*Updated 10/7/2020 – I wrote a follow up to this post about how to take care of yourself following a miscarriage. You can read about it here What to Expect After a Miscarriage and What to Do to Help Yourself.
Okay, so it has been a while since I’ve done a blog post (almost 3 months!). I’ve started some, which I will eventually finish, but there are some things on my heart that I feel I need to talk about before I can move on to other posts. I’ve been ruminating on these things and I have come to the conclusion that I need to share them. Maybe others will benefit from, or find solace in, my experience and gain wisdom from my words. So, here it goes!
I already have a beautiful family
I have a beautiful, healthy family. A wonderful husband and 3 great kids. So why should I want more? Why should it be okay for me to change my mind from being 99.9% sure I don’t want another baby to being pretty dang sure I want another baby? I have felt guilt, a lot of guilt, over this. There are people who didn’t agree with us having a third baby, let alone having a fourth! Then there are people who would give almost anything to have just one baby! Why should I be allowed to have another wonderful baby to love and stress over?
My husband and I discussed this for many months. Our ages are a factor in our consideration. I am currently 37 and my husband is 48. How old do we really want to be when our kids graduate high school?! There are concerns with me being of “advanced maternal age” (just a scientific way of saying I’m old), and the fact that I have had gestational diabetes with all three of my babies. And then there are the increased risks for the baby and myself just because of my age. We have a 3 bedroom house. Can we manage four kids in our house? More so, can we afford four kids on our farming income and my coaching income? After all of this and more, we finally decided that yes, we do in fact want to try for another baby.
So we started trying. When I finally became pregnant (it took a while), we felt like we needed to tell people that this was an oops, because who in their right mind would want four kids in this day and age? We also wanted to reduce the amount of judgmental comments that we knew would come from some people (they don’t mean to be hurtful just helpful, but it still hurts and really isn’t helpful). The hardest thing is that we never got the chance to announce our pregnancy.
Having a miscarriage is hard!
On Sunday, April 12th, at 7 weeks, I started miscarrying our baby. Just five days after my 37th birthday. It wrecked me. I took a couple of days off from babysitting but still felt I had to keep up the charade of being a happy mom. I still posted to social media, still kept up my weekly emails, still smiled and said I was fine when someone asked. My husband was the only one that truly experienced my heartbreak and destitution. He is amazing, just in case I haven’t mentioned it before. He supported me, cried with me, helped me. My oldest, who is five years old, knew something wasn’t quite right, especially after I cried over spilled pop, but I still tried hard to be okay around my kids. I didn’t even tell my mom, who I am very close with.
I didn’t feel like I could. I didn’t feel like I had the right to be this heartbroken when I have three amazing kids already. I felt like I should just be happy that I have three healthy, amazing kids and that I shouldn’t have wanted more. I wondered if this was God’s way of telling me I shouldn’t have any more kids. I prayed a lot. Asking God to let my baby know how much I love it and that I wished so badly I could have been able to raise it. I also thanked God that our first baby, which ended in a miscarriage at 11 weeks, has a sibling in heaven now. They have each other.
There is nothing that can prepare you for this kind of loss. You convince yourself of all sorts of things. You likely blame yourself. You wonder if there is something wrong with you. Then you are told things that are meant to be helpful but are actually pretty hurtful, like “At least you weren’t further along,” or “It wasn’t meant to be.” Time does help, but you will always have a piece of your heart in heaven instead of on earth with you. Other unhelpful things people say here.
Just because miscarriage is common, doesn't make it easier
And maybe the biggest thing is that miscarriage is actually a lot more common than we realize. In this Tommys.org article, it is estimated that miscarriage happens in around 1 in 4 recognized pregnancies, with 85% of those happening in the first trimester. All this means is that more women know this pain and loss, not that it is easier for any of us.
Why don't we talk about it more?
There are a lot of reasons women don’t talk about their miscarriage. One, it is extremely painful. It hurts and is usually very emotional for us to talk about. Some of us prefer to keep it to ourselves and those closest to us. Some of us are afraid of the judgement and ridicule we will receive, whether it be to our face or behind closed doors. Some of us find solace in talking about our experience. Some of us want the world to know our baby existed, if only for a short time in our womb, our baby existed. Whatever your journey and preference, it is YOUR choice how you process it. If you are experiencing symptoms of depression, I strongly encourage you to speak to your medical provider. They are there to help you and together you two will decide what the best avenue of action is for you.
I have talked about this miscarriage in my weekly email, Redefining Wonder Woman, and in a social media post, but those are all brief glimpses into what was really happening. Being able to write this to you, in all of its ugliness, emotion, and explanation feels right to me. I feel like I am able to acknowledge my baby and its very short life and hopefully help you in your grieving process or, if you haven’t experienced a miscarriage, have a better understanding of what someone you love may be going through.
It's okay to not be okay after experiencing a miscarriage
I want you to know it is okay to not be okay. You don’t need anyone’s permission to grieve your baby. You are valid in feeling the loss your baby has left on your heart. And however you are able to best process your loss is truly up to you (unless you are coping with drugs and/or alcohol – then please contact your healthcare provider to help you find healthier ways to cope and process your loss or contact the National Helpline here or call 1-800-662-HELP(4357)). Here are some helpful articles I found while coping with my grief.
Where do I go from here?
It will be up to you what you decide to do. After our first miscarriage, we knew we wanted to try again. As for whether or not we will try for another baby after this loss, I just don’t know. I do know that I still have that feeling in my heart that our family isn’t quite complete, but I also don’t want to experience this for a third time. One is too much. My husband doesn’t want to see me go through that again. It is hard on him in its own way. Watching your wife suffer and know there is nothing you can do to take it away is an impossible feeling for him, especially when he is the light of my life. Time will tell, and then we will make our final decision.
If you have experienced a miscarriage, please know you aren’t alone. If you need someone to talk to about it, send me an email here. I am a safe, judgement free zone.
I wrote a follow up to this post about how to take care of yourself following a miscarriage. You can read about it here What to Expect After a Miscarriage and What to Do to Help Yourself.
Well, we decided to try again. We did get pregnant but then started miscarrying on September 9th. I was 8 weeks.
It is hard to describe what having back to back miscarriages is like. You feel everything. You still mourn your baby, but you are, at the same time, slightly numb to it too.
I am sure I will eventually do a post about this too, but for the meantime I leave you with this:
For My Little One
By Mary Cathleen
I never saw your twinkling eyes
Or touched your precious feet.
I never shared a tiny yawn
Or rocked you fast asleep.
I never kissed your tiny hands
Or saw your little smile.
I never held you in my arms
But I held you for a while.
Although I never saw your face
Or heard your precious laughter,
You’re still my child whom I love
And will forever after.