A year ago I had a miscarriage and it forever changed my life. It’s not something I ever knew was so common nor did I think it would ever happen to me. However, 1 in 4 women are likely to experience a miscarriage. That is a SHOCKING statistic and so the more we know the more we can help one another out. I never wanted to be apart of that statistic but I am and I learned a lot about myself as well as about how others handle grief in the process. I want to continue to share my story in hopes that it helps myself and others heal. Knowing what to say when someone has a miscarriage is super helpful because most brush it off and let me tell you a miscarriage is hard, and the last thing anyone needs is to be told “at least you got pregnant” when they are mourning the loss of not only their baby but what their future may have been.
One Year After a Miscarriage
Here we are a year later after my miscarriage and my life is changed forever. Last year on March 31st I wasn’t sure how I was going to get through it. However, I have become stronger, have set firmer boundaries and truly have less time for people who weren’t able to show up for me when I was at my lowest. I also have learned how to talk to others who are experiencing grief. I am by no means an expert and I still have work to do but I thought sharing my story from the past year and what I think is helpful to say or not say may be helpful to even one person so that you too can show support to that 1 in 4 person in your life.
This past year we decided to try again and we were lucky enough to become pregnant and now have a 7 week old baby boy. That in an of itself was a process and I was bitter and angry and upset and felt that I had to be grateful every second of my pregnancy because of words that people had said to me. I felt that if I complained people would think that my grief wasn’t real and that I must have moved on so easily and so fluidly like nothing ever happened. I spent the entire pregnancy worried. I also felt guilty. Guilty that I got pregnant so easily. Guilty that the pregnancy was healthy when others were struggling. Guilty that I was replacing my last baby with a new one. So, here’s a little update on what the past year post miscarriage has been like and of course my ideas on what to say when someone has a miscarriage.
It’s Ok to Not Be Ok
I don’t know who needs to hear this but it’s ok to not be ok.
I needed to hear that this time last year. It was what helped me heal. I tried to put on a happy face. Heck, I worked the day of my miscarriage even though I had slept maybe 2 hours and had horrible contractions and bleeding. I felt like I had to move on. I felt like I had to be ok. Until I wasn’t and realized it was ok to not be ok.
It’s been one year today since my miscarriage and it has truly changed me forever. I tried to power through but it wasn’t that easy.
I never thought I’d be sharing all of this personal information on the internet but I found other’s journeys helped me so I want to keep sharing in hopes that we can normalize it and help bring more healing help to those that need it.
I am 1 in 4. A statistic I didn’t know existed and didn’t ever dream of being a part of. Just because it’s common doesn’t mean it’s easy. I still wonder what if every single day.
Time helps you move forward but it doesn’t make you forget. I am so lucky to have a little man to hold in my arms every day and for that I’m thankful but that doesn’t mean my past is erased. And that’s what’s so hard is that now I’m supposed to just be okay. And while I am mostly okay I still have moments where I am resentful and sad. I wonder what if and I feel guilty for feeling all of that when I have a baby to take care of. I keep thinking “my baby would be X months old right now” even though I have a 7 week old here that I love so much.
I remember crying anytime I’d open social media. It was torture to see everyone pregnant and having babies. I was bitter, angry, upset & broken. I started to withdraw and became out of touch with even my closest friends. It sucked. However, I took some time off of social media to stop scrolling. If you haven’t done that in a while, I highly recommend it. I got outside and I stopped googling why miscarriages happen. Guess what? They just do.
And then I shared my story. I became a part of a club I never wanted to become a part of with so many women who didn’t ask to join either. The strength of this underground club and their stories is truly something to behold. Through my story and the stories of others I began to heal. They shared not only the sadness they felt but also how they were doing months to years later. It was so comforting to know that there was a way through it all.
And then I got pregnant again. I was so scared. I was also bitter that my first pregnancy experience had been taken from me. I now had to go through a pregnancy after a loss. I saw people posting about how they were scared to lose their baby but they didn’t. They had healthy pregnancies with no history of miscarriage. I was healthy. I prioritized my nutrition. I was active. I was careful. Why me? I also heard people joke about quarantine babies and I was angry because had my first not ended in loss it wouldn’t have been considered that. It wasn’t funny to me. I had planned to get pregnant not because we were locked down but because we wanted to start a family.
So much has changed in a year and for that I’m forever grateful. I’m way less bitter now but I’m so much more aware of the anxiety that pregnancy brings to women. A funny thing happened, I stopped googling and started living. My pregnancy was far more relaxed than I could’ve imagined. Motherhood is the same. My miscarriage taught me how much was out of my control. That doesn’t mean I don’t worry but I learned I had to let go. Just know that if you’re going though something keep going. It’s ok to not be ok. Seek help and know that brighter days are ahead.
What to Say When Someone Has a Miscarriage
Now that you are caught up on my journey, let’s talk about how we can support others going through this, shall we? We will start with what NOT to say. I wish I could say I hadn’t heard any of these, but, well, I have. It sucked. The last thing I wanted to hear was that “at least you got pregnant”. I understand that what they meant to say was that there are plenty of women who struggle with infertility, 1 in 8, in fact. However, what I heard was “don’t be sad, it’s not a big deal.” But to me, it was a big deal. I had spent a lot of my adult life waiting to be “ready” to have kids and when I finally was and was SO excited to see a positive pregnancy test, I was devastated to have it come to an end. I had started to plan out our future and what that would look like. Not only did I lose that baby, I lost what could have been and the future we saw for our family.
When reaching out to a friend who has gone through a miscarriage, here are some things that while may be good intentioned just are not helpful…
What NOT to Say:
- At least it happened early
- It wasn’t meant to be.
- Everything happens for a reason.
- At least you got pregnant.
- You can try again!
- …nothing at all…
Now that we know what NOT to say, here are some simple yet helpful things to say to someone going through a miscarriage…
What to Say When Someone Has a Miscarriage:
- I’m so sorry for your loss.
- Are you ok?
- How can I support you right now?
- Grief has no timeline, take all the time you need.
- It wasn’t your fault.
- You did nothing wrong.
- All your feelings are valid.
- …send cards, flowers, messages, food, etc….
The key is to just show up. You may say the wrong thing but try to course correct. Be there for your friend and know that they are probably going to be a lesser version of themselves. They will be ok, they’re just not right now. They need your support, they don’t need you to fix it. And remember just because they’re laughing doesn’t mean they didn’t stay up crying all night the night before.
Feel free to comment with other things you have found helpful either when going through a miscarriage or any grief in your life. The more we know what is and isn’t helpful the more we can start helping one another heal instead of adding to the trauma.