Miscarriages are more common than you think. But they are rarely talked about resulting in many women feeling alone and isolated during this sad time. Here one woman shares her experience and what she’s learnt. This is a grieving parent’s guide.
Nothing shatters your world like child loss. When you’re on your knees, trying to pick up the pieces, trying to put things back together, it can get overwhelming. All around you, the world keeps turning. My husband and I have been through three losses. Each one has been different, but there are some things we had to learn on our own that I wish someone would have told me.
Be as open as you want
Around 1 in 4 women will experience a miscarriage, and 1 in 10 will have difficulty getting or staying pregnant. Even as common as this is, there’s still something of a stigma, an expectation for silence. Many times people will assume talking about what you’re going through will make it worse. That’s your decision to make. It may change from day to day. Don’t feel like it is your job to ensure everyone else feels comfortable. Talk about your little one as much as you need to. Encourage others to talk about them too if that is what you want. Be honest with your feelings. Let people know where your line is, whether they have hurt you.
It’s okay to grieve, even if your situation wasn’t ideal
My husband and I were still dating when we lost our first baby in 2014. My birth control had failed. We were both still in college. He had a part-time job that barely covered a date night or two every month. We had nothing for ourselves and no idea where to even start explaining to our conservative families. Somehow, we would have made it work, but it wasn’t the right time for a baby. We grieved in silence. I struggled with a lot of guilt. We hadn’t had time to stop worrying and begin loving on our baby before they were gone. Please remember this, it doesn’t matter if you were filled with worry and panic or even regret, that was yours. Your baby, your pregnancy, your new future.
Dads hurt differently, not less
There is this notion that because men were not pregnant, miscarriage doesn’t affect them. Each one of our losses affected my husband just as much as it has me. Mama, that precious little one was growing inside of you. Regardless of whether you had a day or fifty years with them, you will always have a different relationship with your child than their father. His grief won’t look the same as yours, but he is still hurting. Try not to get angry with him for this. Daddy, you may feel helpless right now, confused. You’re watching her go through this process. You may feel disconnected from the whole thing. Try not to shut yourself off. Talk to her. Lean on each other.
Those who don’t know will not understand
As common as it is, most people you encounter will not have walked this road. At times, you may feel like a toddler, trying to explain what you’re feeling, why you’re crying. I’d be lying if I said I haven’t been compelled, multiple times, to throw a tantrum. Sometimes they just won’t get it. Try not to confuse lack of understanding with apathy. Most of the time, they do care, even if they have no idea what it feels like. Find a group of people who’ve been there, who are there. There’s so many communities even just online that are solely for bereaved parents to interact.
You will feel happiness again
One day, out of nowhere, it’s going to hit you. Things have changed. Even though it is still there, you don’t feel the weight of your grief as much. Maybe, even for just a short moment, you didn’t feel it at all. That’s okay. It doesn’t mean you’ve forgotten them. It just means you’re getting stronger.
Marissa writes the blog The Fun Part, a place where miscarriages and fertility struggles are openly talked about and shared.