*Trigger Warning* This post contains fairly graphic descriptions of miscarriage which some people may find upsetting. I especially wouldn’t recommend for anyone currently enjoying a healthy pregnancy.
The 9th to 15th October is Baby Loss Awareness Week. Miscarriage, like mental health, can be a subject surrounded by stigma and taboo. When a person dies, although obviously devastating, there is at least protocol to follow. There are clichés to say, funerals to arrange, home-cooked meals to bring round. However, when someone experiences a miscarriage or stillbirth people can often feel at a loss for what to say or how to support that person, and subsequently they often say nothing, inadvertently brushing aside the person’s grief. Even when we experience it ourselves we can feel the need to brush aside our own grief – afterall we didn’t know this baby, itt wasn’t a person yet. So why are we so upset?
But the grief you feel when you lose a pregnancy is devastating, heartbreaking and real. It’s a grief that’s completely unique too and often difficult for others to understand who have not been through it. This week is about helping more people to understand.
You may know that I experienced miscarriage for the first time back in May. It has been a horrible, tumultuous time comprising a confusing and devastating mixture of emotions. It’s something I was completely emotionally and physically unprepared for.
I’m not one to pull punches on this blog, I often share things about postnatal depression and anxiety that some would call oversharing. And maybe those people will think the same of this post too. But I feel it needs to be said. A lot of my miscarriage experience felt alien and shocking and I want to share what I’ve discovered so that someone else might feel more understood and less isolated.
Miscarriage can happen at any time
I experienced my miscarriage the day before my 12th week of pregnancy. After seeing a healthy heartbeat at eight weeks I, perhaps naively, assumed I was out of the woods. Although the majority of miscarriages do happen during the first few weeks it’s important to know that, tragically, a pregnancy can be lost at any time.
There’s no point worrying about miscarriage
I had a lot of anxiety about miscarriage when I was pregnant with Caterpillar and he was absolutely fine. Similarly, I was hugely worried about it this time too, and that baby wasn’t fine. My point is that worrying about miscarrying has no bearing on the chance of it happening so why bother? Despite the fact that I ultimately did miscarry, I actually wish I hadn’t worried about it so much and could have felt more relaxed for those few weeks.
You may feel guilt, shame and like you’ve let people down
Even though, logically, I knew the miscarriage wasn’t my fault I couldn’t help feeling guilt and – oddly – huge shame. This new baby was looked forward to, not only by my husband and I, but by our families too and I felt I had let others down by not being able to protect the pregnancy. This feeling is particularly poignant when I look at my son as I was so excited for him to have a sibling and that chance being taken away is sometimes unbearable.
Miscarriage may dent your confidence
This is an emotion I really wasn’t expecting to feel. In a very basic sense, procreating is something many women feel is a big purpose in their lives. We feel that being able to have children is an inherent part of our womanliness. So when that chance is ripped away you may feel a huge loss of confidence in yourself, and your body, which takes time to build back up.
You may not receive the support you need from medical professionals
Fortunately, the staff who dealt with us on the day of my miscarriage were quite sensitive to our feelings but I’ve heard from many others who weren’t so lucky in this regard. I think sometimes healthcare providers get caught up in the everyday nature of their roles and forget how much of a huge blow miscarriage can be to the families.
You may be shocked by how much blood there is & how large the clots are
Every miscarriage is different and depends on manyfactors – whether you pass the pregnancy naturally, how long it takes, how far along in the pregnancy you are etc. But for me the amount of blood and, particularly, clots was truly shocking. Every trip to the bathroom was terrifying and sometimes the feeling of passing the larger clots was enough to make me gasp out loud with surprise. You may feel you want to look at or even save the remains or, like me, you might be terrified of looking. Please remember neither feeling is wrong or right.
You may bleed for a long time
After the initial clots I continued to bleed fairly steadily for two more weeks. Although normal this was still shocking to me. I simply couldn’t understand how there was anything left! And, sadly, the bleeding does make the emotional side even more difficult as it’s a constant reminder of what is happening.
It may not be as painful as you expect
I always imagined miscarriage to be terribly painful. I’ve always suffered from period pain so thought it would be unbearable. For many it is very painful and they need to have that pain managed but for me it wasn’t anywhere near what I expected. I only had mild cramps which I managed with paracetamol.
You may need a further procedure
I’m extremely grateful to have miscarried naturally and completely. The wait to find out if you need medical or surgical intervention is difficult.
Your emotions may swing violently from one to another
The grief of miscarriage is a very strange beast. It’s a rollercoaster of emotions; one moment I feel almost fine and the next utterly devastated. This can be exhausting so make sure you rest when you can during this time.
You will be surprised by how many others have also suffered
I felt able to share my miscarriage with several friends and family and it surprised me how many admitted to experiencing it themselves. This provided some comfort and good support. Talking about your loss with someone who truly understands is really valuable and helpful.
You may wish to honour your baby in some way
We were lucky enough to have a scan photo from our eight week appointment so I keep that, my positive pregnancy tests and a special candle in a box. I plan to light the candle on the anniversary of the miscarriage and due date. Having these small items has given me a place to go when I need to cry or release pent up emotions.
You will mourn the child you never knew
The grief of miscarriage can be split into two parts for me. Firstly, you grieve the loss of the immediate future you had planned. This is very hard because it’s like the rug has been pulled from under you. I like to hope that this feeling may ease if we manage to have another successful pregnancy.
But secondly, you may also find yourself mourning that particular child. Even though we weren’t quite 12 weeks along and didn’t even know if the child was a boy or girl, I often still feel that stab of loss that I will never know what that child would look like or be like, that they will never be a part of our family. The curiosity about that person I’ll never know is probably the most upsetting part.
I think this is the grief that people sometimes don’t understand. People often say “well at least you can try again” and they assume this makes it okay. But, truthfully, we won’t ever be able to have that particularly baby in our arms even if we do fall pregnant again and that is a bereavement that has to be processed like any other.
It does get easier
Time heals, or certainly helps. Don’t forget, as well as a terrible sadness, miscarriage is also a horrible shock. And that shock can last several weeks.
However, every passing day since 6th May has made the loss ever so slightly more bearable. Of course I still have lots of sad moments but the initial heartbreak eases. A friend of mine who has experienced miscarriage herself told me “keep moving forward” and these three words have helped hugely. Try to immerse yourself in a project – perhaps work or a hobby – as distraction can be really helpful (as long as you are also allowing yourself those sad moments too). Planning for the future helps as well. Usually I advocate being present but in this situation looking forward to an upcoming trip or event can really help.
Miscarriage is a unique experience and everyone handles their emotions differently. But what’s important is that families are given the space to feel however they need to feel, and the support and love to keep them strong.
To find out more about Baby Loss Awareness Week visit The Miscarriage Association.
38 comments on “What Nobody Tells You About Miscarriage”
What an honest post. I’ve not experienced a miscarriage but bled with my last two pregnancies and automatically assumed the worst. Thank you for being brave enough to share this and hopefully help others. #bestandworst
Fran Back With a Bump recently posted…It’s A Marvellous Monday To Be Here!
I am so sorry for your loss, lovely. Miscarriage really isn’t talked about enough! And as you point out, no one knows what to say or what the proper protocol is. And, women don’t know what to expect or what will happen. It’s really brave of you to share your story in such detail. I know this post will help other women. Thank you for sharing your story with #BloggerClubUK xx
Becky, Cuddle Fairy recently posted…Blogger Club UK 39
I experienced this loss with my ex many years ago. It took a long time to recover from emotionally and it turned out that our relationship wasn’t strong enough to bear the burden. It’s heartbreaking for all involved #bestandworst
This post is hard to read but yet extremely useful if that’s an ok word?. I am so sorry this happened to you and so close to 12 weeks. I haven’t fortunately experienced this but what I have read from many who have is both so sad but helps me understand what you feel and go through. Thanks for sharing with #bestandworst such a brave post xx
I am so sorry that you went through this. I have had four miscarriages and I hate hearing of other women who have been through the same. But this is such an important post. Miscarriage is different for every woman who experiences it. In fact all four of my miscarriages were very different and the symptoms all varied. There was no pattern. But the grief and emptiness I felt afterwards was consisitent. I hope that all the posts written during #BabyLossAwarenessWeek help those who are going through such an awful and heart breaking time. Hugs Lucy xxxx
Mrs H recently posted…An open letter to the woman who has just miscarried
A beautiful post and one that is so important to share. Thank you for being brave enough to speak about it and I am so sorry that you too have experienced this xx #sharingthebloglove
Fi – Beauty Baby and Me recently posted…Monday Motivation – You’re what makes you YOU!
I’m sorry for your loss. I to have experienced a miscarriage and as I was reading, I felt everyone of those emotions. Xx You are right though time is a healer. Mine was 9 years ago and although I still think of who my baby would gave been and each year as I pass their due date, how old they would be, my life has moved on and I went on to have another baby. #sharingthelove xx
A beautiful, interesting and, I hope for some, a really useful post. Thank you #ablogginggoodtime
Lisa Savage recently posted…Art imitating life
I am so sorry for your loss but I think it is so important to share. I have had fifteen miscarriages and our son was stillborn at full term, I will never stop talking about baby loss or striving to raise awareness, it happens way too often and far too many people still find it difficult to discuss. Love to you. #sharingthebloglove
five little doves recently posted…After school club featuring The UnNatural Mother
What an honest, heartfelt post. A few people who are close to me experienced miscarriages recently, and I can only imagine what they’re going through. It can be heartbreaking no matter what stage of pregnancy you’re at. #ablogginggoodtime
Squirmy Popple recently posted…How would I explain Pussygate to my daughter?
This is such a great post. I’m so sorry you’ve had to go through this experience but it is so great that you are helping to raise awareness. I’ve had five miscarriages and an ectopic and I still grieve for the babies I never got a chance to know. I felt we would never have another child but thankfully we did and this has helped me to move forward and find hope again. Sending hugs x
Alana – Burnished Chaos recently posted…Words To Live By #2: Smile Like You Mean It
Something that I have experienced and others I’ve talked to have too, is the trauma of going for investigations, scans or procedures in the obs and gynae area, and having to sit waiting next to heavily pregnant women is particularly hard to bear. A separate waiting room is surely possible?
Zoe Ashton recently posted…What I got from Time to talk day
Thank you so much for being brave enough to share your experiences and you give some absolutely brilliant advice here. I have experienced 2 miscarriages and they were both different but equally devastating emotionally and physically. We were then told to wait to get pregnant. It then took us a long time to get pregnant which was also very stressful. It was such a difficult time and yes I did feel guilt and it did dent my confidence. Such a waste of emotions. I know that your words will help someone going through his now! Great post! Thank you for linking up to #ablogginggoodtime
An imperfect mum (Catie) recently posted…A Blogging Good Time #20
I’m so so sorry this happened to you, and I’m so in awe of the fact that you’ve managed to share it here for what will be such a helpful read for anyone going through it. The one that really stands out for me is the lack of support from medical professionals. A friend of mine was handled in the most unsympathetic way I’ve ever heard of when she was told about her missed miscarriage, and when I suffered a miscarriage dead on 6 weeks I was told over the phone to just take a paracetamol and get on with it at home as they only see people from 6 weeks onwards. There was no guidance as to what to expect, or if I should go in at any point – I was left to read online what was normal and what wasn’t. Thank you so much for sharing this with us at #SharingtheBlogLove
I completely agree. It angers me how useless some medical professionals can be. I can’t believe how they spoke to you! A MC is still a MC, no matter when it happens 🙁 I was almost 12 weeks and bleeding very heavily and still had to basically beg for a scan. Awful. Thanks for reading and I’m sorry you had a MC too xx
I am so sorry you went through this. I had complicated pregnancies with both my boys that ended in being induced early, it was only with the second one that I was made aware that my reoccurring condition meant I had to be induced to try to avoid a high risk of still birth. Add in the high number of monitoring events due to reduced movement and the measuring too small etc and I was terrified for most of my second that I would never meet my beautiful boy. My heart goes out to you. xx #sharingthebloglove
Claire recently posted…Our day at Hampton Court Castle
Goodness that sounds horrendously stressful. I’m so glad your sons were okay. Thanks so much for reading and for your kind words xx
I am so sorry this happened to you. Its so important to raise awareness, so many people shy away from talking about it. Plus people that surround you have no clue what to say to you. The support from the medical profession is so varied depending on what stage you are at and if this is your first miscarry or not. More needs to be done. Thank you for joining us at #SharingtheBlogLove x
Laura – dear bear and beany recently posted…Sharing the Blog Love…#16
I couldn’t agree more re medical professionals. Thanks so much for reading and commenting xx
Ah lovely I am so sorry for your loss – i have done a similar post this week and found myself nodding along to this. I too never realised how common miscarriage is. I also didn’t understand how heartbroken I would be. Thank you for this post. #sharing thebloglove
Thank you so much for commenting and I’m sorry you have been through it too xx
I am sorry you went through this, I went through it last September and it isn’t something I would wish upon anyone. Despite the loss, I have a healthy 2-month-old baby, but one thing I know I will always know is how old that baby would be if he/she had survived. #ablogginggoodtime
Yes I feel I’m always going to think of that on the anniversary of their due date. Huge congratulations on your rainbow baby! xxx
Such a raw and honest post. I’m so sorry for your loss. I think it’s important to remember that those that have lost through miscarriage and stillbirth have still lost a child, and that is absolutely devastating. You never expect to lose your child. Thank you for sharing this I know it will help people, especially those that may have recently experienced this. #sharingthebloglove
Kat recently posted…What’s in My Fridge – #Blogtober16
Thank you so much for your kind words, I really hope it helps someone xx
I recently had a miscarriage too and this is such a truthful and honest post. I agree with it all. Thank you for sharing #thelist
Rhian Harris recently posted…The hardest post I’ve ever had to write
Thank you for reading, Hun, and I’m so sorry you have experienced the same thing. It is truly heartbreaking and unfair xx
i am so sorry for your loss. i had a miscarriage two years ago. it make me so strong to deserve for it… thank you for posting this. xoxo ..
Thanks for reading, I’m so sorry you experienced miscarriage too x
This article is spot on. I suffered a miscarriage before I had the twins, one of the hardest things I have ever been through xx #thelist
yvonne recently posted…SOCIAL MEDIA BLAST – TWITTER WEEK – HOW TWEET IT IS!
Thanks for reading and commenting, and I’m so sorry for your own loss xx
Great post – I had two miscarriages between baby number one and baby number two. I’m now expecting baby number three and my anxiety is definitely less than with my last pregnancy #thelist
Crummy Mummy recently posted…How can I boost my child’s self-esteem?
Oh my lovely I am so sorry thank you for sharing and thanks for linking up to the list Xxx
Lovely post, I had a miscarriage two years ago and until then, I didn’t realise how common they are. This resonates with me so much, thank you for sharing. #ablogginggoodtime
Back again from #ablogginggoodtime – going to share this one on Twitterx
Crummy Mummy recently posted…Things to do in London in half term
This was beautifully written. Touching and informative, and I didn’t think it was ‘oversharing’ at all but gentle and very thoughtful. X
So glad that you have been brave enough to share your story so honestly. I lost my first baby at 10 weeks when it’s heart stopped beating in 2012 and I was devastated by the loss; even now it is still painful, however, the birth of my son in 2012 did help me to heal some of the emotional pain. I found the worst thing was that people would say “but you were only 10 week.” Some people will never understand the journey I had gone through. The more people talk about it the better. You may have inspired me to write about it for the first time x
Thank you for sharing. It is an incredibly emotional time, unfortunately, my partner did not understand or support me. And yes I was really shocked at the blood and lasting 2 weeks. And at first, they were being optimistic and saying maybe it was break through bleeding. I was going to work and going through this and not telling anyone… it was a really awful time.