If you read Baby Dust and
fell in love with Stella, the leader of the miscarriage group, she now
has her own book of how she and her husband met. No sadness here, just a
roller coaster romance between two out-of-the-box characters.
It is natural to feel despair and
incredible, debilitating sadness. You may not want to get out of bed, talk
to anyone, eat, or even breathe. You may think about killing yourself to be
with your baby or just lying in bed until everyone gets the point and leaves
you alone. I felt all these things.
You have every right to feel this way. Let
it go for a day or two, even as much as a week. By then, it should start to
ease a bit. Your emotions may shift to anger or defeat. But when you cry,
you do eventually stop. Your mind will drift to other things occasionally.
And you will start getting better.
If in a week you are not feeling somewhat
better, if you are still feeling like being with your baby would be
better than being here, reach out to someone, anyone, email
me, call someone
you know, find a miscarriage support group, go to a church, do something.
Fight to get back to the surface and out of deep despair that you feel.
Remember that you still have things to
live for, things out there in a future you can't see right now--children you
will eventually have, either yourself or through adoption, love you will
feel, friends you will make. Don't give up yet.
When is despair
dangerous? When you stop thinking about committing suicide and
start planning it. If you have taken any steps toward really
doing it, or sorted out in your mind what would be the easiest way, please, please, get help immediately. What is happening to you
isn't just the loss of your baby, it is a hormone imbalance that is
affecting your thinking. It is very possible to get out of your despair with
just a little bit of help from a professional. You must do this. You have a
You are perfectly justified. It's hard to
know where exactly to direct your anger, though. God? Fate? Your doctor?
Your husband? Yourself? You wonder why in hell you had to get pregnant if
this was going to happen. Why did you have to carry the baby so long? Why
did it have to happen to you?
Anger is one of the natural parts of the
grieving process. It is a healthy emotion right now and will get you feeling
stronger. But it will probably not last. Anger usually gives way very
quickly to sadness and despair. Sometimes you will feel flushed with anger,
and just as quickly you will be sobbing. You may feel like you are out of
control. Maybe you want to smash things. I actually did smash some things.
It helped for a moment or two. Then I just had to sweep it up.
All these things are real and valid
feelings. And we all experienced them. You are part of a large sorority of
sad and angry mothers of angels. We all understand. And we're angry too.
I can't tell you how many women have
explained to me what they did to cause their miscarriage, or to ask if their
stressful job or glasses of wine were what did it. For a long time, I blamed
myself too. Then I learned I had a malformed uterus. All that guilt was for
Let me be the one to tell you: YOU DID NOT
CAUSE THIS MISCARRIAGE.
I don't care if you were smoking
crack--those babies are born all the time. Stand up on the job all day?
Doesn't matter. On bed rest but got up a couple of times to raid the
refrigerator or use the bathroom (or even to go out to dinner)?
Insignificant. Nature is not perfect. Our genetic code sometimes doesn't
work just right. It's terrible; it's sad. I hate it. But it has nothing to
do with your sins, your stress, your mistakes, your nutrition, or your
relationship. There was nothing you could have done.
I know. Some of you still feel a nagging
guilt. But try to put it out of your mind. It really, truly was not your
fault. And most likely, it will not happen again.
Remember to give yourself time to handle
your grief. IT IS REAL AND VALID. You may want to read some of the other
women's miscarriage stories here or on other web sites to help you see that
the crazy things you feel are normal. I did and thought many things after my
miscarriage that I thought were really unhealthy or insane, including:
Wanting to die to be with my baby
Cuddling the sonogram pictures like a
Hugging the tree we planted in
Casey's memory (in full view of neighbors)
Getting angry with myself for
laughing or having a good time
Picking fights with my husband for no
Telling perfect strangers about my
It may not get much better for a long time.
There will probably be a time, about 3-4 months later, that it will actually
get worse. Getting pregnant again may not give you the release from grief
you seek. Just give yourself time and surround yourself with people who care
and understand. Forget the rest of them, for now.
If I could make one recommendation that has
helped me tremendously, it would be to put together a memory box of your
baby's things, even if it is only sympathy cards and a positive pregnancy
test, or just letters you are writing to him/her. For several months, I went
into the nursery and opened that box and cried every single day. I found
that if I didn't, I felt like I was in a grief-fog all day. The memory box
validates my baby's existence. Since I don't have a grave or a container of
ashes, I go to it.
You are right. Unless they have had a miscarriage (and
fairly recently at that), people you talk to will not
understand what you are going through. The average person
will expect you to completely "get over" the
miscarriage in about two weeks. This is about the point that
things may actually get worse for you, when reality has set
in, and you are failing to cope. Women suffer alone with
miscarriage, and even the baby's father, your own mother,
your best friend, or others you thought you could rely upon
will fail you. The best course is to surround yourself for a
while with people who DO understand, who are going through
it right with you. You can find them in local support groups
(call your doctor's office or a large OB practice in your
area) or join a bulletin
board. See some of the topics under "dealing
with others" for other ideas on how to cope with
This is the number one complaint of women. They feel sad, overwhelmed, and grief-stricken, and
their partners are still watching football, going to work
just fine, or even telling them to "get over it."
There are a few critical points I want to bring up about
Almost every single woman feels this way (only a very small number mention
partners that are sensitive and helpful)
100% of dads I've talked to or who have gotten on the
board either want to know how to be strong for their wives
or confess that they are grieving deeply and don't want
their wives to know
Men (and many women) really do believe that if you stop thinking about
something, the problem goes away. Thus, they say comments like "Stop
thinking about it" or "You're getting obsessed about this" or
"I don't want to talk about it anymore." Truly, nothing could be
further from the truth. Talking about your problems is a catharsis and will
help you heal faster.
A very natural dynamic in every couple, particularly if you live together
or are married, is that only one person can fall apart at a time. If you
both fall apart, no one will be making dinner, keeping the clothes washed,
or manage other children, if you have them. This is an important function of
the partnership, and is very rarely breached. Whoever is less sad at the
moment will swallow their grief and deal with it later. The other person
will feel abandoned and alone, and the partner may recognize it, but feel
helpless to really get involved due to the pressure of keeping everyday life
going. This time will pass, and the acute phase is usually a month or less.
This is perfectly
natural, and is reported by 100% of women who have lost babies. Why you and not
them? Why does your teenage niece get to have a baby when you don't? Or that
woman who is still smoking? Or the five friends of yours who are pregnant right
You will feel surrounded by babies and pregnant women. You
will see reminders of your loss everywhere. This is something you are going to
have to tough out. Here are some things that might help:
Buy something for your baby. Or better yet, make a
little memory box. (See memorializing
your baby.) You will feel comforted and more like a mom yourself--because
you are one!
Don't feel obligated to go to baby showers. Don't
bother with excuses, or to explain yourself. Just send a lovely note with a
gift certificate to the mall, or Target, or an online baby store, and say,
"Wish I could have made it. Best wishes." Will some people be
upset? If it is your best friend, or your sister-in-law, maybe. But that's
okay. One of the two of you were going to get bent out of shape with this
situation, so let it be the one who is about to have a joyful moment and
will forget all about it in a few weeks.
Don't bottle it up. If pregnant co-workers or friends
talk incessantly about babies, just say, "I am so happy you all have so
much to look forward to. I can't wait until it is one day my turn."
Then walk away! There is no need to stand around and endure the
conversation. Even if they say something negative about your sensitivity,
they are just projecting how guilty they feel for upsetting you. They know
it's their fault. And they have no idea how hard this is for you. Often
you'll find out who has had a miscarriage before, because they will seek you
out with a sympathetic, understanding ear.
Remember that this is a joyful time for them. You too
will want to shout to the rooftops when your healthy baby is born. They are
having a happy moment, and in the momentum of their anticipation, they don't
always remember that you are grieving that very thing that they have. When
women are pregnant, and blissfully ignorant that anything could ever go
wrong, they don't always put others' feelings first. Forgive them, and don't
seek their company if you cannot handle it. Joining in their joy will be one
of the last things you will be able to do as you heal from your loss.
Laughing at a baby shower will be a sign that you are moving through your
healing stages and looking forward to a happier future. This is going to be
a long way down the road, and may not happen until your own little one is
safely delivered. It's okay, and don't beat yourself up about it. You're a
survivor, and sometimes survivors can't always act the way everyone else