After a healthy pregnancy, experiencing a miscarriage can be a devastating and isolating experience. In this personal account, the author finds solace in a support group.
The news that I had had a miscarriage after already having three children came as a surprise, and it was difficult for me to move on after that. I was able to find comfort in attending a support group.
I started to feel hopeful when the second and third pink lines appeared on the fourth (and maybe last) pregnancy test I took. I was also apprehensive about what life would be like with four small children, as well as the upcoming weeks of feeling sick and completely exhausted, with toddlers crawling all over me and pleading with me to help them build Batmobiles.
I duly scheduled my first prenatal appointment and estimated my due date online, but I couldn’t help but feel frustrated when I realized that it would coincide with both an out-of-town family reunion as well as the busiest month at my place of employment. But there is one idea that I have never once entertained: the possibility that we will never reach that date.
Eleven weeks later, the scan revealed that there was no heartbeat being produced by the baby. I was utterly unprepared for what was to come, especially given that I had no symptoms that were cause for concern and didn’t believe I’d suffer a miscarriage after having three successful deliveries of children in the past. Even though I had three infants in a row who were all perfectly healthy, my doctor gently held my arm and explained that each pregnancy carried the same risk of miscarriage as a “normal” pregnancy in people 35 or younger.
Nevertheless, I also felt guilty about my previously indifferent attitudes toward the pregnancy, that I hadn’t treasured every minute and appreciated the ride. This made me feel as though I had missed out on something. But most importantly, I had no idea that the following few weeks of my life would be filled with so much mourning and sadness. I had difficulty being a parent to my children, and I did not receive help when I needed it the most.
I Felt at Home in a Community Through Attending Support Groups
I was compelled to speak with other ladies who had gone through the same thing as me while I processed the miscarriage and did as everyone advised, which was “taking time to grieve.” During the difficult time that I was going through a miscarriage, I found solace in the fact that I could participate in an online support group while remaining anonymous. I was able to locate a community of folks who were also suffering from grief after having children already. It turned out that I wasn’t the only one experiencing any of these emotions.
Even if they needed time to relax on the couch, the posters commiserated with one another about their feelings of mom guilt because their children still expected them to get up and parent them. Hugging the children I already had brought me a great deal of solace, but it was challenging to raise my rowdy toddlers in the haze of postpartum living when I didn’t have a newborn to care for. My hormones went berserk, I gained weight although I was no longer nursing, and my other children frequently questioned me about the passing of my kid.
Lindsey Henke, a maternal mental health psychologist who specializes in infertility, perinatal loss, and pregnancy, says that following a miscarriage, other children can be both a blessing and a burden. “My clients who go through this also describe having trouble juggling the needs of their other children who are still alive with finding time to grieve the baby they lost.”
These mothers frequently find that many of their loved ones lack empathy for their loss because they already have other children in their lives. According to Henke, people frequently minimize her loss by saying rude and inappropriate things to her, such as “You already have three beautiful children” or “It wasn’t meant to be.” When friends and family do this to a lady, they invalidate her grief over the death of the child she had planned to add to her family.
According to Henke, it is critical for loved ones to be present and to provide an attentive ear at difficult times. “All you have to do is say, ‘I’m sorry you are hurting right now,’ and ‘This seems incredibly difficult,'” the man instructed. Most of her customers have expressed that they would prefer it if their loved ones and friends would genuinely say something that acknowledged their loss, rather than saying nothing. “However, make an effort to keep in mind that clichés and the phrase ‘at least’ have never been of assistance to anyone,” Henke explains.
Positive Expectations for the Future
After I had finished crying my eyes out, I found that going to therapy, keeping a blog, and treating myself to costly lattes were the things that really helped me get through this difficult time. Statistics was another source of solace for me. The statistic that only about one percent of expecting parents experience recurrent miscarriages was widely shared within my online group by several members (two or more miscarriages in a row).
At the Mayo Clinic, a reproductive endocrinologist and IVF Director Samir Babayev, M.D., reassures patients who have experienced a single miscarriage that it is most likely an isolated incident and that there is only a marginally increased risk of experiencing another miscarriage with each previous pregnancy loss. However, Dr. Babavev is aware of the painful emotions that may be brought on by the news of the loss, particularly for individuals who are already parents.
According to Dr. Babayev, “Miscarriages can be very, very upsetting, and they are even more upsetting when the woman is sure she is fertile and can have a healthy child.” But he says that many of the people he sees who have had a lot of healthy live births are now a little older and trying to get pregnant again. This is an essential consideration, given that the risk of having a miscarriage increases with increasing age.
Since I now have a better grasp of the numbers and realize that my miscarriage was not something I could have avoided had I worked harder, I eagerly await the next time I will see those two pink lines. I really hope that rather than viewing my morning sickness as an annoyance, I will be able to appreciate it as a sign that new life is developing inside of me. I want to look at the fact that I’m exhausted as confirmation that my pregnancy is going well.
I want to make sure that I see every second of my pregnancy as a precious gift, a day in which nothing goes wrong, and there is still room for optimism. A different pregnancy, a different baby, a different story with a different ending is something that I intend to employ as a mantra. It is something that Henke tells her patients.
Meaningful articles you might like: Pfizer COVID-19 Vaccine Facts and Pediatrics Updates, How to Discuss Miscarriage with Children, Does Covid-19 Pose a Threat of Inducing a Miscarriage?