Each miscarriage is different for every person. There are days when you may feel absolutely devastated, and times when you go to work the next day. There’s often no way to predict how you are going to handle it until you have to.
There are generally similar emotions that I have come across when talking to people who have suffered through multiple miscarriages.. these are a few of them (note – the logic and sentiment is not ‘true’ as such – it is an emotional response to the trauma):
From the time we are children, it is drummed into us that our purpose in life is beyond work.. we are supposed to get married and have kids. It is seen as the major distinguishing feature between men and women – women give birth. In this modern era, we are taught that we now have the choice. Except that some of us don’t have that choice. It is a brutal shock to find out that having children is not necessarily possible. Thoughts such as “How do we define ourselves as women if we don’t even have the option of having a child when we want to?” are normal.
It is really difficult to not blame yourself when, as a woman, we are the child’s sole life support system. My view used to be that my husband had done his part, as I was already pregnant, and it was me that had failed to carry the child safely. Although everyone will tell you that it is not your fault (and it really really isn’t), it takes a while to actually feel that way.
First of all, if you start talking about your miscarriage(s), you will find that there are many many women out there who have gone through (or are going through) the same thing. It was like I joined a secret club that I had no idea existed until I became a member.
After the second miscarriage I began to withdraw from my husband out of guilt at losing his children. I also felt like I didn’t really have the right to grieve, because a number of people had said to me “at least you weren’t further along”. My husband was trying to be strong for me, but really all I wanted was for him to grieve with me so that I could at least feel like I wasn’t being ridiculous for feeling my losses so intensely.
Anger & disbelief
Strangely enough, the thing that angered me the most was the thing that comforted me the most too. There are so many people out there who didn’t even want kids, who have them ‘accidentally’. There are people out there who have actively tried to hurt themselves to abort, and still their children survive, yet here we were trying so hard to nurture our pregnancies as best we could, without success.
Looking at it with a slightly different perspective, I realised that there was nothing I was doing that was ‘killing’ my unborn child, nor was there anything I could do better to keep the pregnancy. It helped me to realise that this was happening to us.. I wasn’t causing it, and this helped me to stop treating my body as a traitor, and to go a little easier on myself, realising that the teaspoon of honey I ate or the fast walk I took in week 5 did not cause my loss.
There are a lot of emotions around infertility and miscarriage. People deal with them differently. I believe that it is healthier to talk about it than to bottle it up, because there is so much that you can tell yourself that isn’t true, and it is so easy to enter into a self-destructive mindset of blame when you isolate yourself. By talking about the things you have suffered, you help yourself to work through it, and you also help others.
The emotional journey you take is your own. There is no-one who will know exactly what you are going through, but by sharing with others, you will find threads of commonality that will help you to get through this without losing things that are the most important to you besides your unborn child.