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Navigating the Cruel, Lonely Road of Miscarriage

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Having a miscarriage was an intensely lonely experience. The uncertainty, discomfort and ultimate emptiness was unparalleled, and I would not wish that suffering on anyone. Yet, it happens to so many women. And so few talk about it.

During the final two weeks while I was waiting for my miscarriage, I wondered what it would feel like. My doctor told me over and over again that I would bleed a lot, so much so that I would worry I was losing too much blood. She warned me it would be painful, but she prescribed nothing beyond Ibuprofen.

I craved information. I wanted to know exactly when it would happen, exactly what it would feel like, exactly how long it would take and exactly how much it would hurt. I consulted Google. I found a few personal stories but nothing that eased my mind. Nothing that told me the exact breakdown of my miscarriage. Because that was impossible. I knew that.

I wanted answers, and I felt like I had none. I wanted to pick the brains of others who experienced a miscarriage, but since people so rarely talk about it, I didn’t know who those “others” were. There must have been some women in my circles, since 15-25 percent of known pregnancies end in miscarriage. I looked for support groups and didn’t find any, although I’m not sure why, since miscarriages are so common. I wanted answers. I wanted a timeline. I wanted a manual.

The actual miscarriage happened on the same day it began — February 19, 2016, when I was supposed to be almost 11 weeks pregnant. I began bleeding at 6:15 a.m., and I passed the 6-week-old embryo at 4:00 p.m. However, it was not “over” yet. The cramping continued for another five days, and the bleeding continued for another two weeks.

That day, I spent all morning with my beautiful daughter because 20-month old children still need breakfast and playtime and diaper changes. I was alone for a portion of the morning, my husband was around for the rest, and my father was around for a bit, but there was a strange sense of the “elephant in the room” when we all knew I was mid-miscarriage but still trying to go about my day. No one really wanted to bring it up, and I wouldn’t quite have known how to explain my feelings if they had tried to talk about it.

During the afternoon, my husband took our daughter out for a few hours. We discussed whether or not he should stay, but it seemed like a better idea to have our daughter out of the house. I’m still not sure if that was the best decision. As soon as they closed the door behind them, I regretted it. The silence within the house was penetrating, and I was alone with my thoughts. I was also alone with what felt like buckets of blood and eventually I was alone with the embryo when I passed it.

Part of me wanted nothing more than to have my husband there with me, but did I really want that? There was no actual way for him to be “with” me even if he had stayed home. I felt an emptiness no companionship could complete.

And what do I get for this experience? The sheer and utter devastation that comes with believing I am growing a human life, but then “failing” to keep it alive beyond six weeks. The resentment I have toward my body for letting an ultrasound at nine weeks be the bearer of bad news, rather than my body doing what I thought it was “supposed” to do. After everything I went through, I got the memories of a miscarriage.

For anyone who has experienced a miscarriage, I am truly sorry for your loss. It is not just the loss of who you carried briefly, but it is the loss of a piece of yourself. It is the memory of your miscarriage process. It is the loss of the dreams you began forming for this new child — the dreams that will never be fulfilled.

I don’t believe this acute sense of loneliness and anger (lots of anger) will last forever. I’m sure it will come and go and become less prominent as time passes. So goes the process of grief, but I will never get this loss back and I will never forget.

Why don’t people talk about miscarriages? Is it the intensely personal nature of the experience, infused with rage and desolation? If you had a miscarriage, please let other women know more about what they may experience. Offer them reassurance that things will get better. Give them the opportunity to feel a little bit less alone while they navigate this indescribable, unjustifiable “defeat.”

If you are experiencing a miscarriage (or if you already had one) and you need someone to lend an ear, I’m here.

Editor’s note: This is based on an individual’s experience. Here are more resources on miscarriages. Please consult a doctor for medical advice.

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Originally published: April 4, 2016
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