A few weeks ago, I had a miscarriage. I was 7 weeks pregnant so it was early days – but enough to start being excited and expectant about new life . We’d just got round to choosing the baby’s nickname – Zephy.
It was quite unsettling and we weren’t really sure how to react. So I thought I’d share some of what we felt here because I want to be honest about what we went though, and also to promote awareness that miscarriage does happen to a lot of people.
For starters, I really liked the nickname Zephy. Does it now become redundant or can we use it for the next pregnancy? I guess that really depends on how we view the miscarriage. Was it actually a baby or does the fact that I miscarried mean that actually the cells never formed into a baby?
People kept offering consolatory remarks like – The baby went straight to heaven. You can look forward to meeting it there. Whilst the comments were nice sentiments, I’m not sure they were either true or helpful. I think the helpful bit depends on whether the statement is true. But is it? Again, was it actually a baby? If it was then I agree with the idea that it probably went to heaven. But if it wasn’t a baby then surely it cant have? How do I know? Am I obsessing about something that I should just not think about?
This whole, “what actually was it?” question probably dominated most of my thinking as it brings up all sorts of other questions. For example: if it was a baby then should I be grieving? Is it like losing an actual live person? If it wasn’t a baby then should I be grieving? Why would I be upset when it was just a collection of cells?
I think the main cause of sadness/disappointment is the loss of potential life. And the fact that we’d been trying for ages (well 6months) so there was a relief in finally being pregnant that was lost. What if it takes another 6months or more to get pregnant again? There was already going to be a 20month age gap when we’d wanted them close together. Now there’ll be even more. Am I just sounding stupid for worrying about something like that? Do I trust that God works all things for the good of those who love him? Or would I rather everything happened on my terms (yes, probably, is the honest answer)
Apparently around 25% of pregnancy’s end in miscarriage. But it’s not really something anyone ever talks about. As a result I think we didn’t expect it to happen to us. Maybe that’s because the way we view life is based more on our experiences and the experiences of our friends, rather than on the facts and figures we get given.
Advice generally given is to not tell people you’re pregnant until after 12 weeks because of the high risk of losing the baby. With our son, we told family as soon as we knew (about 5-6weeks), and we told some friends as we saw them or by phone if they were very good friends! We didn’t tell everyone (facebook!) until I was past the magic 12 weeks. In that instance – it made no difference anyway because everything was fine.
With this pregnancy we’d told family and a few friends – similar to last time. Telling them I’d miscarried was difficult, but not any more difficult than coping with the event itself. Would I tell them this early next time? I think so. I think that I’d still want people to get excited with. And I’d definitely still want the support of family and friends if we went through a miscarriage again. In fact, I’ve told more people that I had a miscarriage than I told about the pregnancy in the first place.
So what did I feel? I think mostly I felt confused. I guess some of the emotions were:
- sadness – because it does feel like a loss
- disappointment – that there’ll be a much bigger gap between our kids than we might have wanted
- relief – that I miscarried so early and painlessly rather than at 10, 12, or even 30 weeks
- thankfulness – it made me appreciate how straightforward my first pregnancy was
- Worry – that I’ll miscarry again, or wont get pregnant
Four weeks on and I still haven’t found any answers to the questions that came up. But I think that’s ok. I think it’s ok to doubt, and to ask the hard questions and not get answers. But maybe I’ll promote some discussion and maybe I’ll allow people a chance to talk about an issue that’s often hidden because it’s seen as personal or taboo. It is personal, but I think we’d have found it easier to deal with if it was something that was more openly discussed.