural’ miscarriage. Honest chats with people who have endured this have revealed there is a lot more to it than my Dr told me!
I recently read an article about a woman’s experience of miscarriage that laid it all bare. It’s not an easy read, but I think these are important stories to share - if you are interested click here.
So what advice would I offer to those who are facing a miscarriage?
- Ask Questions. I was guilty of hearing the news, and - as I was in shock and devastated - just going home. Not wanting to bother people or come off as stupid I didn’t call my Doctor back to say um…what is actually going to happen?? What’s normal? What should I be concerned about?
- Educate Yourself. If you are worried about it and you are the type of person who would rather be forewarned as to what might occur I recommend talking to, or reading forums/blogs from, others who have been through the same thing
- Don’t Feel like You Have to ‘Just Solider On’. A pregnancy loss is hard both physically and emotionally. It’s difficult if you don’t want to share with work or family and friends that this is happening, but you need to make time and space to grieve and heal.
- Don’t Bottle It Up. Find something that feels comfortable for you - talk to your partner, your friends, get on forums/chat to others who have had the same experience, talk to a counsellor, your doctors, write a journal or a letter to your baby...just get it out!
Like so many things on the pathway to pregnancy there is no silver bullet to coping with a pregnancy loss.
You just have to muddle your way through until you find a way out the other side of it - or as someone said to me "just keep breathing until you feel alive again". And trust me you do eventually- even if it takes awhile!
What are some of the things you wish you knew before your pregnancy loss that might have helped you cope better when it happened?