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“You were carried for only a moment, but you will be loved for a lifetime.”
Miscarriage, at any stage of one’s pregnancy, is a heart-breaking loss and can be both emotionally and physically debilitating. While some women receive immense support from family & friends in the aftermath, some are left to silently grieve on their own while those around them avoid broaching this stigmatized topic altogether.
In the discussion below, we talk about the stigma surrounding pregnancy loss, the physical and emotional healing process, and the journey of getting pregnant again.
Meet Sarah, a labor & delivery nurse and mom to her 7-month-old son, two Manx cats and two angel babies. She lives in Minneapolis with her husband and her tiny family. You can find more of her on Instagram @dottidee.
Q. Thanks for talking to us, Sarah. We know it’s been a few months already but congratulations are in order! 😊 What’s the most wonderful thing about being Mom to baby Cillian?
Ans. I want to start by apologizing for taking so long to reply to your thoughtful questions. This weekend was the second anniversary of my due date and it felt like the best time to sit with my thoughts on pregnancy after loss.
Cillian is the light of my life. In a very literal sense. I was in a dark place before I got pregnant with him and he showed me what it felt like to hope again. He is the personification of joy and an old gentle soul that has been such a joy to watch grow and thrive.
Q. We truly admire your courage and strength on being so open about your story of pregnancy after loss. Was it hard to open up to strangers about your journey or did you find it somewhat therapeutic?
Ans. Thank you so much. I found it very therapeutic to share what I was going through. The silence and stigma surrounding pregnancy loss can feel very stifling so being open and transparent through the process was very healing.
Q. Can you tell us a little about your first two pregnancies? In what ways did your losses affect your physical and emotional well-being and sense of self?
Ans. I always knew I was meant to be a mother. Although as a L&D nurse I’m surrounded by the idea of pregnancy loss I never even considered the possibility of it happening to me. My first pregnancy was ectopic. The emotional effect on that came crashing down on me as insecurity over my fertility and ability to be pregnant at all. My second pregnancy loss was three months later as I neared my second trimester. I thought since I had seen a heartbeat that I was safe. I was constantly reassured by those around me that the likelihood of it happening again was slim. That loss made me plummet into a depression like I have never experienced before.
Q. How did these experiences impact your interpersonal relationships with loved ones?
Ans. Loss helps you see those who are willing to be by your side even when you aren’t at your best. I was able to see so much kindness and support in those around me. I really felt my community hold me closely and it’s a feeling I carry with me to this day.
Q. In what and/or in whom would you say you found the most support during this stressful time?
Ans. My husband carried me. He wept with me, he held me as I had my medical miscarriage at home. He cared for me after my ectopic surgery. He let me open up, he listened. He was my rock.
My friends surrounded me with love, they texted, they brought food, flowers, cards... they talked with me on the phone for hours.
My family listened and gave helpful advice.
My coworkers respected my grief and shared with me their own. I felt so much love and support from them.
My community on Instagram became an informal sounding board for my sadness. The responses came in the hundreds. Women who have known this pain, women who haven’t but wanted to send love. And finally, the most healing was the women who experienced it themselves later and reached out to me for advice. To lend that shoulder to cry on in return is humbling beyond words.
Q. Miscarriage can often be a hushed-up topic.
What advice would you give to women who have faced complications during their pregnancy and feel as though they do not have a voice due to the stigma surrounding this topic?
Ans. You are not alone. The thing that shocked me the most was the amount of people who have gone through pregnancy loss that shared their grief with me. We are surrounded in pain that is never shared. Don’t be afraid to reach out for support if you need it.
Q. How does one begin to heal from a miscarriage? What were some of the things that helped you recover, both physically and emotionally, during this period?
Ans. Therapy, journaling, talking, crying... I would write letters to my babies past. And when I was pregnant with my son, I would write letters to him.
Q. How long did it take to physically heal before you could start planning a family again, and what went through your mind at this time?
Ans. I was fortunate to be in a situation medically to be able to try again right away each time after my losses. I was certain if I paused I would never try again out of fear.
Q. Do you have any specific resources that you would strongly recommend for women who have also been through similar situations?
Ans. The only thing I found therapeutic for my grief was to talk about it so I could release it. I know some may find other things helpful so I’ll share a few resources passed on to me.
-- The Untethered Soul by Michael A. Singer
-- The “I had a miscarriage” hashtag and community on Instagram www.instagram.com/ihadamiscarriage/
Q. What would you say to women currently reading this who have gone through miscarriages and to those who are now pregnant after a miscarriage?
Ans. To those who have gone through a miscarriage, you are not alone. I wish I could tell you everything will be okay but you and I both know that no one knows that for sure. Just know you will find a way to your happiness.
To those pregnant after a miscarriage. Slow down. Listen to your body, listen to your baby. As hard as it is, try to enjoy the process. Letting the fear take over you won’t make your pregnancy safer, it will only diminish the joy you can experience with every beautiful milestone.
And if you need a shoulder to cry on you know where to find me.