- Family and Parenting
Coping with miscarriage
Losing a baby through miscarriage is a very private pain. Unless someone has experienced it firsthand it is unlikely that they will understand. This is part of the trauma of the whole experience; nobody seems to understand or appreciate your pain and loss. Hopefully, you will find some information or just expressions on this page that will offer some understanding, comfort, and even advice to those who have lost a baby or those who love someone who has.
Sharing from my heart
It is hard to sit at a computer screen over 14 years later and talk to you about the very personal experience of losing two babies. There was a time that I could not talk or even think of anything else, but now it's hard to pull specifics out of my deepest subconscious where they are buried. These feelings are never too far away, but they are quiet now. That should be comforting to those of you who think that you will never feel normal again. You will; I promise.
You notice there are a lot of cherubs on this page. During the loss of my babies, I was oddly affected by cherubs. The first baby I lost was right before Christmas, and I had a lot of cherubs sitting around. Oddly, I kept receiving them from my mother who didn't seem to understand that they upset me. Every time I would look at one, it was like glancing inside heaven and seeing my baby.
Now, many years later, that tender, almost-supernatural feeling that the cherubs gave me then is comforting to me. Time does heal.
Was this my fault?
The most-asked question after miscarriage
After the loss of a baby by miscarriage, the very first question that a grieving mother asks is what she did to cause this event. She runs over every move in the recent and not-so-recent past that might have impacted her precious unborn baby in this way. Parents Magazine addresses this issue on their site in an article entitled, "What does --and Doesn't --Cause Miscarriage." They state that:
"The vast majority of miscarriages occur because of chance chromosomal or genetic abnormalities in the unborn baby or, less commonly, hormonal imbalances or problems with the uterus or placenta, says Dr. Schaffir -- nothing that a mom-to-be has control over."
It is still one of the most heart-wrenching, soul-searching times as a grieving mother questions whether she could have prevented the loss of her baby.
National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day
October 15th has been officially designated by the United States Government as National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. Beginning with a Proclamation by President Reagan in 1988, the government has continued to support the day through various official acts.
Sharing My Loss With You
Part 1: Late-term Miscarriage
My husband and I had two children: a boy going into 8th grade and a daughter headed into 2nd grade. We knew that another pregnancy would be risky for me, and we had finally seemed to make the passage out of that "baby" stage of our lives.
Then, I found out I was pregnant in late summer of 1996. We were thrilled, although it was frankly scary. Having had a doctor tell me how high-risk my last pregnancy was due to preeclampsia problems, worry was never far from my mind. And, my age was a factor. I had always heard how a pregnancy in your late thirties had a higher risk of a special-needs child. We were thrilled, but I was scared.
We quickly began to get back in the mindset of a pregnancy, which always was the happiest time of my life. At five months, it ended. The baby had died two weeks earlier. I was at the hospital in the emergency room having an ultra-sound, and my poor husband had just stepped out for a much-needed quick snack. They came in and abruptly told me the baby was dead. Then, they left the room. I was alone with the terrifying, heart-breaking news.
I literally grieved for months. That winter was a difficult one for my husband and myself, and he would deal with it by reupholstering furniture. I remember many nights hearing him stapling cloth around a chair well after midnight on a work night just trying to deal with the loss. Oddly, knowing he was grieving, too, helped me not feel so alone.
Sharing my loss with you
Part 2: The Still-birth Son
The news that I was pregnant again was not good news this time. We had been told that I could not carry a baby due to the really serious fibroid tumors that I had. This knowledge on top of what we already knew from my daughter's birth about my high-risk status painted a dismal picture.
After an examination, this doctor informed us that this baby had a 50% chance of survival! There was no way we could terminate the pregnancy. So, we cautiously got our minds wrapped around a baby, yet again.
I had an appointment at the 5th month, the month the other baby died, and all systems were go! We were told we were basically out of the woods. The next day, the baby died.
I was scheduled for a still-born birth. They assured me that this new little red pill would take care of everything. I labored with the assistance of an opium pump, which was wonderful. The baby was a boy, and he was brought to me to see. He looked just like my older son.
A very good book
Dr. J. Vernon McGhee lost a precious toddler. He has a very good handle on the loss of a child, including by miscarriage or stillbirth.
Miscarriage library: Helpful books
Here are some books that might offer some helpful insights.
A Healing Baby Shower
The only baby shower I have ever attended since
I don't go to baby showers. I can't...I finally can shop or knit for a baby without literally falling apart with grief. I did attend one baby shower just a few months after I delivered my still-born son at five months. A family that had also experienced loss after trying for a long time to have their first baby ..finally had a healthy baby boy being born!
I was so excited for them; they were so thrilled. I had known the heartache they experienced with their loss, so I felt the joy they now felt along with them! I not only attended the baby shower, I celebrated and laughed and experienced real happiness seeing them triumph over their sorrow and start a new journey with a precious little boy. This was a turning point for me in my healing as I focused on this young couple's happiness. I have NEVER been to a baby shower since, and I probably will not until it is my own grandchild being born.
My book about my experiences
The Most Important Thing
You will survive this loss, but it will take some time. Don't expect too much of yourself, but you also should not expect too much of others. People will not generally be very supportive because they just do not understand where you are. If you accept this, it is easier. You may find yourself preferring your own company for a season. Just do not expect people to understand, but seek out people who have experienced the loss of a baby. There you will find your support.
Poll about Loss of a Baby
Often during the grief and loss, people who do not understand pressure you to "get over it," or to "be yourself again." You sometimes are not afforded the sympathy or time to heal that is lovingly given in other situations of loss. Did you find this to be true?
Did your friends and family pressure you to
Craft your way to peace
It helped me a lot
After the loss of my babies, I found a great deal of solace in sewing. I would sew, listen to the radio or watch television, and spend hours in a peaceful state. There were no questions, no explanations, and no babies around to upset me. It was a wonderful escape. My creative thoughts would fill my mind, inching out the sad thoughts for a while.
What makes you happy: painting, drawing, or knitting? Maybe you just enjoy coloring in really cute coloring book! Psychiatrists often suggest that patients color to relax. Find something colorful and fun that you enjoy, and throw yourself into it.