Miscarriage

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Miscarriage
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    Community Voices

    “I lost a baby. I was 14 when I didn’t give my first boyfriend consent….

    <p>“I lost a baby. I was 14 when I didn’t give my first boyfriend consent….</p>
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    Community Voices

    1 year later

    A year ago, I got confirmation from the doctor that I had miscarried between 4-5 weeks. She said it was a chemical pregnancy and just brushed it off. The pregnancy was a complete surprise and we had only relished in the news for a day before the bleeding started. A year later, we’ve decided to put trying for a baby on the back burner. A year later, I randomly think about the baby that would have been. I picture a boy, caramel skin tones, thick curly hair, and big brown eyes. They would look more like their dad than me. I picture him at his first Christmas or is taking him to family gatherings. I look at pictures taken a few days before the confirmation and see the sunbeams - is that him? Was he there with us? My husband and I aren’t huge on the whole after life thing but I believe there is a special places for souls of babies and animals to go. I find comfort in thinking my baby’s soul is up there, always watching over their mama. I wish I had been able to see you grow up and do amazing things, baby. You’ll be in my heart, always. #Miscarriage

    Megan Glosson

    Why Pregnancy Loss Should Be Covered Under Bereavement Leave

    When I experienced a miscarriage during my third pregnancy in early 2017, asking for time off from work didn’t even cross my mind. I knew that pregnancy loss wasn’t covered under bereavement, and I technically wasn’t sick, so it seemed ridiculous to waste one of the five sick days I received each year on something that, on the surface, wasn’t any more problematic than a heavy period. So, I pushed through the emotional pain and went to work. Although my miscarriage ultimately led to severe complications related to the mental health conditions I live with, I never really gave much thought to the connection between the lack of bereavement time and the subsequent mental health crisis I experienced later that same year until my partner recently brought it up. After a conversation with an executive at her company about trauma-informed policy, he asked her if she’d be willing to help him rewrite the company’s bereavement policy to make it “more inclusive” of unique circumstances, especially in light of COVID-19. As we discussed some of the changes she was going to recommend to the company, she asked, “I’m curious, were you allowed to use bereavement for your miscarriage a few years ago?” When I responded with “no,” she said, “Wow, I feel like that would be incredibly difficult. Losing a child is hard on parents, regardless of when and how it happens.” While some companies have started offering bereavement leave for pregnancy loss in recent years, many still do not. This means that parents have to work through their loss while continuing to “keep up appearances” at work, especially if they want to avoid the stigma and shame that often accompanies this type of loss. This also means that everyday stress continues to pile on top of the painful emotions that come with a loss of this type, which can either compound the problem or push individuals to “stuff down” their feelings until everything bursts. Looking back on the situation, I realize just how much I would have benefitted from a week of rest, relaxation, and grieving. If I had received bereavement leave for even just a few days, I would have had the space to wrap my head around the loss instead of returning to work while I remained in shock. While I would have still needed time to completely process the grief, I likely would have been better prepared to handle the emotions as they came up as I did return to work. Furthermore, having time at home to begin processing my grief would have helped me avoid many of the awkward conversations I had to deal with during work on the days immediately following the miscarriage. Since I had to use my lunch break a couple of times to confirm the miscarriage and receive follow-up care, I had to disclose the situation to my team leader and boss. Unfortunately, news spreads like wildfire in the workplace, which meant most of my coworkers soon knew about the situation. While some people simply offered a hug and a simple, “Let me know if you need anything,” others tried to dismiss my feelings or justify the loss with words like, “God has a way of taking care of these things,” or “This probably just means there was something wrong with the baby anyway.” These words were not only unhelpful, but essentially confirmed what I’d already decided in my head — the miscarriage was my fault. I think, had I received some time off to work through my loss, these words may not have impacted me the same way, or I could have avoided these awkward conversations completely. Most importantly, though, I think offering bereavement for pregnancy loss would help break down many of the stigmas our society has built around this type of loss. Because we don’t currently treat pregnancy loss the same way we treat other types of deaths, we essentially dismiss the grief many women (and their partners) experience in the aftermath of the loss. If we included pregnancy loss in the same umbrella as other types of bereavement, though, this would hopefully break down that misnomer and help parents see their emotions and justified and normal parts of the situation. This, in turn, may help them decide to seek professional help from a grief counselor or other professional, and remind them that they’re allowed to feel however they do during this difficult time. Pregnancy loss is incredibly painful, no matter when or how it happens. By allowing grieving parents the time and space to process this devastating loss with bereavement leave, I have no doubt that countless men and women would feel comforted and supported much more than they do now.

    What I Wish I Had Known About Miscarriage

    The moment I realized I was pregnant, I tried to dial my emotions down. I used the term “cautiously optimistic” because I wanted to make sure that I was not overly attached to my pregnancy in case I would become one in four people who miscarry. I only told a handful of friends and always made sure to include the sentence “We are excited, but I’m only telling people who could support me through a miscarriage right now.” Even knowing the statistics, and my increased likelihood because of my ongoing battle with PCOS and hypothyroidism, I was still excited. My husband and I talked to the little life growing inside of me every night. Every time we went grocery shopping we found ourselves in the baby aisle. We bought several onesies and hung them up in our bedroom so we could stare at them while we were falling asleep, hoping for dreams of our future child. While we celebrated my pregnancy, we also discussed safety plans for if I was to miscarry or get to our first ultrasound and find out that our little one had no heartbeat. We tried to be realistic about our chances of having a successful pregnancy with my first conception while also staying positive. So when the spotting started, I wasn’t entirely surprised. I had researched miscarriage symptoms at each week and was already aware that this spotting could be normal, but could also be a sign of something worse to come. Within six hours, my husband and I were sitting in our bed, crying, holding each other and accepting that this first pregnancy would not bring us a baby in the next seven months. As prepared as I tried to be for this journey, there were several things that I wish I had been ready to face. It is never my goal to scare another pregnant person, especially if they are suspicious that a miscarriage may be starting or is in their near future. But in case you are one of the few like me that feel better knowing as much of the truth as possible, here are some things I wish I would have expected when I stopped expecting. 1. You may not have answers right away I began spotting at noon on a Wednesday. By 8pm that night, I was passing dark red clots. I had been on the phone with my OB’s office and they had suggested an emergency ultrasound the following morning. I bled through the night, went to the doctor’s office, had the procedure done, and then was sent home to come back in the morning to discuss my “options” with my doctor. I had asked to speak to a nurse, to an ultrasound technician, and the practice manager for any word about if my pregnancy was viable, but was told that my doctor would have to look through the ultrasound photos. I had been bleeding for 48 hours, thinking the absolute worst, dreading the next bathroom trip, before my doctor said the words “miscarriage” out loud. Even then, my doctor explained that at seven weeks in the pregnancy, it can be hard to see what is happening via ultrasound and so he would like to confirm it by testing my HCG levels over the course of several days although he was fairly certain my pregnancy was ending. Further, a D&C was not off the table yet. Depending on how much tissue I passed, how long I bled, and how quickly my HCG levels declined, I might have to have a surgical procedure to empty my womb. It was a very long wait to find answers, and I took it minute by minute as best as I could. I had my first blood draw that Friday, and my second the following Monday. On Tuesday I got a call that my HCG levels were decreasing, but not enough to confirm that my miscarriage was complete. I repeated blood work again that week. 13 days after I began bleeding, I was finally testing negative and was told that I should not need a D&C. My pregnancy was over. 2. This will not feel like a period I had thought that a miscarriage at seven weeks would feel a lot like a late period. I now know better. Even if I hadn’t known I was pregnant, if I had thought this bleeding was a period I would have went to the hospital. The bleeding was severe, lasting several days and had several clots. Three days after I started bleeding I was brought to my knees in pain. I explained to my husband it felt like severe cramps, like a knife sawing back and forth in my stomach. I later learned that that was my uterus contracting, similar to someone who is giving birth after a 40 week pregnancy. My body was doing more than what it would during a menstrual cycle, it was contracting my uterus to essentially give birth to my child. Just months too early. Some people may pass the fetus all at once, and others may pass pieces at a time. I fell into the latter category, and so it did not feel like I could just grieve one time. Every trip to the bathroom was excruciating both emotionally and physically. 3. You may have to advocate for time off work on your own Not everyone will understand how devastating a miscarriage is. While my boss was very supportive, my agency’s policies and HR department did not reflect that support. I had to spend several hours on the phone facilitating conversations between my doctor’s office and my HR department to try and find out exactly what my options were for my time off. I was quickly reaching an apathetic state where I was conscious that if I did not have enough paid time off, I might lose my job along with my pregnancy, and in those few weeks I couldn’t bring myself to care. My doctor did not offer FMLA at my initial appointment, although I think he should have. Similarly, my HR director did not suggest applying for FMLA when she had heard about my miscarriage. A nurse had even told me that the office could not write me off work for a miscarriage since I can “work through it.” I was not in a place mentally to even think about my job, my hours or my pay while losing my pregnancy, and I wish someone would have reached out to me to walk me through my options. Eventually I worked out a solution with my boss to take time off, but it was not without a fight with both my agency and my doctor’s office. 4. Your next period will be different than normal The day before I started my first period since my miscarriage I couldn’t stop crying. I had several intense crying episodes that left me puffy faced and having trouble breathing. I told my husband that I felt crazy and like I could not grasp any true emotions. I was cycling through several feelings and thoughts, ups and downs, and even thoughts that led me to worry if I would act on harming myself. The next day when I noticed I was starting to spot, I realized that this might be a side effect from my cycle trying to regulate. I called my doctor’s office and was told that there can be large hormonal changes during your first cycle that can even mimic and feel like postpartum depression. I was also told to expect a heavy and more painful period and they were correct. The first day I started I was reminded of the uterus contractions I had had during my miscarriage. I spent a lot of time crying on the floor trying to stretch and relieve the pain. I also lost close to 200ml of fluid/blood in the first 48 hours. Menstrual cups have always been my preferred choice for menstruation products, and this was very helpful for noting how much fluid I was losing during this period. Losing this large amount of blood every day had me exhausted and battling mind fog no matter how much caffeine I drank or how many naps I took. Again, I had wished I had more options for taking time off work during this time. 5. Some people will say thoughtless things Like many times in life, people will say some thoughtless things in an attempt to support you. I tried to be very understanding of this. They may not know what to say, and they may be triggered about their own experiences when hearing about yours. My biggest piece of advice is to set boundaries early. I let several people know I was not OK with hearing stories of others pregnancy losses, and I also did not want to discuss how far along I was, as if that made the loss less valid. I simultaneously thanked people on their apologies while educating them on how things they said were hurtful to me. I even made a post on my social media including things to say when you’re not sure what to say. While it is not your responsibility to correct them, it is your responsibility to take care of yourself and your mental health the best you can during a time where you are likely already struggling. Preparing a statement on your boundaries when you announce your miscarriage may save you, and your loved ones, a hard conversation later. 6. Your baby and your pregnancy are still important no matter the circumstances Going back to the previous point, it felt as if a lot of people did not feel that this pregnancy was valid or that my baby’s life (of lack thereof) was something to grieve. Ultimately, I had decided that their opinion was not relevant to me, and I would grieve how I needed to. It didn’t matter to me that I was seven weeks pregnant and that there was a chance the fetus inside of me may have never had a heartbeat or had too many genetic abnormalities to survive outside of my womb. What mattered to me that I was still grieving a loss, regardless of how you may feel about spirituality. I was losing a future I had envisioned and was entirely ready for. That alone was enough suffering for me to feel justified in my grief. I made a little memento box for my pregnancy and the life that I lost. I included the pregnancy test, and a beautiful glass blueberry that represented how big they had grown. My husband and I decided on a name that honored this pregnancy and was meaningful to us, which helped us when referring to our little one without saying dismissive things like “the fetus” or “it.” I also bought a necklace to remind me of the life I carried for seven weeks and I have not taken it off since then. For me, these ways of grieving me helped remind me that while I never got to hold or see the life I had created, they were real and they would be a part of me for the rest of my life. It also didn’t matter that I could get pregnant again, although people tended to focus on the future with a hopeful outlook instead of validating my painful present. My doctor did discuss trying to conceive after our loss with me. I had learned that many people experience a rise in fertility following a miscarriage and my doctor was confident that I would be able to be pregnant again in just a few months, if I had wanted to. I take that decision cycle by cycle and discuss how I’m feeling about all options with my husband when we make those decisions. We are excited for our rainbow baby and for another pregnancy, but we can be excited for that while also grieving the loss of our first. I have learned that my grief and my hope can both live together in harmony, leaning on each other in the unlikeliest of ways. If you are experiencing a miscarriage, know you are not alone. There are many other people who have gone through this and are more than ready to support you in the ways you need. These people should be able to validate what you’re going through while also giving you some strength to pull through. There may be a support group local to your area, but there are also many virtual communities through Facebook, the Mighty, and What to Expect that I found very helpful for me. I also reached out several times to the suicide prevention lifeline to speak through some of the intense emotions I was feeling. You may have a different supportive crisis line you prefer, but in case you don’t the number to reach them is 1-800-273-8255 and is available 24/7. Thank you for reading my story, and I hope it helps with your own.

    Cat R.

    No One Should Tell You How to Grieve a Miscarriage

    Last fall marked seven years since I was told that I had miscarried my baby (with my ex-husband.) This was the the worst time of my life. At that point, I had never felt pain and loss like it. I struggled to be open up about how I was feeling as I was made to feel like my grief wasn’t justified. “It’s not a real life until it’s born.” “Are you not over it by now?” “I didn’t realize it was such a big deal.” Not being able to express my heartbreak was really toxic for me and I ended up being a nightmare around the people I loved most. The anger and pure devastation that was bubbling up inside me came out about the most menial of things. I was lashing out about anything and everything to let go of the anger and heartbreak I was feeling. To be honest, I still don’t talk about this as openly as I should. I was made to feel like I had a time limit on how long I had to grieve and “get over it.” The truth is, I don’t think I’ll ever get over it, and that’s OK! I lost the baby that I was growing inside me… I was talking about plans, names, prams, etc. I had time to get my head around being a mum (after a huge shock) and that was all ripped away from me within minutes of a scan at the hospital. At the time, I was recently in a new job and hadn’t told anyone about it. I went to a “hospital appointment” in my lunch break and then had to go back to my job and work like nothing had happened for the rest of the day with the news I had just received. I guess because of this and the fact I was faced with toxic comments from the person who was meant to support me the most, the whole grieving process was very suppressed and hidden for a long time. Even after seven years, I still ache with sadness when I think about that little life and what could have been. I don’t want to forget about that time of my life because that will always be a huge part of me. I have seen a few different mediums who have all told me that my dad is with a little boy who is my child, they have also told me the name we would have chosen if it was a boy. (I know at this point there may be some eye rolls) but … I can’t tell you how comforting it is to think of my dad up there with my baby, looking after and protecting him. This thought gives me such a feeling of peace and reassurance. I always hold onto this when the wave of sadness hits me. I don’t think anyone should be told how to feel after losing a baby. Everyone reacts and grieves differently. However you body chooses to react; just go with it — that will absolutely be the right thing for you! Just let it happen — feel the emotions, let them out and don’t let anyone dictate to you how you should feel and how long it should take for you to grieve. There is never a right or wrong way when it comes to grief. I still have hope that one day I’ll experience having a family and that I’ll be able hold my baby in my arms. This is something I’ve always dreamed of and hope will become a reality for us one day.

    Christina Aldridge

    Molar Pregnancy, Cancer and the Miscarriage That Never Ends

    I have not written a blog since my surgery; I have journaled and that has helped, but that format is very different. I tried to write blogs multiple times, my phone is filled with incomplete sentences and ideas never followed up on; but, I have not been able to write about much in this setting other than this experience. I have been absolutely unable to find any supports online, regarding this specific, rare diagnosis. I will start sharing the basics thus far, the physical stuff, the science behind what is happening, but then I will write about the cloudy areas, the gray areas and the emotional stuff nobody gets. Three months later, I finally do not need weekly blood work. Three months later, I have three more months of getting blood work monthly to ensure no cancer has grown. Three months more and then we can … hopefully … breathe again. The last three months have been one big inhale, waiting for permission to exhale. My body went through, continues to go through, the typical afterbirth process … minus a child. I have had hair loss … I am not comfortable wearing my hair up. I have gained and lost weight, I don’t recognize this body I am existing in. I have been diagnosed with postpartum depression, I have had suicidal ideations unlike anything I have experienced before. I have had postpartum anxiety, I am fearful of even more irrational things than previously. Needless to say, every day, week and month has been some new twist and turn on this roller coaster I did not pay admission for (as Michael would say, “I want to get off of Mr. bones’ wild ride”). So, scientifically, this all makes sense. This is normal, and expected and hormonally explainable. But, as a real living human, this is awful. This sucks, this is unexplainable torment I would not wish upon a single soul on this earth. I took a pregnancy test today. I doubted it would show anything, but I am fearful my hormones are increasing without my knowing. I am fearful cancer is just growing quietly and violently. I have been feeling poorly, emotionally and physically (despite multiple sclerosis (MS) symptoms) and I have not gotten a period (again, my period has always been irregular so this is not indicative of literally anything). But last night I had an overwhelming feeling of nausea and illness and fatigue out of nowhere. It felt similar to when I was pregnant. These unpredictable, unexplainable physical sensations (again MS is not helpful in determining what is the cause) are confusing and overwhelming and fear inducing. So, I took a pregnancy test since my blood work is not due for days yet. It was negative. I should not have taken that … 100% rationally I knew it would be negative, I knew…know I am nowhere near pregnant. But, emotionally, seeing that one line ripped my heart out again and sent a pit in my stomach so deep I felt I had fallen right though the floor. Why did I take a pregnancy test today? That is one example of what I feel, the continued grief and confusion, and the unending anger that unconsciously bubbles over the top when unexpected. I have noticed, more recently, an unusual amount of anger and resentment towards every day life and I feel completely and utterly drained by it. Maybe that is why I am writing this, to help me work through letting it go; or maybe to validate that I am not an absolute “crazy” woman. Either way, I recognize that my molar pregnancy was a loss. A huge loss I am still working to even wrap my head around. Therefore, my doctor was not wrong in calling this the miscarriage that continues. Each time I have a test done I am reminded of the misery. Each time I have a thought, or hear about pregnancy, or have a mood swing, I am reminded of my loss. Each time I feel diminished, invalidated or alone, I am reminded of the fear these last three months have brought to my life. Typical of my blog form, I am seeking a positive note to end this on, I am looking for the silver lining. I am not seeking to produce some one liner, some toxic positivity based mantra that serves to invalidate and clear all thoughts of suffering. In doing so, I am working to recognize that I have space for many emotions and I have room to carry every thought and feeling that arises. Good things do continue to happen to me, I do find joy throughout the moments I am experiencing. I have created a more mindful routine, journaling and yoga-ing more often. I have been a top-notch advocate for what I need professionally, personally, medically and emotionally, and I continue to practice healthy communication and understanding in my marriage and hopefully all of my relationships; especially the one I have with myself. I continue to raise a beast of a fur-baby, clean delicious fall themed meals and try new coffee recipes. And, importantly, I am working on managing and accepting the depression that comes from day to day. Today is a bad day, I know that this is OK. Tomorrow will be good, or bad, and that is OK as well. The most powerful thing that has come from this chaos is my acceptance, or my return to acceptance, of the day-to-day and the small nourishing things I can do when the day-to-day is not what I hope it to be.

    Community Voices
    Mieke

    Welp.. that's one way to end a year, I guess.

    TW// Pregnancy loss...................... As I mentioned earlier, I found out why I had been feeling so under the weather. On the 17th, I found out I was pregnant. I started lightly bleeding the night of the 22nd, went to a clinic the next day. Had weird bleeding on Christmas, then got my second test on the 28th which confirmed that I unfortunately lost the baby... It's been rough. Plus side, I haven't slept that much in years 😅 #Miscarriage #ChildLoss #Grief

    Community Voices

    The Mighty’s Top 10 Most-Read Stories of 2021: #3

    <p>The Mighty’s Top 10 Most-Read Stories of 2021: <a class="tm-topic-link ugc-topic" title="3" href="/topic/3/" data-id="5c5b96c9e31c9500ca64d8b4" data-name="3" aria-label="hashtag 3">#3</a> </p>
    Community Voices

    Suffered Loss

    Yesterday I ran into the bathroom and dropped onto the floor,
    crying out “please make it stop” as the blood began to pour;
    my stupid body had let me down once again,
    it took you away in a whirlwind of blood and pain.
    Forget the colours blue and pink and who you would’ve been,
    for all that’s left now is the colour red that cannot be unseen.
    Now I am blanketed by only grief and sorrow,
    knowing that my love wasn’t enough to keep you living through each and every ‘tomorrow’.

    #InsideTheMighty #MightyPoets #WritingThroughIt #ChildLoss #Miscarriage #Poem #Sadness #Depression

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