No, not me.
A while back I asked my special writing friends if they could write a blog post that they didn’t have the nerve to write on their own blogs, to do so and I’d post on my blog anonymously. I always feel like there are posts that I just can’t write since I’m not an anonymous blogger. Those posts tend to well up and bloggers (if they are anything like me) have these posts rolling around in their noggins, driving them up the goddamn wall. I gave my special writing friends the opportunity to share. And they did. You can check those out here, here and here.
One of those special writing friends took her sweet damn time getting her post to me, but it’s well worth it. It’s about her miscarriage and her constant struggle to get pregnant. This is not my first friend to go down this road; the trying and failing, the miscarriages, the IVF’s, the anticipation and the disappointment. From the sidelines, it’s painful to watch. It kills me to see folks so hopeful and to have their hopes dashed every month.
One thing I do know is that the women I know who have all been through this come out stronger on the other side. Whether choosing to remain childless, adopt or (in one very Sex in the City Charlotte-esque fashion) a friend who was trying to celebrate the adoption of her second son with a girlfriend luncheon but was just so sick all the damn time. As I understand the story, gal pals ran to the drug store and came back with a pee stick. Yeah, after being told she would never conceive, she was preggers.
I think I know now why this post took my friend so long to write. It’s something that is still ongoing with her; it’s a constant. I want to thank her for the incredible strength in writing this. Lady, you are so brave and I’m so proud of you for keeping at it and for sharing your experience with everyone.
“The first thing I want you to know is that you had nothing to do with this. This ISN’T your fault, there was nothing you could do to prevent it, OK?”
My OB GYN said this as she squeezed my hand. I nodded, trying to keep it together as my husband and I sat in the little office, me on the exam table and him, trying to be my rock with his arm around my already convulsing shoulders.
At some point at eleven weeks, the little blob in my tummy stopped having a heartbeat. There was no physical indication, but somehow I just had this feeling that all was not right and it was confirmed at the longest OB GYN visit in my life.
After the DNC, followed by a massive breakdown on my projected due date, I still wasn’t totally ready to move on but I started to feel better about things but not without tons of insecurities that no book or website (that I can easily find) ever discusses.
So let’s discuss them now.
There are tons of books and videos and websites and even people who give you information on getting pregnant, being pregnant and enjoying the fruits of your literal labor. But until it happens to you, the reality of a miscarriage isn’t something that’s openly talked about.
On one hand I regretted and was almost embarrassed that I told people I was pregnant. Sure, I waited till about five weeks but really felt stupid for doing so after I miscarried. Really, I shouldn’t have and you shouldn’t either because on the other hand, everyone I had to then tell about the loss offered up a ton of support.
All of a sudden, I’m getting stories of people - lots of people - who have been through the same thing. “My mom miscarried several times before she had me.” “My girlfriend did too, also at 11 weeks.” “One of my friends lost her baby at six months,” just to quote a few. Two of my aunts told me they’d had miscarriages when they were younger and were a lot more sympathetic than I ever imagined they’d be.
You’ll come to learn that people you’ve known all your life have had one or more than one miscarriage, women you’ve worked with who had stillborn babies and that 99% of those women have gone on to have several healthy, happy kids! I started to believe what my OB told me - this is something beyond my control.
I’m not saying that I’m glad all those other women had to suffer the same pain (or worse) than I did but boy did it help!! It was SO comforting to know that I wasn’t an anomaly; I wasn’t doing anything wrong. A good friend put it in even more perspective for me: a miscarriage is your body’s way of making a difficult decision for you. Either terminate now when there’s something amiss, or not at all and then my husband I and would have to deal with the issues later on.
Again, not reason at all to jump for joy or whatever but it’s true. Our bodies are such amazing things and while it wouldn’t be the end of the world or necessarily anything negative to have a child with a disorder, at least it’s one less thing to worry about for now.
But once you get over that, there’s the other stuff to deal with - suddenly it felt like everybody around me was getting pregnant. Some meant well and almost have a regretful tone when telling me and I’d put on a brave front, smile and squeal with excitement with congratulations. Truth be told, inwardly I was angry and hurt. Unnecessarily so, sure but I couldn’t stop the inner voice that screamed, “That should be me! WHY isn’t that happening for me??!”
By the way, if you’re pregnant and you have friends who’ve either miscarried or who are having difficulties getting pregnant, before you say “We weren’t expecting to, it just happened!” to us, just please don’t. It doesn’t make us feel any better or help us any to know that your pregnancy was unexpected and, maybe I speak for myself here, but it frustrates me more to know it was just so damn easy for you. Yet here I am, stressing out and trying hard every month to no avail. So just tell us you’re pregnant and let the conversation flow from there.
It’s so easy to feel like the universe is against you because Everybody. Is. Knocked. Up. People who shouldn’t even have kids together are having kids because they were careless and here I am, trying everything I can to have a child and nothing is sticking. It becomes this petty competition and I found myself saying “If this couple that just got married has kids before we do I’m going to lose my shit.” My husband then has to talk me down from that ledge and remind me that a) it’s not a contest and b) no one’s doing it to spite us.
Honestly, I know they’re not and even after two years it’s still a challenge to just take things in stride and not feel like the kid who got picked last in kickball. Far as I know, while there are books and sites talking about miscarriages and online message boards (which I avoid like the plague because the people on there can be idiots) that touch on miscarriage, the information isn’t as readily available as sources for pregnancy/raising children.
Then there’s the trying hard thing. How hard is hard? Everyday? Every other day? There’s conflicting information online so my best advice is to just ask your doctor. Don’t Google it, don’t go on message boards. What worked for one person, may not work for you. Just ask your doctor and try your BEST without putting any strain on your relationship with your spouse. There are two parties involved and it’s easy to forget that - don’t ever assume your spouse is on the same page as you and TALK about it.
That said, the silver lining to all this is that it has strengthened our marriage and we both know with confidence that even if we end up never having kids, we’re 100% happy just him and me. Still, though, we’re trying and doing what we need to and giving it our all until we’ve exhausted all options.
The reason I wanted to write this post is really to just share what I went through. It helped me a lot to have other people to talk to about this (without having to go on a message board) and it’s helped me deal with the grief and stress enough to have the confidence to give it another shot. I’m keeping this anonymous because it also involves my husband and my family and while I’m an open book, they may not be.
Since our miscarriage, I’ve had friends go through the same thing and it’s heartbreaking to see them so stricken with grief but it’s part of the process. I know exactly what they’re going through, and I do not hesitate to just listen or talk to them when they need it. You’ll find someone you know who also isn’t going to hold back from lending a shoulder to cry on.
Miscarriages are going to happen. I’m not saying it’s going to happen to you but if it does, don’t be afraid to tell someone. There is nothing to be embarrassed about and while you don’t have to announce it on Twitter, odds are you’re going to have a friend who’s been through the same thing, or a friend of theirs who has who is going to be willing to talk to you.
If you can stomach it, and you don’t get into a mental rage when reading bad grammar or flat-out idiocy and you prefer anonymity, find a message board. There’s also the website Unspoken Grief that deals with miscarriages and loss that I found through Babble.com which also has some good articles on the topic. There are also books, apparently, but sometimes flipping through a book written by a doctor isn’t the same as commiserating with others who understand.
And you know what? If you decide it’s not for you, don’t let anyone pressure you into having kids again or trying. It’s your life.
If you’re reading this and you’ve had a miscarriage and are trying again, I wish you the best of luck and I hope it’s helped a little to know that you’re not alone. And if I had to leave you with one thing that I hope sticks, it’s this: barring alcohol abuse, drugs or smoking, it wasn’t and never will be your fault.