Before my first miscarriage I thought I understood what miscarriage was–your pregnancy would come to an end, you would probably be sad, and then you would move on. I thought I knew it all and in reality, I knew so very little.
Before I began sharing my own experience, I had never really heard anyone talk about their miscarriage.
All of my assumptions were cobbled together from the tiny bits of information I had scavenged through the years. When I actually miscarried, I found that these little pieces did little to convey what it was actually like to miscarry.
Here is what I wish someone had told me about miscarriage.
1. You will become obsessed with Google.
Even though you will try hard to stay away, you will find yourself Googling the most specific questions about your body. You will inquire about blood color, vaginal mucus consistency, and locations. In your most desperate moments you will feverishly scan pregnancy message boards looking for the story of the woman with your exact symptoms who went on to have a healthy, thriving baby. You will also quickly scroll past any search result that confirms your fears.
2. You will make compulsive trips to the bathroom.
While going through a miscarriage, you will find yourself coming up with any excuse to go the bathroom to “check.” You may even drink gallons of water just so you have an actual reason to go and you don’t feel like a crazy person. When you use the bathroom you will wipe and wipe. There will be fleeting moments of elation when the toilet paper is clean and then with one bloody swipe the panic will come crashing back.
3. You will feel like you are spinning out of control.
Your movements and actions will be frantic and frenzied. Your mind will not be able to think of anything except what is happening to your body and your baby. There will be a panic in your chest that will make it hard to breathe. You are in a situation that you want to change. Then, you will realize you can’t change what’s happening, so you will just want it to be over. But, there is no timeline and you will have to wait.
4. You will lie to yourself.
Over and over you will play this game where you pretend you are fine. You will push down the fear rising up inside of you. You will make an effort to tamp it down with thoughts of “bleeding is normal in early pregnancy” and “it’s probably gas, not cramping.” These lies are the only thing keeping you from breaking down. They are a sign of the love you have for the little being inside of you.
5. Others will lie to you.
If you choose to tell someone what you are going through, they will not be truthful with you. Because your family and friends love you, they will lie to you. They will echo the reassurances you are telling yourself. They will share stories of a woman they knew who had the same symptoms and now her baby is two. While they tell you these lies, they will rub your back and bring you chocolate. They will sit with you in silence while the truth hangs in the air around you.
6. It hurts.
Miscarriage is emotionally devastating and it is also physically painful. Your body will be achy. Your head will hurt. Your eyes will sting from the crying and from the staring at the TV screen as you try to distract yourself from what’s happening. As your uterus contracts to dispose of your dreams, you will hurt. The cramping is agony for your body and your soul.
7. You will have to make a very difficult decision.
There will come a point when your body will be done performing its vicious task. If you are at home, you will need to make a terrible choice of what to do with the remains of your tiny child. If it’s 2 a.m. and you don’t want to wake your husband, you might decide to flush. Maybe you will creep out int your backyard to find a resting place. Imagine you’re in a public restroom and you can’t take them with you, so you have to leave them behind. Whatever you decided about your baby, you made the right choice in that moment. You were so brave.
8. When it’s over, it’s really just beginning.
When the medical symptoms of miscarriage cease, that’s when the grief sets in. This is when the reality of what happened really sets in. You just lost your baby. Your pregnancy is over. The dreams you had for your life with that baby are gone. The miscarriage is over and the grieving has begun. The grieving never really ends.
9. You are not alone.
Welcome to the club. We wish you weren’t here. If you choose to share your experience with others, you will hear so many stories of loss and heartbreak. These stories will do nothing to change the miscarriage you endured, but they will contribute to the healing. Knowing that there are others who know your heartbreak makes a difference. It really does.
10. We all need love and support to heal.
No matter your experience or when it happened, you deserve love and support. You deserve to find your path towards healing. If you are looking for this, and you can’t find it, then please know that I am here. You, your baby, and your story are so important to me.