Unexpected Hurts After a Miscarriage

 

 

When you lose a baby, there are things that you expect to hurt– and they do. These might include:

  • pregnancy announcements from others
  • seeing pregnant bellies out and about
  • your due date coming and going
  • insensitive remarks
  • having your regular cycle return
  • seeing/hearing newborn babies
  • … and more

 

These events can be truly devastating and difficult to manage. The only “upside”, if you will, is that they’re sort of expected. This isn’t to take away from the pain or to say that you can always predict when, say, a pregnancy announcement will come, but you can be fairly certain that these things will indeed happen at some point and those of us who have been there certainly understand why it hurts.

 

What you might not be prepared for, however, are some truly unexpected hurts that may well come up after a miscarriage. These are things that you may never, ever have seen coming, but that can cut you off at the knees when they strike. Here are just a few of the ones I’ve experienced:

 

Unexpected Hurts After a Miscarriage

 

Formula Mailings

 

All you have to do is have that ONE appointment with the obstetrician where they confirm that, yes, indeed, you’re pregnant, and you might find yourself on a formula mailing list. Most women don’t think to ask to be excluded from such things, even if planning to nurse, and, so, the formula marketing people start sending you stuff.

 

During a healthy, full-term pregnancy, this is mostly just annoying– you can always donate the stuff, after all. Following a miscarriage, however, it is crushing to find these pictures of beautiful newborns and sample cans in the mailbox. The first time I encountered this, I wept for an entire afternoon. I’m not kidding.

 

So, for the next few months, I let someone else check the mail– namely, my husband. If he found formula? He just removed it and donated it without my having to be involved. Don’t be afraid to ask for help with this– you’re not crazy. It truly hurts.

 

 

Being Kept Out of the Loop

 

This may or may not be the case with you, but I find that one of the things that makes me continually angry is that I both lost a baby and got kicked out of the loop. People who used to keep me of the “short list” of those they shared early pregnancy news with now rush to let me know in the eleventh hour because, “Oh, crud, I don’t want JessieLeigh to find out at this party” or “shoot, I should probably email her before I announce this on Facebook.”

 

Now, don’t get me wrong– the heads up is nice and I appreciate the gentleness of spirit that that requires. HOWEVER, it positively breaks my heart that, somehow, dear friends now assume that I am too fragile to share their joy and, as a result, flat leave me out. It’s one of the things that I truly struggle with and it’s very hard to communicate to people.

 

For some people, it might be better not to have to hear the early news. For me, it just feels like another way I’m losing. And it makes me super, super sad.

 

 

Places You Last Visited While Pregnant

 

On a Thursday in February of 2012, I went to the dentist. Quietly, I whispered the news of my pregnancy so they wouldn’t try to X-ray me. My mom was in the waiting room and we hadn’t broken the news to family yet. I was flushed with excitement and they were all giddily and quietly congratulating me on what would be my fourth baby. I made my next appointment and laughed to think about how big and pregnant I’d be for that one!

 

The very next day, we learned the heartbeat was slowing.

 

Six months later, I went back in for my cleaning. It was one of the hardest things I had to do. I most certainly was NOT big and pregnant and I was a weepy mess about it.

 

You don’t always think about those sorts of things. You don’t consider the places you visit infrequently like that– how your entire world can change between visits. It can be super hard to go back. It takes a lot of spine to walk back in and a lot of honesty to be real about your feelings.

 

 

Other People’s Feelings

 

Here’s the thing– how you respond to the loss of your baby is highly personal. Some people need to grieve privately. Some people need to more formally grieve and then, in their own way, move on. Others need to talk. We are all individuals and we all mourn in different ways.

 

I would love to talk more about the baby I lost. Truly. I have so many feelings and thoughts and memories swirling inside of me and I yearn, so very much, to get them out.

 

People will tell you that should you do what you need to do to heal. And they’re right. I would give you the same advice. However, the problem with that is that you can’t predict how others will feel and react. I’ve found that, every time I try to mention the baby I lost, I get an awkward response from family and most friends. People really aren’t that receptive to hearing about it. Yes, they were super supportive and loving following the immediate loss, but, now that two years have passed? No one wants me to mention it. It makes OTHERS uncomfortable and, because of that, I feel silenced.

 

I’m not saying you should hold in your feelings for the sake of others– but you might find yourself in a similar situation. It’s hard. Because, to be honest, it hurts a lot to try to share something very personal and have the other party shut you out a bit. But it sometimes happens.

 

~~~~~~~~~

There are no trite answers to give when it comes to baby loss– there’s nothing that will make it easy or make it okay or make it go away. Pain and hurt rear their ugly little heads many, many times– some expected, yes, but, as I shared here, some very unexpected too. It is so important that we acknowledge this.

 

If you, too, have experienced loss, you may have had your own “unexpected” times when you found yourself hurt and devastating. If you feel led, please feel free to share those experiences here; sometimes it helps a lot just to know we’re not alone.

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26 comments to Unexpected Hurts After a Miscarriage

  • I’ve never had a miscarriage that I know of. But I love you, sweet JL, and I think about your angel baby often. I hope when I told you my pregnancy news before we told the public I was being sensitive and not hurting you more.

    • You told me early– probably earlier than you would have had I not lost a baby! And that was thoughtful and kind. My best friend also had a not-planned (but definitely not unwanted!) third pregnancy not that long after my loss and she just bubbled right over with the news– that was fine, too. There’s still that pang you get, just because you’re sad personally, but that’s to be expected. What I’m talking about here are situations where I used to be one of the first ones told and now I feel like people dread “breaking the news” to me. And that just crushes me. :( It makes me feel like I must seem like a thoughtless jerk they can’t trust to be happy for them.

  • tammy l

    I had almost the same dentist experience. ..just minus my mom with. I remember having to explain that I was no longer pregnant since it was already in my chart (even though it was pretty obvious) it was awful to just sit there and go back to the last time I was there and remember the excitement, hopes and dreams in anticipation of a new life in our family. It is amazing how all that can be taken away in one moment. Thank you for sharing your experience – it is something that is always with us

    • You are so right, Tammy– it is something that is always with us. Even on the good days (and, of course, there are plenty of those, too), the hurt is still there. It’s always amazing to me how quickly it can come to the surface when some of these things happen. Thanks so much for sharing your experience, too.

  • Yes, yes, and yes. I mention our third baby in conversation and the subject often gets changed. The constant emails from baby sites that let me know how far along I should be. Certain dates and even fall activities bring back the sharp pang of loss.

    And pregnancy after loss has been difficult in many ways too. I get the vibe that people think I should forget about our last baby and move on. Or the fact that they talk to me differently now- I hated the left out feeling. But it was like everyone felt that the status of my grief should have changed overnight. And the questions about our child spacing, or the idea that this new baby was an accident because of the large space…hurts.

    • Oh, goodness, Donielle, I’m sure there are many, many additional hurts that arise with pregnancy after loss. Thank you so much for sharing your insight there. I find that a lot of people think it should be easy for me to “get over it” because our fourth pregnancy was unexpected. I find that hurtful, too, actually. :(

  • Karen

    I had a scheduled doctor’s appointment a few days after I lost my baby. I was a mess. This man had no sympathy. He stated at me like I had an extra eye and offered to send me for therapy. I am not saying therapy is wrong, but seriously, after three days, I hadn’t really had time to process much more than the pain of miscarriage. I never went back.

    • I am so sorry to read that, Karen. :( Some people are just so very insensitive. I’m amazed you made it to the appointment, to be honest! I was pretty much a hermit for awhile there… I knew I couldn’t face much. Thank you for sharing– it’s so important, I think, that we talk about these things.

  • Tita

    The day my last pregnancy was confirmed by ultra sound, I went into labor in the bathroom at the medical imaging facility and partially delivered a stillborn baby boy. Wow! Talk about mixed emotions and freaking out!!! I had to be transported by ambulance to the ER where I was admitted and had to stay overnight. It was quite the ordeal to say the least. But the fact that no one knew I was pregnant created an interesting twist. We ended up not telling our other children and grieved privately together (my dear sweet hubby and I). The main positive that I can take away from this experience is that it brought us much closer together in our relationship and I was blessed to see a depth of caring that I had previously not witnessed in him. And although it’s difficult not being able to grieve publicly about this loss, I know all I have to do is give him “the look” and he knows I need some private quiet time – he runs interference with the kids and is there with a hug and a shoulder no matter what.

    • Oh, wow, Tita… that is a different twist and perspective, certainly. I am so very sorry for your loss. We elected not to tell our other children (who were 7, 6, and 2 at the time), but we did tell the grown-ups in our lives. It is lovely that you are able to focus on the positive of the increased closeness in your relationship with your husband– I do believe it’s important to try to cling to those positive things, too. Thank you for sharing.

  • earleyml

    I was just wondering how you were doing. All of these things are so true. Thank you for your honestly and sharing.

  • Amanda

    We just miscarried our first baby on Monday. Yesterday’s big hurt was that our first midwife appt was supposed to be at 9:30. We blessedly ended up sleeping in until 11 (??!?!?!). I was NOT looking forward to being awake – and at home – at 9:30 yesterday morning.

    • Oh, Amanda, I am so very, very sorry. Please know that I am praying for both of you. There are no words that can make it any easier, but I do pray that you find the peace and support to help you through these early days. Hugs.

  • Sarah

    I had a twin pregnancy after years of trying to conceive. We announced the pregnancy to the whole world after my 12 week appointment, because that’s the safe point, right? Wrong. I went in for my 16 appointment and had lost one of my babies. So, then we had to reannounce our lost. But there were people who I don’t see often who didn’t hear that we had lost a baby. So for the next year, even after our daughter was born, I would run into people who we’re expecting me to have twins, but I didn’t.
    Pregnancy loss is a very difficult thing.

    • It is definitely a very difficult (and sometimes complicated) thing, Sarah. I am so very sorry for your loss and for the ongoing pain of having to explain to those not-often-seen people. There are so many unexpected hurts that we never think to discuss…

  • Lori

    I just had the 5 year mark pass on the very first miscarriage (3 total, and 3 other babies too) and this was the first year I didn’t cry. The hardest thing is that between baby 1 and baby 2 I had a miscarriage, and I found out about baby 2 about 6 weeks after the miscarriage. No one wanted to dwell on the loss because I was pregnant so quick, like it didn’t happen. I am lucky to have a good friend who had one before her last baby so I can talk to her anytime. I also have a friend who went through one about a year ago, and I have tried to be the listening ear for her.

    • It’s great that you’re lending a kind ear to your friend, Lori. I know that having friends who’d been through baby loss as well is one of the only things that truly helped me. Blessedly, my mother and sister had not experienced miscarriage, which is a very good thing, but it meant they couldn’t completely relate, either. It’s so important that we speak up and reach out to each other, I think. I am so very sorry for your losses.

  • Gladys Mitton

    After my first miscarriage my mom-in-law would not look me in the eye she did not know what to say. After my second miscarriage my mother asked what I had done to cause it. My third and fourth miscarriages we kept to ourselves but my fifth one we shared. My sister-in-law was also pregnate due two weeks after me. She told me this time it would work out since I was under doctor care. It didn’t, and I did not meet my nephew until he was three months old. I refused to go to family reunion or any holidays that year. My in- laws live 6 hours away. As long as I did not see her I did not have to acknowledge it. We stopped trying after that. Last November we adopted brothers from foster care. They are my heart, but I always remember birthdays, and miscarriage days and I still can’t do a baby shower.
    I have tried so hard to heal. Planting trees, doing memory books, memory jewelry, my babies have names. Still my heart aches for them. For Adrian who would be turning 13, Rachel who would be turning twelve, for Xander and Faye who would be nine, and Aaryn who would be four this summer.

    My boys have my heart, it’s just not complete. Each of my babies took a piece of it.

    • Oh, Gladys, I am so incredibly sorry for your losses. Thank you so much for sharing your story and their beautiful names with us. By sharing the things that have helped, even a little, with your healing, you’re helping other women who are facing their own devastating losses. Your words are poignant and real and I am so grateful to you for sharing them.

    • Laraba

      Gladys,
      Just wanted to say your post is heartbreaking and while I am thankful for your adopted children, I can understand that there is grief that will never be gone in this life. One of my closest friends has 2 biological living children and, I think, 6 or 7 miscarriages total. It took them a very long time to conceive the first child (who survived) and she said she couldn’t do baby showers and she had to respect that about herself. God bless you.

  • Gina

    Believe it or not, nowadays people are more in tune to a pregnancy loss. 30 years ago when the ultra sound confirmed the loss of the heartbeat and I saw the deflated sac of my 16 week baby, I was admitted into the hospital for a D & C. I was supposed to be admitted to the Maternity Floor! Fortunately, it was full and was admitted to Med/Surg. My “roomie” asked me why I was crying….”MY BABY DIED!!!” Ok, I wasn’t my best self at that time.

    • Oh, gosh, I couldn’t have handled having a roomie after my D&C! I’m thankful I had a quiet space to myself– and very kind, gentle nurses. I do believe that people are more in tune to pregnancy loss now. I think that the world sort of shrinks when you throw the internet in the mix. Added to that, I think people do talk more about these things and I believe that has made a big difference. I am so sorry for your loss, Gina… and I don’t blame you at all for your reaction at the hospital. I think that many of us would respond the exact same way.

  • Laraba

    JL,

    Thanks so much for being open and honest and real about your miscarriage. I know you’ve helped many women. I hope the culture is shifting somewhat to allow moms who lost babies to grieve more openly. I have heard that many women in previous generations just shut down emotionally and disregarded the loss of their babies. And I have to think that sometimes, when someone seems hurtful or indifferent, it is that their own pain is buried deep and they are scared to acknowledge OUR pain for fear that the loss will bubble up.

  • AnnaMarie

    Thanks for your post. I’m 20 weeks with my first and just found out a dear friend has miscarried. I’m trying not to be a burden or a source of pain to her, but it’s hard. I did not intentionally exclude her from my gender reveal announcement precisely for the reasons you listed above only to have another friend say it was insensitive of me to not shield her from my news. It’s so difficult to know how to be a good friend to someone who’s miscarried while retaining excitement for my own pregnancy.

  • Bekah

    I just miscarried 6 days ago, although my baby passed several weeks ago. I didn’t expected the incredible sadness that comes with losing a baby. It’s unexplainable. One thing that keeps happening to me, and feels like a little stab to the stomach everytime, is when someone who was unaware of our pregnancy or miscarriage casually asks when we’re planning to have another baby, ( We have a 20 month old little boy.). I have to pretend like that question didn’t change my mood,keep my cool, and say something like, “soon” or “eventually”.

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