My heart aches for the children I’ll never have because of severe fibroids. A few years ago, I chose to have a hysterectomy because the fibroids were causing so much pain that I struggled to do simple tasks throughout the day. It was one of the most challenging decisions I’ve ever made because of the realization that I would never have biological children. I lost children in the past. My pregnancies were complex because I was too anemic, and then fibroids caused problems down the road. When my marriage fell apart, I thought that I’d settle down again and maybe have children, but that wasn’t in the cards.
I get irritated with people who stress the importance of having children. There is so much pressure on having kids that society forgets it’s a tender subject for those who either can’t have children or don’t want them. When I first got married, I didn’t want kids. Or rather, I didn’t want kids with the man I married. Maybe my subconscious knew more than I did, but I found myself later in life wanting a child. But it made me think about my children that didn’t survive. Will I see them when I leave this earth? Was it just a pipe dream? Why was I so empty when everyone else around me was settling down and starting families? It took a long time to recognize that I wasn’t alone. Women who miscarry are some of the least discussed topics because it’s such a sensitive subject. So many women feel shame and hurt. They often feel less of a woman than those who have had children. Here’s a newsflash for them. It takes strength to walk through trauma like miscarriages. Instead of looking down on these women, society needs to hold them in higher regard.
I’ll grant you the fact that miscarriages are something a woman never gets over. But it’s not just the woman who is affected. The person she has a family with goes through their stages of grief. They are involved because they feel so helpless too. They never know what to say or what words of comfort will bring to the woman going through the experience. Sometimes the best thing a person can do in those situations is to be there. Let the person who has suffered this trauma cry, get angry, vent, communicate, or deal with their emotions by being their rock. My ex-husband didn’t know what to say or how to handle the miscarriage. I felt like a complete failure on so many levels, and I didn’t trust him. He was always off doing his thing, and I felt abandoned. There’s nothing like having this hollowness tearing away at your soul like you are plunging down a never-ending well. For those who have suffered a miscarriage and still had children, I applaud you. Life blessed you beyond measure. Yet, for those women who have never carried a child to term or lost a child, remember that you aren’t alone.
I wanted to get some concrete information on miscarriages, so I went straight to the MayoClinic’s site to get some facts. Here’s some of what I found.
“Miscarriage is the spontaneous loss of a pregnancy before the 20th week. About 10 to 20 percent of known pregnancies end in miscarriage. But the actual number is likely higher because many miscarriages occur so early in pregnancy that a woman doesn’t realize she’s pregnant.
Miscarriage is a somewhat loaded term — possibly suggesting that something was amiss in the carrying of the pregnancy. This item is rarely true. Most miscarriages occur because the fetus isn’t developing typically.” Its symptoms are as follows:
“Most miscarriages occur before the 12th week of pregnancy.
Signs and symptoms of a miscarriage might include:
- Vaginal spotting or bleeding
- Pain or cramping in your abdomen or lower back
- Fluid or tissue passing from your vagina.”
Again, this information comes directly from the Mayo Clinics site.
Because I’ve been in these shoes, I can tell you from experience that women who have gone through the nightmare need your support. What they don’t need is for you to say something that will rub them the wrong way. Here are a few examples of what NOT to say to women that have gone through this ordeal. These eight statements came directly from PARENTS.com. I can say that the information below may have come from other authors, but it’s accurate and relevant.
- “It wasn’t a real baby.”
This statement makes me want to slap people. “When a woman learns she is pregnant, many times there is a bond created. So many women who learn they are pregnant will do anything to protect their child, even before the child is born.” They see their hips widening, their bodies changing, and take notice of changes. They don’t need you to be condescending.
2. “At least you weren’t further along.”
“The further along you are indeed in your pregnancy, the more complications can happen during the loss—but this phrase tries to diminish the pain felt, perpetuating the idea that a baby lost in the first trimester doesn’t necessitate any grief. The pain—both physical and emotional—is genuine, even in the very early stages.” I can tell you from experience that the pain can feel sharper than any knife cutting into your skin. It’s a piercing feeling that no one should have to endure.
3. “It wasn’t meant to be.”
“When hearing this phrase during the grief of loss, it can compound feelings that that person has done something wrong or that the person believes you’re not fit to be a parent.” Every person struggles when they go through something like this. When someone who suffers a loss this great hears this statement, their mind tells them that they are a failure or deserved to lose a child. If you can’t say anything that helps, zip it.
4. “Well, at least you can get pregnant.”
How in the hell does anyone know if you can get pregnant again or not? That’s like saying at least you still can carry to term when they don’t know what the hell is going on with your body. Ignorance comes in all shapes and sizes, and statements like the above are no exception. “There are a lot of women in the world who struggle to get pregnant, and that struggle comes with its pain and grief, but rarely is “pregnancy” the end goal for any woman. Getting pregnant is the first step to parenthood, and a woman who miscarries are robbed of that seemingly natural right. Plus, there’s no reason to compare one woman’s struggles to another’s.” No one’s body is the same, so why would their pregnancies be the same?
5. “This happens to everyone; it’s not a big deal.”
“For many women seeking support, this phrase is heartbreaking. Miscarriage is certainly common, but that doesn’t negate the need for support, compassion, and healthy grieving that comes with loss.” Maybe it isn’t a big deal for you, but it’s a big deal to the person experiencing it and those they love. Compassion goes a long way over time.
6. “Maybe you should have/shouldn’t have…”
“It can be very hard on a mom’s heart when she finds out her baby is gone, and she may instinctively blame herself, wondering what she did to cause this and why her body failed her. Hearing those statements from someone who is supposed to be supportive is the last thing she needs.” That’s like when I hear people say “I told you so.” It’s the wrong thing to say because they are already dealing with a lot of emotions. Your opinion won’t bring the baby back. Think how you would feel if the shoe were on the other foot.
7. “You’ll be fine in a few days.”
“For some women, the grieving period is concise after a miscarriage, and that’s OK. However, for others, the grief can last a while, and several other factors can complicate it—so telling someone they’re going to be fine in a few days, whether that comes from a friend or doctor, is very misleading and dismissive. The physical side effects can last several weeks, and she may need even longer to work through the emotional aspects of loss. ” And don’t kid yourself. You might think that women are fine after small amounts of time, but sooner or later, those women will need to deal with their grief, and if you aren’t careful, you may get the brunt of their emotions.
8. “Be grateful for what you have.”
“When someone is in pain, most of us know that telling them to “suck it up” isn’t exactly helpful. This phrase, often said to women who have older children and are grieving their miscarriage, is the same sentiment, just dressed up a little differently. Regardless of the number of children you’ve already given birth to, it’s perfectly normal to grieve after losing a pregnancy.”
I hope none of you ever experience loss like this. It’s hard enough when you lose a child that you’ve birthed, raised, loved, and had the opportunity to get to know. But when you live with miscarriages, you wonder what the child would have looked like, whose personality they take after, what talents they might have had, and how their laugh would have sounded. There’s a lot of other questions that people who have experienced this go through as well. The biggest thing to remember is that if it hasn’t happened to you, you can’t begin to fathom what the person who has lost their child is dealing with in their life. If you have and still managed to have children, you might understand to a point, but you managed to have children; other women aren’t so lucky. I hope you all have a wonderful day and can see this information as helpful when facing others going through battles you may not understand.