Getting pregnant, being pregnant, and raising children bring out some of the highest highs and deepest lows. It is a vulnerable place to be, to watch your body struggle to get pregnant, to stay pregnant, and even to recover from being pregnant. And when things don’t go according to plan, the statistic being one in every four pregnancies won’t, it is heartbreaking.
So we’ve gathered six different stories from six different women, all who are sharing their experiences of loss in the hopes that we might connect and encourage women everywhere who might have walked, and be walking similar paths.
Tell us about you, as a mother, and what a normal day for you might look like.
I’m a married, working mom who teaches during the school year and gets to be a stay at home mom during breaks and summer time. Though I spend the majority of my day at work during the school year, I still spend as much quality time as possible with my kids every single day.
You’re a mother, how many times over?
I’ve been pregnant three times. I lost my first pregnancy to miscarriage at age nineteen. Seven years later, I now have a 2 year old little girl and a 6 month old boy.
What was the hardest part, for you, walking through a miscarriage or pregnancy loss?
The hardest part, for me, was that I seemed to be the only one affected negatively by the fact I had a miscarriage. Not that there were people in my life who wished my pregnancy would end, but being nineteen, still just dating the father (who is now my husband) and just starting my second semester of my freshman year of college, it wasn’t the traditional pregnancy. While I can understand how the timing of having a child at that time in my life would be tough. Doable, but tough. But the whole situation was very difficult because I was grieving the loss of a baby while it felt like those around me were relieved at the outcome. I know now their reaction stemmed from worry about my would-be stress and anxiety of being a financially unstable teenage mother, but at the time it was very alienating and upsetting.
What was the biggest help for you, during this time?
I tried counseling, but it really didn’t seem to help me at all. The counselor was very focused on the “letting go” aspect of grief and loss, but I had never gotten to hold what I had lost. It was such a whirlwind time; I only had a week or two to get used to the idea of my baby before I found out that I was miscarrying. While it was actually a blessing that I didn’t get very far into my pregnancy just to lose the baby, that period of time was an emotional roller-coaster for me and my family. I really needed time to think about what I would have gained before I could even fathom “letting go.” (If, indeed, that type of closure even exists; I don’t think it does. We simply learn to live with what we have lost. We never really leave these feelings and loved ones behind, no matter how briefly they were here with us.) Time has definitely helped me to cope.
Besides time, the only other thing that helped me to get through this experience was my mom. She legitimized my loss. She recognized at the time it happened I was going through the death of my child and has been the biggest support that I could have ever asked for. She shared with me her own experiences with miscarriage and pregnancy loss. She quietly gave me a mother’s day gift every year after that, even though I didn’t have a baby to show for it. She knew that, even though my child wasn’t here with me, that I still loved and missed him or her.
I can’t ever thank her enough, for that seemingly small gesture meant the world to me.
What was it like being pregnant, after suffering a loss?
It was terrifying to be pregnant after miscarrying, especially since I had miscarried at such a young age. I thought there was something wrong with me, that my body couldn’t sustain a pregnancy to full term. When I was ten, my horse had kicked me in the stomach, and I was extremely worried that I was defective because of it. Every day that I was pregnant with both of my healthy children, I was worried that something was wrong. I counted every kick, every movement, and if I felt like the baby hadn’t moved in awhile, I’d honestly poked my stomach until the kid moved. In hindsight, that was probably not a good idea, but I was very obsessive about kick counts and that sort of thing.
What is the best way you think a person can offer support to someone going through a miscarriage or pregnancy loss?
This is a tricky one. It was very difficult for my family and husband (At the time, we weren’t married and were still just dating). How do you offer support and understanding to a teenager when, while you’re sad for the life that was lost, it seems like a blessing that the whole situation has just vanished into thin air? I understand now that they were relieved because my husband and I wouldn’t have to go through the hardship of being teenage parents, but at the time, it was very difficult for me to comprehend. I felt hurt and alone.
I think the best way to support someone who has had a miscarriage or is going through one currently is to treat the situation as if there was a death in the family. Because that’s what it is to the mother. It’s as if someone has died. Because they have, even if you didn’t ever get to meet them.
If you could look another woman in the eyes who is currently walking through a miscarriage or pregnancy loss, what would you tell her?
If I could look another woman in the eyes who is currently going through a miscarriage or pregnancy loss, I would say that I’m sorry. That the hollow, lonely loss doesn’t ever really go away, but that you are not alone because the women all around you have suffered through miscarriage too. It may feel like the loneliest and most heart-breaking thing that has ever happened to you, but please know you aren’t alone.
Is there anything else about this season in your life that you would like us to know?
Miscarriage is a very silent loss. For some reason, a lot of women seem to feel like we can’t talk about our experiences with miscarriage and pregnancy loss. I’m not sure where or when this occurred, but it’s not healthy. It promotes isolation and makes women feel as if there is something wrong with them or their bodies. We need to discuss miscarriage. It’s so much more common than any of us realize. We need to be there for the moms around us and not be afraid to share our stories. We may never know what the women around us are going through, but we need to be vocal so they have the support and affirmation they so desperately need.