1 in 4 pregnancies ends in a Miscarriage...
October is Infant and Pregnancy Loss Awareness Month, and as it comes to an end I would like to share my story for the woman who needs to hear that what happened isn’t her fault. That she’s not alone and to validate that this experience is a hard one no matter how common it is.
I had a miscarriage back in December 2019. Miscarriages are confusing. I was told my baby was not viable the day before thanksgiving 2019 … but I would say I didn’t lose him/her until 1-2 weeks later. Miscarriages take time physically, but no one really talks about that part.
My husband and I newly wedded, our wedding was in October a month and a half before my miscarriage. We joked with our friends and family that we were ready to come back from our honeymoon pregnant. We were only half-joking, we really wanted a baby. I remember the morning I found out I was pregnant. I was shocked and then I cried tears of joy at how perfect everything was turning out, we actually got pregnant the week after our honeymoon. What a perfect story for my future baby to hear how much we wanted them and how ready and eager we were. Two weeks later I convinced my OBGYN to see me early because of an upcoming insurance change, I was 6 weeks and 3 days pregnant.
My OBGYN was not available the day I went in so I saw the Nurse Practitioner (NP) instead. My NP looked at the ultrasound screen and looked anxious. I didn’t say anything for a few seconds, she then called a technician who was “better at ultrasounds”. The technician came in, pointed at the screen, and said, “there’s the yolk sac” and also looked nervous. And then it’s a blur after that… they told me if I started to bleed to go to the ER and that the Dr would call me. In retrospect, it’s so easy to know what was happening. But at the moment, I held onto hope. The Doctor didn’t call that day. I had a full day of clients the next day while I waited for my Doctor’s office to call and confirm whatever they had or hadn’t seen. I called their office whenever I had a few minutes to make sure they didn’t forget about me. The Doctor finally returned my calls at 4:50 pm and said “I’m sorry my dear this pregnancy just doesn’t look viable. Have a happy Thanksgiving” I can’t believe I said thank you and then proceeded to see my last client. I wish I had at the very least educated him on proper bedside manner. I went to my last session; I remember that session was fun with a young kiddo that enjoyed a lot of sensory play. He made it easy to mask my pain. After my session, I got in my car and cried like I’ve never cried before, the whole way home. I had to tell my husband that our baby was not “viable”. I was devastated. We cried together.
And this next part is the part I want to focus on, my immediate reaction was shame. I wanted to take this experience to the grave and not let anyone know that I wasn’t able to sustain the life I so badly wanted in my womb. I obsessed about every workout, every beverage, and every thought I had during the 6 weeks I was pregnant. I read every story about miscarriages I could find. I read about how most miscarriages are due to chromosomal abnormalities. Nothing helped, I just wanted to sleep to not feel.
My husband and I had planned to announce our pregnancy at Thanksgiving Dinner the next day which we happened to be hosting. Talk about a disaster. I wish I could say, I took the time to take care of myself and canceled everything while I grieved. I did not. I hosted Thanksgiving. I definitely looked sad but everyone just assumed I was tired because I had never cooked that much at once. Haha, how I wish that was my issue that night. I breathed a sigh of relief when everyone left and the next few weeks are a blur again.
I cried a lot, we told our immediate family what happened eventually. They cried with us. And I laid around a lot, I missed work. I cried and I asked the universe a lot during this time. I asked what I did wrong and why this had to happen to us. I grieved. I experienced my baby leave my body and I cried every time I peed and saw blood. I passed tissue and broke down every time. I went for blood testing about five times to ensure that the pregnancy hormone (HCG) was decreasing. The woman who drew my blood shared her miscarriage story with me, and I appreciated it so much. I told my closest friends what happened because it was hard to explain why I was so sad without being honest. They all cried with me and said, “it happens a lot” or “I’m so sorry, I had one too”. Never in my life did I imagine so many women that I love to have had experienced the same thing.
Christmas and New Year came quickly and while it was mine and my husband’s first set of holidays as a married couple there was grief and a weight that I wanted to run away from. I wanted to give us a second chance at the beginning of our marriage. The truth is life is beautiful because it’s so unpredictable. The good times and bad times are interweaved in such a complex way; I’d say that longing and grief really help you appreciate the joyous moments even more. Maybe that’s what I tell myself to endure the hard moments.
This is one of the deepest pains I have felt and also has taught me so much about how to support other women. Fertility and pregnancy are hard, there is so much tied into it. The words we use are powerful. I no longer ask my friends when they want to have a baby, if they are pregnant, or make comments about fertility in general. There have been so many instances that have made me break down after my miscarriage, simple questions about my future babies. Concerned family members that have asked, “so when will you have a baby?” would initially send me into a spiral, questioning if it would happen for me. Trying to conceive is hard. Having a miscarriage is hard. Infertility is hard.
One in 4 pregnancies ends in miscarriage and yet, if you are the 1 in 4 it’s heartbreaking. Allow yourself the space to grieve. I promise it will get better with time but yes it will send you to some dark places before it gets better. Reach out for help from therapists, support groups, podcasts, blogs, FB groups, follow the hashtag #ihadamiscarriage… the truth is we are a multitude of women that have gone through pregnancy loss.
Resources if you are going through a pregnancy loss:
Podcast: Life After Miscarriage, Managing Miscarriage
Facebook Groups: Pregnancy After Loss Support Group, Trying to Conceive Support Group
IG Hashtag: #ihadamiscarriage
Peace and Womb Love <3
I’m a bilingual/bicultural Latina clinical psychologist. Some of my specialties & passions include maternal health, infant mental health, family therapy, & developmental disorders.