15-20% of confirmed pregnancies end in miscarriage, yet there is still shame and guilt attached to it. How can we break this stigma? We break it by talking about it.
Over a decade ago, I had multiple miscarriages over the course of a few short years.
This story begins the day I peed on a stick and it came back positive. I wasn’t supposed to be pregnant. I was on the pill. We were supposed to start planning to have a child in the near future, but we weren’t trying yet. Since we were already discussing the possibility of having a child, we decided to keep this little miracle.
What I didn’t know yet was that the road to motherhood would be arduous. I didn’t know that life had decided that to have a child one day in my arms, I would have to move mountains and above all, believe that it was possible, that it would happen.
October 1st is the day I had my first miscarriage. The first miscarriage came has such a shock. I was certain that such things were extremely rare, that once you were pregnant, you were automatically going to be a mother. It was utterly devastating. I wouldn’t wish this experience on anyone, yet it happens to so many women every single day.
I was 4 months pregnant when I started having contractions at work. I went to the bathroom and saw that I was bleeding. I collapsed with anxiety.
In a panic, I went to the emergency room. The doctor couldn’t hear a heartbeat. My heart sank to my feet. He tried to reassure us at first, but with further tests, it came clear that there was no hope. The verdict was terrible. I learned that he/she died of a heart attack. You could actually see the heart damage on the ultrasound image. The knowledge almost killed me on the spot.
I had to wait 3 days before they could operate and remove the corpse. I started morning my child while he/she was still inside of me. He/she would not be the new member of our family.
I couldn’t deal with having to tell family and friends that the baby was now gone and had to take it out. I will be eternally grateful for my parents who stepped in and made those difficult phone calls. It was a devastating and the most terrible time for us. Losing a child that you wanted never leaves you. It’s a pain you carry with you forever.
I blamed the fact that I had gotten pregnant while taking the pill for the loss of my unborn child. We decided almost immediately that the instant I was given the okay from the doctor we would try again. I was hopeful, since this time it would be a planned pregnancy and I wouldn’t be on the pill. It should be all right next time.
Even if I still had hope, I was still in a very bad place. It didn’t help that there were some people in my life that completely minimised and downgraded what had happened. To have people minimise the pain of a miscarriage or a pregnancy loss or stillborn or any other tragedy involving you and your baby is awful.
The second miscarriage broke my heart, my hopes and made me feel like a defective. I couldn’t blame the pill anymore. The problem was me. There’s a lot of shame and internal struggle with that.
I gave ‘birth’ to a 4-month-old ‘baby’ on the toilet bowl. I held him/her in my hands. It was small enough to fit in one hand. I was crying and felt like the room was spinning. There was nothing to do. I didn’t know how to respond. Not thinking I flushed the corpse away and walked out of the bathroom in a daze. It’s my biggest regret. I would have liked to bury the remains, but I wasn’t able to formulate logical thoughts at that moment.
I was rushed to the hospital, where my spouse explained what happened. I felt numb. It was as if I was having an out of body experience.
They sent me for tests. The ultrasound technician told me that I had a false pregnancy. He didn’t believe me when I told him I had held him/her in my hands. He spoke to me like I was mentally ill. I was so angry I wanted to walk out of the hospital and never come back. My spouse asked that I stay until I saw a doctor.
He saved my life that day. Not everything had flushed away. There was still pieces of the placenta inside me. The doctor was beside herself when she heard what happened. She explained that if I had gone home, I would have died of poisoning. I needed to get operated and have what’s left removed. My life depended on it.
Afterwards, people blamed the fact that I was vegetarian. They told me to my face that it was my fault. I had killed my unborn child. I felt like a failure and I felt like it was all my fault. You start to wonder if people are right, we wonder if we shouldn’t have eaten that meat or if it was that long walk or the way we laid on our backs when we fell asleep. Processing a miscarriage can take a toll on marriages and relationships because the woman often carries guilt over the loss. To have multiple losses is so hard to overcome. Women who are struggling with this need support and not advice.
The third miscarriage made me furious. I had eaten meat, so it wasn’t being vegetarian that was the problem. I had followed every rule in the book. I did everything right and I still lost my child.
I was robbed of fully enjoying a pregnancy early on. I was plagued with doubts and fears that I would lose this child too.
I started haemorrhaging to the point where I was afraid I wouldn’t survive. I was rushed to the hospital and to an operating room.
I felt like an absolute failure. You are supposed to grow up, find love, have children. I couldn’t make that happen. It never gets easier no matter how many times your life it over and over and over again…
Finally, I was allowed to see a specialist who would follow me for my next pregnancy. I was explained that I had to wait till I had 3 miscarriage, because they are so common, that it’s not considered a problem until then. I couldn’t believe my ears. I had never heard of anyone else ever having a miscarriage.
It was then that people in my surrounding started opening up about their own experience. A woman at work explained that it took 11 pregnancy before she had a successful one. My paternal grandmother said that after 3 children she wasn’t able to get pregnant again. I learned that my maternal grandmother had given birth to 14 children, only 10 survived passed the 1st year. 2 of them died before being born. I learned that my spouse’s maternal great-grandmother had a miscarriage. The stories poured in. I was angry. I was angry that it was the first time I had heard about their stories. I was angry that I wasn’t warned that it could happen to me. I was angry that it was a taboo subject. I swore to myself that I would make sure any children of mine would know about my experience.
It’s hard to not feel betrayed by this body, to hate the changes that had once reminded you of the life you were growing, and to feel completely uncomfortable in your own skin.
Sometimes the things people say can be hurtful and you don’t even know it.
I decided to try again. There are so many emotional ups and downs.
Losing your baby is a devastation unlike any other. Some of us do, however, find some comfort when we’re fortunate enough to give birth to a rainbow baby.
The fourth pregnancy worked with little issue.
On the small screen in front of me, she was moving. Her little heart blinked. From that moment, she was my miracle baby.
My baby was born a little early, but she was fully developed, so there were no issues. Her birth took place at full speed. That cry was for me a sign of a true miracle.
My child later told me that it was her each time, simply trying again until she was able to get here. That comment took my breath away.
My child was 11 years old by the time I was diagnosed with Graves Disease and that it was found out by looking at the details of my multiple miscarriages that the illness was the cause. I was told I was very lucky to have had my child as many aren’t able to have children or have children with numerous health issues. I started crying. Understanding why I had miscarriage closed a mystery. It wasn’t my fault. It was an illness.