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Hey there mamas!
This week, I’ve decided to write about my own experience in the past few months with miscarriage.
The bottom line is this: we lost a baby we were so very excited to meet at 6 weeks. It was a shock and it hurt, but we’re thankfully now at a place where we feel strong and ready for what the future brings. Read about it below.
WARNING: I realize a large number of moms that find their way to this website are happily planning or already pregnant. So I wanted to preface this article with a warning- this story may not be for you. I know for me, reading an article about miscarriage with my first successful pregnancy would have given me a lot of unnecessary anxiety. So I’ll leave it up to you!
Why I’m Writing About My Miscarriage
The reason I’m writing about my experience is because I know there are a lot of women out there just like me. Since miscarriage affects a staggering 1 in 4 pregnancies, I know there are other moms out there suffering the heart break of a lost pregnancy.
Maybe because I’m in my 30s and have many close friends also in the stages of growing their families, I’ve been utterly shocked with how many of them have dealt with pregnancy loss. In fact, on the Mom Blog Life’s email list I frequently get emails from women asking to be taken off the weekly pregnany email list because of their miscarriage.
Knowing You’re Not Alone
One of the main things that helped me cope when I first discovered my pregnancy wasn’t viable this summer, was finding other women’s stories (like Mama Natural’s story here). Of course, they were sad stories that ended up happy when they eventually held their beautiful rainbow babies.
Thankfully the majority of women will go on to have healthy pregnancies with no complications after miscarriage.
Although I was able to find a few stories, mostly I found dry academic articles talking about the biology of a miscarriage and to wait to try again when you feel mentally ready (duh). So although I’m not one to share much of my personal story with the public, I think the topic of miscarriage is a one that we need to be more open about.
Many women suffer silently as the dreams of their unborn child vanish. While time and support are the only healers, knowing that we’re not alone in our suffering goes a long way I think. After feeling devastated, I was surprised how quickly I regained hope in the future after realizing that I wasn’t alone and that many women have gone through the same thing and found their way to times of pure joy in their future.
Related article: The Ultimate Guide to Pregnancy Nutrition
Our Family Planning Journey
Whether you’ve decided it’s time to start a family, grow your family, or you’ve just started considering it as a possibility… the thought of getting pregnant and having a baby can be very exciting!
For my husband and I, we knew we wanted kids but weren’t sure when was the right timing. Yet, like anything worth doing- there isn’t a “perfect time.” So when I ran out of birth control and my 30th birthday was around the corner, I asked my husband if we should take it as a sign to start thinking about a family.
So, after some research I found it usually took 3 months for a fertile cycle to start after getting off birth control. So we started “practicing” 🙂 I was a bit nervous because before birth control I ‘d always had very sporadic painful periods and always wondered if they would somehow affect my fertility.
Even though having a baby was a plan on the horizon, I was a bit surprised when I found out I was pregnant one month later! It took me 5 weeks to realize it because I figured my period was just late (normal for me), but the progressing morning sickness and fatigue finally gave it away.
And so started our beautiful adventures of starting our family of 3 with my beautiful baby girl. Her pregnancy was a breeze. After the first trimester I felt great, had plenty of energy for work and kept active right to the end where I gave birth to her naturally and unmedicated.
Related article: The Benefits of a Natural Birth
Dreams of Growing Our Family
I come from a family of 5 kids- myself and 4 younger brothers. I loved growing up in a full house. My husband grew up with an older sister and younger brother- family is everything and we knew we wanted to grow ours with time too.
After my daughter turned 1.5 years old in December of last year, I finally felt ready to think about baby #2! It was exciting to feel that way again. Only one small detail was missing- my period! At that point I was still breastfeeding my daughter on demand, so as I started to wean her down to only a few times per day, suddenly my period came back. That was literally the ONLY time I’ve ever been so excited to have a cycle- it meant I was fertile again, ha!
With how easy the first time went, I may have had some unrealistic expectations about pregnancy moving into planning for # 2. So each month when I got my period for 3 months I was a bit disappointed, especially the last one because I was 9 days late and hoping that negative pregnancy test was just wrong.
Getting Pregnant Again
So when I finally go that positive pregnancy test in July- I was ecstatic. I thought “phew- here we go again.” Everything was going to work out perfect with our second baby arriving a few months before our daughter would turn 3. My morning sickness was 10 x worse than it was with her and I was excited to see our first ultrasound at week 8.
Then, for 5 days starting at week 6 I noticed some spotting- a totally normal occurrence is pregnancy that my OB assured me over the phone was nothing to worry about.
Something Felt Wrong
My doctor offered me an optional check-up for my comfort and something told me to come in. There, I found out that there was an embryo that had stopped growing at some point with no heart beat. My doctor informed me that since I’d started spotting I’d probably naturally pass it in the next 2-4 weeks later.
I couldn’t believe it. I sat there in shock trying to figure out why this happened. My doctor assured me that it wasn’t anything I did- that more than 90% of the time a miscarriage is due to a genetic issue. All my excitement and planning I’d already started were thrown out the window in an instant.
Why Did This Happen to Me?
No one goes into pregnancy expecting a miscarriage. Yet, the reality is that there is fairly high chance of going through one. That doesn’t mean all us mamas should live in fear of miscarriage. But knowing where to turn when it does occur can be helpful.
I was no stranger to miscarriages but I’d never experienced one personally. Since I live a “healthy” lifestyle I’d never guessed a miscarriage would be on my resume. My own mother had one stillbirth (a very rare occurrence) and 3 miscarriages in the process of having her 5 healthy babies. I know my parents went through a lot to complete their family of 7- yet in hindsight it all seems to have worked out. We have a great family dynamic and I couldn’t imagine life without any of my brothers.
Now that I’m in the “child-bearing” age- it seems I run into so many of my acquaintances and friends that have also dealt with miscarriage.
It’s EXACTLY the reason why many women wait until their second trimester to announce their pregnancy because the first 13 weeks are the most uncertain.
I was wondering why I hadn’t known more about this until now. Yet, I kind of get it. If you want to get pregnant, or you’re already pregnant, the last thing you want is to go down the rabbit hole of other women’s miscarriage stories. But once I experienced it, I found solace in other’s women’s stories.
Related article: Becoming a Mom- A Collective Mama Consciousness
When going through a miscarriage here are the questions I had:
- How long will this process take?
- What are my options?
- How will this affect my future pregnancies?
- When can I try again?
- How do I move past this with strength?
When looking for answers, the opinions varied and the ranges were wide. Generally 4-6 weeks for a miscarriage to happen naturally, 4-6 weeks for a cycle to return if surgery was elected (known as a D &C), and on. Most mentioned the biggest impact miscarriage has on is on your mental health when wanting to get pregnant again.
And here are the words of solace and advice you’ve probably heard
I’ve told them to people too. For me, they helped. But for many I know they are so frustrated and devastated that the words can seem harsh:
- It wasn’t meant to be
- God/The Universe has a plan
- It’s just nature and genetics
- In hindsight, this pain and struggle will have it’s place
Here is what I think was the hardest part of all for me, the loss of the expectations we had for our family.
- I was thinking in my head how perfect it will be to have a March baby so that I don’t have to be pregnant in the summer
- I was thinking how excited my extended family will be for another baby- I already had an awesome announcement planned in my head at my Grandpa’s 90th birthday party
- I was SO stoked for our baby girl to have a sibling
- After the 1st trimester, I loved being pregnant my first time around- so I was excited for the new adventure
When we make plans, god laughs.
You may have heard this sentiment before and I think this is so true when it comes to family planning. Many of us have in our minds the ideal time frame for having a baby (I’ve had some friends “planning” to get pregnant a certain month- ha). Yet often, when we have such stringent plans they’re easy to get shattered along with our dreams.
Using My Intuition and Faith to Move Forward
One other amazing blessing I gained while pregnant with my daughter was finding my own strength and intuition. I learned to be more aware and mindful of my surroundings. I learned to trust in my own intuition and that of the universe. And it has helped me remain calm and mostly collected as our life totally changed with her birth.
This intuition I’ve gained helps me feel much more connected to a life plan even if I have no idea how each chapter will play out. But it gives me hope that there will be a lot of joy to experience in the years ahead if I can accept them. So while my dreams of a March baby have been shot, I feel hopeful. I realize that a few months or even years to our next baby seems slow and long right now- but it is just a small part of our story- a blip on the screen of life.
When I reflect on my miscarriage, sometimes I feel sorrow but once I let that pass I feel an immense sense of hope that life will play out just the way its supposed to with time. I know firsthand from my mom’s suffering that things truly do happen for a reason- and when I’m holding that perfect baby in my arms someday I’ll know exactly why this pregnancy wasn’t meant to be.
Related article: How to Establish a Daily Mindfulness Routine
Here’s what helped me immensely:
There are a few things that helped me get to place of peace following my miscarriage, these included:
- Having a beautiful daughter to come home to after each tough doctor’s appointment
- My husbands strength and faith in manifesting the life we want when the time is right
- Having friends I could talk to and share my story with- especially ones that had been through something similar
- Hearing the happy stories that followed miscarriages and the beautiful perfect babies that came
- Trusting my mom gut that something was off with this pregnancy- I’d never felt that baby’s presence like I did with my daughter as soon as I learned of her existence in my belly
- Having a really good self-care plan in place was my life-saver– I was dependent on these habits to get me back on track
- Daily exercise
- Sticking to a nourishing diet
- Daily morning mindfulness practice (gratitude, visualization and meditation)
- Consistent high quality sleep
Trust Your Intuition and Stay Calm
I went into the doctor that fateful day because I felt something was wrong. With my daughter, I found myself anxious a few times in the first 12 weeks but never had any evidence to confirm anything. As soon as a I held that pee stick with a double line I could sense her in my belly- she was my companion for those 9 months and I sensed her there all along as her own feisty little soul.
Yet, with this second one- I was beyond ecstatic but I found myself wondering: who’s in there? I never seemed to get that re-assuring sense that a little soul was there for me to house, comfort, and grow with. It truly wasn’t meant to be- and the reason will get clearer with time!
For The New Mamas
If you haven’t birthed your first baby yet and experienced a miscarriage, my heart especially goes out to you. I was blessed to have a good first pregnancy and know what my body is capable of. You may be finding yourself doubting if your body can do it. But PLEASE just remember this:
- Your body was literally made to be a mama- keep the faith!
- Many women that struggle with fertility find hope in cutting edge fertility science and/or healthy lifestyle changes- the body is SO resilient if we let it be
- Nature is pretty amazing and knows exactly what to do and what you need in your life
The bottom line
Going through a miscarriage sucks. But you’re strong and that beautiful baby is in your future with a little faith and love in some shape or form.
My last biggest piece of advice, that I always remind myself too, is this: Remember, your thoughts are truly your reality! So visualize that beautiful baby and a healthy pregnancy. Don’t focus on the what if’s that you can’t control as they will just bring unnecessary stress and anxiety over a painful past. Instead focus on choosing health and doing your best and the rest will fall into place.
It can be scary to trust in the unknown. But it’s a great exercise for motherhood anyways, since anyone that’s raised a child knows each day brings it’s own challenges and joy. Try to ride those waves and embrace the good days to get you through the bad.
Sending love to all those mamas out there that need it right now!
Personal note: After a long-winded miscarriage that resulted in a D & C just last month- my cycle has finally returned and I’m excited to see what the future holds for our little family. I’ll keep you posted!
What has helped you the most in healing from your miscarriage? I’d love to support you and hear your story. You can always comment below or shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org