October is a huge awareness month around our country. There are so many walks, runs, and various events aiming to help fund research and to educate those who are unaware. But for one in four women, October might have an entirely different meaning. It’s the “issue” that very few talk about—pregnancy and infant loss awareness.
In 1988, Reagan declared October (specifically October 9th-15th) to be Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness month. It’s baffling to me that it was declared 29 years ago, and we are just now starting to hear women open about their loss.
I myself have experienced losing a pregnancy. Here is my story . . .
At the time, I was a stay at home mom with a one-and-a-half-year-old and a eight month old. You could say my hands were full. We had recently stopped breastfeeding, and my husband and I were in the process of figuring out what we wanted to do for birth control, ya know, since no one can get pregnant that fast. Joke was on me.
I had a positive pregnancy test and began all the typical prenatal care along with going to my first doctor’s appointment. At that appointment, I could almost feel the judgment in my doctor’s voice as she was chatting with me about the risks of having another C-section so soon. In the ultrasound room, something just didn’t feel right. The baby was measuring a lot smaller than my calculation (8 weeks). But since I had recently gotten my period back, I figured my calculations could be wrong. Fast forward two weeks. I was experiencing cramps and light bleeding. I made a doctor’s appointment, and the ultrasound showed no heartbeat.
This is the moment my world went black.
The doctor began discussing with me what my options were. I could just let the miscarriage run its course naturally, have a DNC, or use misoprostol to soften the cervix and induce contractions to empty the uterus faster.
I decided to watch and wait. The bleeding continued into the next day until I began to have serious cramping. That’s when the process had officially begun. I was in unbearable pain and was rushed to the emergency room for an emergency DNC. The clots I had were too large for my curved uterus to pass.
I went from being able to keep my secret about going through a miscarriage to everyone knowing. My in-laws, my best friends, and my parents all knew because I was admitted to the hospital. I was embarrassed and now had a lot of questions to answer – questions like:
“Were you trying to get pregnant?”
“How long did you know?”
Then came the remarks. Remarks that absolutely broke my heart:
“You didn’t need another baby now anyway.”
“Two is more than enough.”
“This was God’s plan.”
“At least you weren’t that far along.”
I honestly didn’t want to talk to anyone. I wanted to crawl under a blanket and never come out. The truth is, I was blaming myself. I knew that my hands were going to be VERY full. I was going to have three kids, two and under. That right there gave me heart palpitations and made my anxiety skyrocket. A part of me wasn’t as excited about this baby as I felt I should be.
I was in a very dark place for about three months. Often, I just cried for no reason.
Because many women are so silent about their miscarriages, it took me a long time to discover that I wasn’t alone in my pain. My best friend, my mother in-law, my mother, along with many others, carry the same pain that I have. Many of those women are carrying far more pain from multiple miscarriages.
Here are some things that have helped me in dealing with my miscarriage…
Take care of yourself.
Allow yourself to rest and grieve—but don’t forget to get out of the house.
Name your angel baby.
Our baby is named Chickpea. We picked it as a family.
Make something for your baby.
We made a stepping stone for our angel.
Talk to your husband. Do not shut him out.
He is grieving as well. You need each other.
Let your girlfriends know what’s going on.
You need your friends now more than ever—even if they haven’t experienced a miscarriage before.
This post might have been too much personal information for many of you to read. But it’s time that the women who are carrying around the pain of a miscarriage know that they are not alone. It’s time that you know that it’s not your fault. I know that you think about that baby often and even feel their presence in your heart. One month just seems so miniscule to you when you lost an entire lifetime with a child.