One in 4 pregnancies ends in a miscarriage - the most common cause of pregnancy loss. More than 80% of miscarriages happen during the first trimester of pregnancy, mainly due to chromosomal abnormalities.
October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness month and in the spirit of dedicating this month to raise awareness and talk about miscarriage, stillbirth and infant loss, we rounded up these stories from 4 brave women who had the courage to talk about their grief.
"One evening last spring, I was in labor with our third child. The baby was active and I had a particularly acute sense of being about to meet a new person. Suddenly everything went wrong. I began bleeding. Kaitlin was born in the car two blocks from the hospital and she didn't breathe. The hospital's emergency room staff could not resuscitate her.
My husband and I were in complete shock. We held Kaitlin and cried. It wasn't until after we went home empty handed that her death started to become real. Some family members, expecting to visit in a time of joy, instead consoled us and shared our grief. Flowers and notes arrived as word of our loss spread. But after about two weeks, the cards stopped coming. For months I literally waited by the mailbox hoping for word from the many people who must have known by then but had never responded. During that time, I discovered the amazing power of a humble sympathy card to bring me a measure of comfort. It was a tangible demonstration that someone else cared. And even though I cried every time I encountered someone who offered their condolences, it helped to know that another person recognized my loss. When the sympathy trickled off to nothing, I felt abandoned.
I want to talk about Kaitlin, just as I would if she had lived. It may seem as though I should not miss someone I never knew, but this is not the case. I spent nine months rearranging my life to include a new little person. In that time Kaitlin became a part of our family; she influenced our decisions and our vision of the future, and she created memories. Her death was the catalyst for profound changes in our lives. It feels like a lie to deliberately exclude mentioning her when discussing part of my life that involved her." - shared by Pamela Mason for Newsweek
"Everything you worried would happen happened, every dream you dared dream is dashed, and you are back to square one.
We have just had our second miscarriage within a year. I am not a mother yet. The doctors just say you’re unlucky and there is no reason this will happen a third time. But how can you ever expect a healthy pregnancy again. So many people tell you to relax, enjoy the pregnancy, how is this doable when you have had a 100 per cent failure rate. I would love to know how. Because all you feel is useless."
We had two good scans on our second pregnancy. Strong heartbeat, everything looked good. At the 10-week scan, the sonographer’s face changed. I couldn’t look at the screen, her eyes told me everything. “I’m so sorry, there’s no heartbeat.’’ We had two “missed miscarriages”, there’s no bleeding over a toilet, you are carrying a dead embryo. The pregnancy symptoms have started to ebb away. Hospital appointments are booked, drugs are administered and you wait.
Trying to pull yourself together and “get back to normal” is littered with setbacks. In the hospital, when you are recovering from the removal procedure of the “products of conception”, you hear the cries of the newborn babies from down the hall. That is a kick to your empty womb.
Mother’s Day is as painful for the childless as Valentine’s for the unattached.
When I tell my story everybody else seems to have one. Yet we’re not talking about it openly. Because we’re not all talking about it, you conceal your grief or protect the people who don’t understand and try everything to get back to normal. Let’s change the conversation.
The days following our loss in July, my partner and I kept seeing a little white feather. Maybe it means nothing, but we both take some comfort that a little soul is with us.
Maybe I will be a mother one day. Maybe that’s not part of my story. But it’s time to tell the stories. Share the grief, share a tear, share a glass of wine and talk about the pain that is everywhere. "
- shared by Sian Shepherd
"It’s been two months since my son was born.
Two months since we were told we wouldn’t get to see him grow up.
Two months since he went back to heaven.
We’re working through our grief. As most pregnancy-loss-parents know, there are good days and bad days. We have more good than bad. But that grief pops up. Sometimes for a moment, sometimes for a day.
That’s the thing with grief. It’s there, below the surface, always.
And it pops its head up when you want to be joyful.
For those of us who have struggled to get pregnant, or have had a miscarriage or a stillbirth, there are reminders everywhere.
My heart simultaneously sings with joy, breaks with grief, and flares in jealous angst when my friend tells me she’s pregnant.
Since my son was stillborn two months ago, three of my friends have told me that they are expecting.
I’m so incredibly thrilled for them. They are my friends. They are wonderful women. Two of them are already amazing mothers to their living children. One of them has already experienced pregnancy loss and is getting another chance at mothering a living child.
But once again, I’m reminded that my child is gone. That I don’t get to be pregnant at the same time as my friends and compare our bellies and watch our children grow up together. That I’m a mother with no child.
The lump in my throat forms. The tears threaten.
At the same time that the tears start to spill over onto my cheeks, my jaw clenches. It’s not fair. Why do those two women who already have beautiful living children get more children before I even get one living one?
For so many of us, pregnancy and motherhood is grief, jealousy, and joy combined in a tangled mess of emotions.
If you’re pregnant or a mama with kiddos and someone you know has gone through miscarriage or stillbirth, please understand – we are so happy for you and for every pregnant woman and mama we see, but we’re also a little bit broken."
-shared by Trisha Jenn Loehr
"I don’t think anyone thinks they’ll be a part of it but the reality is 1 in 4 women will experience a miscarriage. Why don’t we know this? Why didn’t I know this? It’s not a subject anyone wants to discuss but knowing that this is common is something women need to know. Us ‘1 in 4’s’ need to know it’s not our fault, we didn’t cause it. It’s “normal.”
"Haven Breann, Jayden Patrick."
The names of the ones I have lost. I won’t ever forget all the debating going back and forth over those names with my partner and family members. In the end, I won, of course.
The only thing I won was pain. I didn’t know I could experience so much pain. I had never lost anyone close to me before and for some reason, they had to be the first. To teach me a lesson I wondered? Was I being punished for something I did that I can’t seem to remember?
I was almost positive it was my fault that I had the miscarriage. My body had betrayed me. The one magical thing my body is supposed to be able to do is to give life and it couldn’t even do that. I separated my mind from my body and hated my body.
I had to endure a week knowing the tiny babies in my stomach weren’t living anymore. I saw myself as a walking tomb that week. Knowing they were in me still, never left my mind. I almost didn’t want to get them taken out, at least inside me they were safe.
No one understands the pain we go through losing life inside of us.
It has been almost a year since this tragic event happened to me, and looking back over this year I can’t believe how much my mindset has changed. I dug myself out of a deep self-hate hole that I put myself into. I came to realize regardless, I am still me, I am still here. I can’t give up, I was given this experience for a reason and I think that reason is so I can share it with you all. Maybe this will help you realize that after all that pain, you WILL come out of it and be yourself again.
-shared by Haley Madison
During this month of remembrance of pregnancy and infant loss, let's vow to not let these broken souls grieve in silence, or be forced to act normal when the world as they know it is falling apart. Let's promise each other to always offerour shoulder to our friends going through this tremendous tragedy.