Miscarriage: It happens all the time but hardly gets mentioned. Up tp 20% of known pregnancies end in miscarriage before 20 weeks gestation. The average friend or family member doesn't necessarily respond in a helpful or supportive way. It is often dismissed as a small incident that is easy to move past, especially once there is a successful subsequent pregnancy and the family welcomes a child. And yet, the real pain and suffering of having lost a pregnancy can stick with a family for years.
Many women find it hard to have an honest and vulnerable conversation about miscarriage because the way the heart feels about it sometimes doesn't match up with what the brain thinks about it. How can I have such big, unruly feelings about such a tiny little thing that existed for such a short amount of time? The truth is there is no right or wrong way to feel about it. Grief is not something we can put into a tidy box. That doesn't mean we don't try. If only it were neat, tidy, and contained, with a timeline. But grief is wild, fluid, and ever-changing. It is uncontainable, untranslatable, unpredictable.
We know it's likely that, if they knew, someone would say something well-meaning yet painful, like, "Well, there's always next time," or "You have two beautiful children so you have lots to be grateful for," or "It wasn't meant to be," or "You shouldn't get too attached in the early days, these things happen." Maybe we even say these things to ourselves, even though we would never say them to a friend. So we don't share our pain. We move on. We downplay and dismiss.
Please know that your pain and loss are valid. It's not a little thing. It's a big thing with big hopes and dreams attached to it. We are sorry you lost something precious, and we don't think your feelings about it--whatever they are-- are silly.
Because of the high rates of miscarriage in general, most people having a baby have experienced miscarriage in the past, or will experience it in the future. As postpartum doulas, we see many parents who are joyful about their new baby, yet still grieving a pregnancy or baby they lost previously. It all comes together, and it is messy. We can be a part of the net that holds you and all the messy feelings about life and death, joy and grief, together. We can also help you find professional resources for counseling and therapy that can be very effective in processing grief and trauma related to pregnancy and infant loss.
Here are some helpful links:
13 Things You Should Know About Grief After Miscarriage or Baby Loss
Empty Arms: Hope and Support For Those Who Have Suffered a Miscarriage, Stillbirth, or Tubal Pregnancy
Please contact us if you are looking for local resources for professional counseling support.