5 Reasons I Didn’t Say Anything About My Miscarriage

Why I didn't tell anyone about my miscarriages for so long and how you can help those who have had one feel love and support.

A few months ago, I wrote about my experience with miscarriage.  It was a hard post to write, as I felt like I was reliving each one of my three miscarriages all over again.  I cried.  I was mad.  I doubted.  I felt hope.  And then, healing begin to happen.  I received text messages, phone calls, messages on Facebook, comments on my post and notes from both friends and people I’ve never actually met in real life.  It was truly amazing how sharing something so personal and vulnerable made me feel so much love.  Since my most recent miscarriage in January of this year, I’ve talked to a lot of women about it.  Some expressed their sympathy but couldn’t relate having never gone through it.  Others opened up to me about their own experience.  We’ve hugged, cried and bonded over our losses.  And almost everyone I talked to about it asked me the same question: Why didn’t you say something?

Ever since writing that post, this one question has been echoing in my mind.  Knowing there were other women who had experienced the same thing as me, why didn’t I reach out to them?  I was hurting, confused, frustrated and full of pain and sadness, as I’m sure they were.  So why didn’t I say something?

As I’ve thought about it (and I’ve thought a lot about it) and talked to others about it, I’ve had some insights come to my mind.  I feel fairly safe saying that I think many women who have experienced a miscarriage have felt these feelings and had these thoughts and each one or a combination of them is why they don’t say something: shame, disappointment, rationalization, pressure and confusion.

Shame
I can say that I definitely felt shame and embarrassment when I went through my miscarriages.  These are some of the thoughts that went through my mind:

  • I have two healthy kids and had no major problems getting pregnant or during pregnancy, so what in the world was the problem?  
  • A woman’s body is supposed to know how to do this, right?  
  • I don’t want people to think that there is something wrong with me.

If you’ve had a miscarriage, you know that this thinking is irrational, but in the moment, it is your reality.  You are trying to come up with some reason why things didn’t work out the way you hoped or wanted and as a result, you feel shame.  If you haven’t had a miscarriage, please don’t discount how women could be feeling this way.  We know it doesn’t make sense and we don’t want to feel this way, but we do and all we really need is a hug.

Disappointment
In my case, and in so many cases, a baby is what we had been hoping and praying for.  Getting that positive pregnancy test is a moment of wonder and awe and excitement.  When you get that positive test, you start to hope and plan for your unborn child’s future.  You wonder if it’s a boy or a girl and what they’ll look like.  Going to the doctor and not hearing a heartbeat or starting to bleed unexpectedly is one of the absolute worst feelings in the world.  Having those hopes and dreams crushed can cause a disappointment so deep that it’s hard to share with others, even if they know how it feels.  For me, I felt a little like if I could keep it inside and not say anything, that maybe it wouldn’t feel so real and heartbreaking.

Rationalization
My husband and I have two beautiful kids.  They bring us happiness and joy and make life worth living.  When I went through each of my miscarriages, I tried to rationalize my feelings by telling myself things like:

  • Well, at least I have two kids.
  • Other people have suffered worse than me.
  • I should be happy that I wasn’t farther along than I was.

I thought that by trying to convince myself that I shouldn’t be feeling the things I was feeling, that somehow that would make me feel better.  But I have to tell you something: when you are going through a miscarriage, you’re not thinking rationally.  You are trying to think of something, anything, to help you cope.  To try and work through the pain.  You might decide that saying something to someone will cause them to think poorly of you, so it’s better not to say anything at all and just try to work through it yourself.

Pressure
Choosing when to start a family or add to it is a hugely personal decision.  But for some reason, many people think it’s a question that is free game.  Parents, grandparents, siblings, extended family, friends, co-workers and random acquaintances think they should be able to ask this question and you shouldn’t feel intruded upon.  As though it’s a question that maybe you’ve never considered before (insert sarcasm here).  For me, I am the oldest child and grandchild.  I was the first to get married, the first to have a baby and the first to get pregnant with our second child.  I knew people were wondering when we were going to be adding to our family.  Even if they weren’t saying something, I knew they were thinking it.  Whether the pressure you feel is real or perceived, it definitely has an effect on if you feel safe saying something to people when you experience a miscarriage.

Confusion
I had my first miscarriage in November 2015, another in February 2016 and another in January 2017.  While I don’t claim to have all my feelings sorted out, I do know that it’s taken some time to try and work through everything.  I am someone who likes to have all, or as many of, the answers as possible when explaining or sharing something.  Because I had so much going on inside my mind, I didn’t feel like anything I said to anyone was going to make any sense.  I didn’t know how to process everything because I had no frame of reference.  So I kept it to myself and didn’t say anything.

What changed my mind?
Ultimately, I found that sharing my experience was like a breath of fresh air.  Keeping everything inside was hurting me and those around me.  I truly felt like I’d been holding my breath, trying to convince myself that I was fine, all the while I was drowning.  Until I said something to one person.  And then another.  And another.  And then I started typing the words into my computer.  Letting go of everything inside me and sharing the burden with others started the healing process.  Telling people about my miscarriages has been one of the hardest things I’ve ever done in my life. One friend said to me, “We are part of a club of women we never wanted to be a part of.”  But thank goodness we can be there for each other.  To hope and pray for each other.  To hold and cry with each other.  To be a source of strength and hope to each other.

Why I didn't tell anyone about my miscarriages for so long and how you can help those who have had one feel love and support.

To you who have gone through a miscarriage, I’m so sorry.  I know how it feels.  I am here for you.  The pain will probably never go away completely but the ability to bear it will increase.  You are strong.  You are brave.  And if you don’t feel like there’s anyone you can talk to about it, please contact me, whether we know each other in person or not.  Everyone needs someone to talk to.  Hard things become so much easier to go through when you know there’s someone in your court, cheering you on or holding your hand when things don’t go as planned.

To you who haven’t experienced this, please know that I’m not bitter or upset at you.  That doesn’t mean it doesn’t still hurt sometimes when I see you with your newborn baby or pregnant belly, or when you unknowingly make a comment about “being lucky”.  All I ask is that when you come across someone who’s had a miscarriage, that you don’t try to brush over it with trite phrases or meaningless words.  We know you’re trying to help, but most often, all we really need is for you to say “This sucks and I’m here for you.”  Often, hearing “I’m sorry” is enough.

To everyone reading this, I hope–really, really, hope–that we can start today in our efforts to stop the stigma surrounding miscarriage.  I don’t understand why, but it’s become a taboo.  No one should be made to feel ashamed or embarrassed because of a miscarriage.  It’s not an easy or comfortable subject to talk about.  I get it.  But I think recognizing that is a good first step.  Awareness and resources for how to talk about it is the next. 

I know this was a long post, so thank you for sticking with me to the end.  Obviously, I feel very strongly about this topic and I hope that something I said helped you see things in a different light, no matter which side you find yourself on.  Because as cheesy as it sounds, we’re all in this together.  We women have a voice and we can use it to uplift and strengthen each other throughout all facets of life.

My Miscarriage Story

My experience with multiple miscarriages and how hope gives me strength.

I’ve been trying to think about how to get this all down for a long time.  I actually started a different post in December 2015 that’s just been sitting in my drafts for the last year because I just haven’t known where to start.  I am generally a pretty private person and I often prefer to bear my trials in silence, not involving other people beyond my husband, close family members or friends.  Maybe this was something I learned growing up in a less than ideal environment.  I didn’t want other people to know I was struggling, so I put on a happy face and dealt with trials away from the public eye.

I like to think I’m pretty tough.  It takes a lot to really get to me.  But I’ve had to face the fact that maybe this isn’t always such a good thing.  When you put on a tough exterior, other people might think that you don’t need extra help or attention because you seem to have it all together.  Anything life throws at you, you can handle it without coddling or an arm around your shoulder.  So when you really could use the extra attention or consoling, you’re not sure how to ask for it.  Or other people aren’t sure how to give it.  Especially when it’s not something they’ve personally experienced.

I generally pride myself on writing well thought-out posts that are clean and clear and have direction.  This post might be a little less that way, but I hope you’ll forgive me because I’m still working through things.  For most of you reading this, if not all of you, this is the first you’ve heard about my miscarriages.  Don’t feel bad if you didn’t know or suspect that something was wrong.  Like I said, it’s hard for me to share my trials with others.

This is my story about my miscarriages:

About a year and a half after my husband were married, we both felt that we needed to start trying to have a baby.  After another year and a half, we found out we were pregnant.  Everything was completely textbook, with the exception of having a c-section due to my daughter turning breech.  But even the c-section happened textbook.  When our daughter was 17 months, we felt like we should start trying again.  We assumed it might take a little longer since it had with our daughter, but after our first month of trying we found out that baby #2 was on the way.  My pregnancy was identical to the first except this time it was a little boy and I was able to have a successful V-BAC.  Once again, when our little boy was about 16 months, we felt the familiar feeling to start trying again.

Miscarriage #1
It took 3 months before I got a positive test (November 2015).  I should have felt happy, but something just didn’t feel right to me.  At 5 1/2 weeks, I started bleeding.  I sat there on the toilet with tears streaming down my face and begging it to stop and trying to convince myself that it was implantation bleeding but knowing deep down that it wasn’t.  I called my doctor’s office and talked to a nurse who left a message for the doctor to call me back.  He called me a couple of hours later and by then I knew without a doubt what was happening to me.  I was losing my baby.  The doctor had me go to a lab for a blood draw to measure the HCG levels that day and then again 48 hours later.  I continued to miscarry and when he called me with the results, I wasn’t surprised.  My sister called me that day not knowing what was happening and I broke down on the phone.  She came over and I just cried the entire time she was here.

Since I wasn’t very far along, the miscarriage wasn’t very painful physically, but was really hard on me emotionally.  My poor kids didn’t know why I was crying and all I could tell them is that I was sad and didn’t feel good.  In our nightly prayers, my sweet daughter prayed I would feel better.  I strongly believe the prayers of children carry a special kind of power to heaven.

About a week later, my doctor called to check on me.  By this time, the bleeding had tapered off and I was feeling better in general.  I asked when my husband and I could start trying again and he told me to wait for a couple of cycles.  I’d heard many couples have a good success rate trying within 3 months of a miscarriage and my husband and I were still feeling like there was another baby to add to our family.

Miscarriage #2
We got a positive test in January 2016.  I was feeling more hopeful by this time.  All the usual pregnancy symptoms were present and I called the doctor’s office and made an 8 week appointment.  About a week before my appointment, I started feeling less nausea and fatigue.  I thought that maybe it was just lucky that I wasn’t because I was chasing two kids around and feeling less sick was nice.  I went in for my 8 week appointment and everything appeared fine, but considering my miscarriage a few months earlier, the doctor had me schedule an ultrasound to make sure everything was ok.

I went in later that week for the ultrasound (February 2016).  The sonographer found a sac and something he thought could be a baby inside but was difficult to tell.  He told me that based on the size, I was only measuring 6 weeks and 1 day.  He asked if I had given him the correct date for the first day of my last cycle and I assured him I had.  By this time, I was starting to get scared and asked him some basic questions: “Could the baby just be measuring small?”  “What do we do now?”  I could tell he was trying to be optimistic about the situation but he’s been doing ultrasounds for a long time and I think he suspected what I was dreading to hear.  He called the doctor who wanted me to go in for a follow-up ultrasound the next week to see if anything had changed.

Driving home, I felt sick.  Not pregnancy sick.  But my heart hurt and I’m surprised I made it home through the tears.  I told my husband what the sonographer and the doctor had said, but I couldn’t shake the anxious feeling inside that, again, something was wrong.  At my follow-up ultrasound the next week, nothing had changed.  The baby, for whatever reason, had stopped growing and was no longer “viable”, as he put it.  I sat in the car for a long time after my appointment, praying and crying and just so full of emotion that I felt like I was going to burst.  Before driving home, I called my husband, who I’d insisted stay home with the kids due to him getting home late from work right as I needed to be leaving, and told him the news.  I know he did his best to console me over the phone until I got home that night.  Thankfully, the kids were in bed when I came back and I was able to just stand there and cry into my husband’s shoulder.

About 5 days after my ultrasound, my body started to go through another miscarriage.  This time, it was worse because it had been longer.  I would have been 9 weeks if my baby were still alive and growing.  I felt pain in my lower back as my uterus contracted and much of my time was spent between the couch or my bed and the bathroom.  Thankfully, my husband was home during the hardest part and could watch the kids.  I cried a lot and had to try again to explain to my sweet kids that I felt sick and that’s why I was sad.

I felt so lost.  So confused.  I wondered if maybe I just wasn’t living righteously enough.  I should be reading my scriptures more, saying more meaningful prayers, giving more service.  Maybe I just hadn’t earned a baby yet.  At the time, all of these feelings felt so real.  I tried my best to be happy and live in the moment with my kids that I’d been blessed with but in the back of my mind, I was thinking about my miscarriages and wondering if I actually would be able to have any more kids.

Miscarriage #3
At the end of November 2016, 8 months after my last miscarriage, I suspected I could be pregnant again, but waited another 5 days past my missed period to take a test.  The first week of December, I got a positive test.  I showed my husband that night as we got ready for his work party and we both felt happy and optimistic.  I had been holding my breath during the last week, waiting for some sign of miscarriage but seeing that positive filled me with hope.  I had gotten a cough earlier in the week, but because I was pregnant, I wasn’t able to take much to get rid of it faster.  I felt horrible due to lack of sleep, constant coughing, holiday activities, taking care of my kids and so on.  I started taking naps in the middle of the day because I was so exhausted.  Normal pregnancy symptoms appeared right on schedule and I began planning and hoping for the future.  I stayed sick for a while and it turned into acute bronchitis.  I didn’t have a big appetite even though I was hungry and I lived off of saltines, toast and fresh veggies.  I told a couple of people that I was pregnant (who had known about the previous miscarriages) and they congratulated me and told me they hoped for the best.

I made an 8 week appointment with my doctor’s office.  While I was hopeful, I still felt anxious, so I called and requested a blood test to check my HCG levels.  I went in that day and then 48 hours later.  The levels went up, so I felt good and looked forward to my appointment.  Early the next morning, I woke up with a horrible feeling.  I knew something was wrong.  I tried to deny it and fell back into an uneasy sleep.  Later that same morning, I got a call from my doctor’s office.  He told me that while my levels had increased, they weren’t increasing at the rate they should for a normal pregnancy and told me I could have an ectopic pregnancy (one where the egg implants in the tubes rather than the uterus).  He scheduled an appointment for an ultrasound later that day to see if the sonographer could pinpoint the pregnancy’s location.

When I got off the phone, I curled up into a ball on my bed and sobbed.  My husband and kids were gone at the gym and I was by myself.  I prayed so hard to my Heavenly Father.  Why?  Why is this happening again?  Why can’t I keep my babies?  I called my husband and told him what the doctor said.  When he got home, both my kids came into my room and gave me the biggest hugs and kisses and told me they loved me.  My husband did the same and then took the kids and let me have my space to try and process what was happening.

By the time the ultrasound came around, I knew what I was going to see.  It wasn’t ectopic but the sac in the uterus was only measuring 5 weeks and 4 days.  I knew the question before he asked it: did I give the right date for the first day of my last period?  I knew I had.  Just as I had known when I woke up suddenly that morning that things were not going to turn out the way my husband and I had hoped and prayed for. 

Over the next 4 weeks, I continued to go in for ultrasounds.  I still hadn’t miscarried but the doctor wanted to wait and see what happened.  Oddly enough, the baby continued to grow but it still wasn’t measuring within the normal parameters and finally, the sonographer was able to confirm what I had known for the last 5 weeks: my baby wasn’t growing and was no longer “viable”. 

That weekend, I would have been 11 weeks along.  Almost done with my first trimester.  It all seemed so strange and surreal.  A few days later, my body began the miscarriage process for the third time.  I’d had a few weeks to mentally prepare for it, as much as you can prepare for something like this, but it was still hard.  My sweet, sweet kids were perfect angels that first day.  They just wanted me to sit on the couch and read them books for an hour or they played nicely together with their toys.  It was a true blessing.

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It’s been a week and a half since my most recent miscarriage.  I still cry about it.  I’m still trying to come to grips with the fact that, had my first or even my second miscarriage ended differently, I’d be holding my baby.  A part of me wants to be angry and shake my fist at the heavens and ask why not me?  I don’t know the answer.  I don’t know why I’ve had to face this particular trial multiple times. 

But one thing that I’ve been comforted by, amid the pain and sadness and frustration, is a feeling of hope.  A feeling that things will work out.  The love of my Savior.  I know our rainbow baby is coming one day.  And when that day comes, my family and I will rejoice.  In the meantime, I pray for patience and strength.  I feel comforted in the knowledge that I am not alone.  I am joined by other women who have faced this challenge.  By my family and friends. 

And now, by you.  Thank you for taking the time to read through this post.  I know it was long and not a happy topic, but one I felt I needed to share.  So I thank you for sticking with me.  This blog is more than just a place for me to share my recipes or crafts or organization hacks.  Through this blog, one of my greatest hopes is that I’ve been able to reach at least one person who just happened to need to hear/read what it is that I put out into the “blog-osphere”. 

And if you are struggling and need someone to talk to about this, please feel free to email me.  I will be a listening ear.  Or if you are looking for some resources to help you work through your own miscarriage or know how to help someone dealing with one, you can check out a really helpful list my friend Natashia put together when she went through a miscarriage at the end of last year.

Again, thank you for reading and allowing me to share my experience with you.