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What Pregnancy Loss Means To Her

When I posted my opinion on breast cancer games, y’all had lots of opinions.  I received comments and emails from people who thought we all need to “lighten up” and how you had a miscarriage and it didn’t upset you so the argument must be moot.

 I was talking about this with a friend and she explained to me why it upset her.  Her story made me really sad. I asked her to write a guest post on what pregnancy loss means to her so that maybe we can all learn to be a little more understanding.

 

I suffer from infertility, something called RPL, or Recurrent Pregnancy Loss. RPL is often called “habitual abortion.” Isn’t that a nice term?  .34% of women who conceive will suffer RPL.  Often there is NO ‘reason’ found for these losses. (Which means the doctor gives up, tries to convince the woman that her body just doesn’t work, and pushes her towards IVF.)  They also like to blame this on obesity, PCOS, and other lovely things. For treatment to even happen the woman has to undergo horrible invasive testing. The worst for me was an endometrial biopsy.   I was awake for that and it really sucked because they couldn’t get the “flexible soft tube” through my cervix to scrape my walls. I am so glad I get to be so special.

Everyone has SOMETHING that sucks. There will always be someone who has it worse then you. It’s just how it is. But we can’t relate to people who have it worse. We can empathize we can TRY and understand, but if you haven’t been in that persons shoes, there is no way you can “get” it.  We can only know our own stories, after all.

When people hear that I’ve had a loss, quite often they will tell me about when THEY lost a pregnancy and how horrible it was for them. How they cried for weeks and how painful it was and how people just don’t understand. I really do understand that. I get it because I have been there. I lost one. And then another. And another. Then twins. . . When all was said and done, I have lost 10 babies. Ten. Babies.

I try and help others through their loss. (Joni here- she has really, really helped me.  She was there for me and supported me and she is amazing.) I try and make light of what I’m dealing with but in all honesty, sometimes I’m a sobbing mess inside. I want to be seen as this “strong” individual. I don’t want people to feel bad for me. I don’t want to make my friends uncomfortable. So I put a smile on my face and I don’t talk about it.

But when I DO talk about it, this is what happens:

Friend: Oh, I want to sell my kids! They are driving me insane!

Me: at least you have them…

Friend:  :(

Friend then whispers behind my back: “She isn’t over them yet.”

 

So I really, really don’t like to share my feelings or talk about it. What’s the point when it just makes people uncomfortable?  I am viewed by friends as the broken bitch. I’m the person who rains on their parade of bitching about their kids when I would give just about ANYTHING to have a few of mine survive. I would give ANYTHING. And here they are complaining about them. Granted, they have a right to vent, just like I do. But it is hard to vent when my friends walk around me on egg shells.  It’s just not fair that they get the babies and the bitching rights!

There are times when I want to joke about it because if I DON’T joke about it, I’m going to go insane. But then the same thing happens:

 

“You know, cuz I’m the Michelle Dugger of miscarriage…”

:(

 

I really need to laugh sometimes. I need to. I need to cry some times. I need to be able to talk about it without worrying if I’m making someone uncomfortable. My family thinks I should be over this by now. Some of my friends think I’m too angry about it. Honestly? There are days when I’m really AM angry about it. There are days when I want to scream about how unfair it is that I have to live like this.

You know what? If you want to do something for someone that has lost their baby, or babies… Just remember. Remember what it feels like to have those hopes and dreams while cradling a baby in your belly. Remember their little people who never made it Earthside. And for cripes sake, stop saying stupid shit like “it was for the best” or “god will give you a baby when you’re ready” or (my personal favorite) “you just weren’t ready.” 

Rule of thumb: Imagine your mother or your spouse has died. What would you want said to you? This is the same thing. Someone losing a baby is losing a baby. It is horrific, it is tragic, it is real and it hurts. And if you don’t know what to say “I’m sorry” is just fine. Be a friend. Just listen. Bring them meals. Or a plant (preferably a perennial or tree) and plant it in the babe’s honor. Be yourself. I know this is a taboo subject. I know that pregnancy loss is the thing no one wants to talk about or think about, but it’s real. And for people like me… It’s my life.

 

22 Responses to What Pregnancy Loss Means To Her

  1. I find it amazing that people have no sympathy. I can fully understand the lack of empathy, as few that I know have lost that many babies… But the sympathy. I don’t know you and my heart is breaking over that. Ten. Babies.

    I was so blessed to be able to have my one son. And yes, sometimes I did complain/vent…

    I’m sorry. I hope that you will, someday, have your own wee babe to cradle in your arms and become exasperated with.

    Blessings, fruitful, joyful blessings!

  2. I know that even a further along pregnancy loss is taboo sadly. My cousin and I were pregnant at the same time twice now. The first one I lost the pregnancy at 6 weeks. And this last one she ended up losing hers at 34 weeks along. It has been really hard on both us with both loses. I have stood by her side this entire time even though I have not lost a baby that far along but I do understand loss as well. I try to be there for anyone who has suffered this loss.

    I have lost a total of three pregnancies and with a grand total of 4 babies. I am very grateful for the one that I have now and love spending every minute with him as he grows up. I want everyone that this shouldn’t be taboo. Everyone deals loss differently and it needs to be known.

    Joni, I will even stand by your side if you still need to vent. I still cry at times for my 4 angels wishing they were here with us as well.

    • I cannot imagine losing a baby at 34 weeks. My own little girl was born at 34 weeks, after 3 weeks of the doctors stopping my labor and doing everything they could to make the pregnancy last longer. If she had been stillborn or died shortly after, I don’t know how I could have survived. With the pregnancy that I lost, the baby was 16 weeks gestation and that was heart-wrenching as well. S/he was almost perfectly formed, but only about 2 inches long. I did get to hold the baby for a few minutes at the hospital, and I’d already made the decision to place that baby for adoption, but it still broke my heart. The only upside to that was that I hadn’t yet contacted the family that I’d decided should be my baby’s parents.

      I don’t think that women should be expected to ‘get over’ the loss of a baby, no matter the situation. It’s horrible that in our society, anything that causes a person pain is a taboo subject. We would be healthier, happier people (as a society and as individuals) if we were allowed to show all of our emotions – not just the pleasant ones.

  3. I’ve lost 5, maybe 6 pregnancies. I’ve carried 2 to beautiful, healthy term. I love my living children… and I miss the babies I don’t have. This silly game is even less meaningful than any of the previous ones, and far more hurtful.. I’ve seen responses from women who have suffered from infertility, breast cancer, both, and neither; NONE like it.

    I’m so sorry for your losses, and for the insensitivity of the people around you.

  4. You are right. I don’t know what to say. You would make an absolutely wonderful mom. I can only have hope for you. I hope you find yourself in a place where you can adopt a child who needs a mommy as much as you need them. <3 Hugs from Ohio.

  5. Your friend is really brave for sharing that story – it is very personal, after all, and I imagine that it still hurts (and most likely always will). Just today our office got a report on one of our clients (she is 31) who has been trying for a baby by IVF at least half a dozen times since she arrived here in 2009. She has lost the first of her twins this time, and the clinic is desperately trying to help her keep the other one long enough for it to have a chance. I do not know what she is going through (or what your friend has been going through), but I see the desperation in her and her husband’s eyes when they drop by for paperworks.

  6. It has always really rankled me when others assume we should “get over it”. I had a son who was stillborn at 36 weeks. Seven years and two healthy babies later, I’m still not “over it”. I still wonder what I could have done differently (the doctors never really found a reason), and I picture what he would look like now. I’ve healed a lot, and am in a pretty good place emotionally and mentally. But how could you ever really get over something like that?

  7. What a beautiful and touching post. I love the truth and honesty of it. A few times in the last couple years I’ve found myself facing friends who are dealing with incredible losses, losses that I can’t even begin to comprehend, and I want nothing more than to make them feel better. To have the words or the support that will make their pain go away, even just a little or for a while. But sometimes, most of the time, those words just aren’t there.

    But what I’ve learned from these experiences, what I think you’ve captured so well in this post, is that sometimes just accepting that the other person in grieving, accepting that you can’t fix it, and not letting that make you uncomfortable or unavailable is enough.

    I think we all need a whole lot more practice in taking people as they come. I rarely, if ever, joke about not wanting my kids because I have obsessive fears of losing them (and I mean serious, diagnosed, OCD obssession; I’m terrified of that one in a million car accident or cancer that could take away my babies). So I rarely make “take my kids” jokes. But on the off chance that I did, I’d like to think that a friend of mine pointing out that I’m lucky to have them would do just that: Remind me of how lucky I am. And I would be ashamed of myself if I reacted poorly.

    A lot of my friends suffered miscarriages around my pregnancy, and for a long time I tiptoed around those women (and their families). I avoided talking about my pregnancy/baby.

    I’ve also learned that that is not a sustainable state. We all need to just accept each other’s situations. I will try to excersize sensitivity around friends who have lost children (or parents, etc), but I will not pretend I don’t have children. And if my friend expresses grief for their loss, I will take that as an opportunity to support them, not as a reason for me to think of myself and how uncomfortable their pain makes me.

  8. My heart aches for you, and i laughed at the morbid joke.. i’m glad that you can and do have a sense of humor. I don’t know the pain of miscarriage, I, as my husband puts it, “make it look easy. ” 4 kids. I pull my hair out many days.. i never planned on having kids. it just ‘happened’.

    I really despised this game. it sat wrong with me. and i’ve taken to telling people off when i get it in my inbox now. many people don’t stop and think about the other side of the coin. i’ve had several friends hurt by this game. People who thought that their actual pregnancies were jokes! i’ve got family members fighting breast cancer right now as well. it’s just not kosher..really.

    If I knew you, face to face, i’d give you my shoulder to cry on if you needed it. I’d even lend you my minions 😉 (i’ve been told they’re really well behaved.. but well since i’m mom..i rarely see that side haha)

    Honestly, i’m glad i’ve got them all living at home with me once again.. all 4. The way it should be. I have hope that you will be blessed with the same, in whatever manner it comes to you.
    Thank you for being so open and honest. It takes guts and courage to pour your insides out to strangers. you’ve got ’em girl!

  9. Amen. I got the just get over it line too. That is plain crap. These people can’t understand how all your hope and dreams for your baby are just torn from you in an instant and you will never get to meet or know them. It is doubly worse when you’ve done IVF and invested all the time, money, blood, sweat, and tears into a cycle and you know you can’t just get pregnant again with another baby without doing it all over again.

  10. No matter how far along you were, how long it’s been, or at what point in life you are, those were (and still are, imo, but that may start branching out into a religious debate) your babies. You have every right to mourn each and every one of those babies, and if you’re 90 years old and still upset, nobody has the right to criticize you. I may not be able to say I understand and that I’ve been there, but I would certainly be willing to listen.

  11. It is no one’s place to decide how long any other person should grieve. I can not imagine losing 10 babies. I can not imagine how damaging that must be to many facets of your view of yourself. Here’s what I say when someone I know is going through something very hard and I don’t know what to say:

    {{{{hugs}}}}

    Its all I can really offer. When we announced that our son has Down syndrome, I made a point of telling people “we’re okay.” I didn’t even want the “I’m sorries.” Yes, I’m sorry that our son might have extra health problems, but I’m not sorry for our son.

    I definitely think that when you don’t know what to say, LESS is the way to go! “I’m sorry” or hugs are fine. Its the “when you’re ready” crap and the “well medical tests can be wrong” and “if you hope and focus and take good care of yourself, he’ll be born just fine”… they become offensive.

    Sorry to lump our problems together… its the most recent big thing in my life and the closest I can get to actually relating, outside of a threatened miscarriage, which was scary but couldn’t possibly come anywhere near the ballpark of your emotions.

    My heart goes out to you and I hope you one day get to hold that baby of yours.

    {{{{hugs}}}}

  12. I think it is tremendously brave to share such a personal story. I applaud your decision to do so as it is an aspect of life that so rarely gets addressed. Hopefully it will help others learn to be grateful for their own blessings, and respectful of the pain of others.

    I am grateful to have conceived and successfully given birth to a beautiful girl nearly 13 years ago. Although I am often frustrated over my own infertility (and ticking time bomb biological clock!) since having my daughter, I have not had to endure the loss of a baby (let alone multiples) so I can only imagine the pain you must experience. My pregnancy with my daughter was turbulent, with me being on the brink of a “threatened miscarriage” (thanks for the image Doc) for the first trimester and the threat of having a stillborn for the remainder of the time, but in the end she turned out perfect despite being preterm. Thank you for sharing your story with us, and giving us a chance to share ours with you.

    Wishing blessings & miracles for you and yours {HUGS}

  13. How beautiful. I have a friend who has lost so many. It is devastating – and ‘games’ like this on FB are not trivial to her – or anyone else. Thank you both for these posts.

  14. Thank you so much for your post. I commend you on your bravery for talking about and letting other people read your thoughts on this sadly taboo subject. I’m so sorry for your losses. It makes me angry that other people cannot be more understanding about this. Losing a baby in the womb or after is a traumatic experience and nobody has the right to tell you to get over it. Stay strong!

  15. We lost our first baby over 6 yrs ago and to this day I am still not “over it”. I remember that within a week or so of losing my precious first little one people acted like I would be over it already or something. I was stunned for that reaction to be happening already. I spent well over a year in darkness because of my loss. And nearly 2 1/2 years passed before I finally felt healed. Do you know what brought me healing? The birth of my oldest. I felt whole again after having him in my arms.

    However, I am still not “over it”, nor will I ever be. It’s pretty oblivious to expect that something won’t affect someone else just because it doesn’t affect yourself.

    ~Rebekah

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