Thursday, January 9, 2014

About Having Babies

The Huffington Post recently published an article entitled "8 Things We Learned In 2013 About Having Babies".  I won't repeat the whole list here, but there is one item in particular from that list that resonated with me:

#3.  Miscarriage is more common than most people know.

I certainly learned all about that fact last year, and I know many of you can relate.  According to the article:
When researchers with Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx polled a group of more than 1,000 men and women between the ages of 18 and 69, they found that they grossly underestimated how common miscarriage, or the loss of a fetus before the 20th week is: More than half said it occurs in fewer than 6 percent of all pregnancies, but estimates suggest it actually happens in roughly 15 to 20 percent. Moreover, many respondents wrongly identified the major causes, citing stress, oral contraceptives and physical exertion, when, in fact, chromosomal abnormalities are most often to blame. The study wasn't meant to stoke fear, but rather to point out how much misinformation there is about miscarriage, and how that can leave the women and men affected by it feeling very alone.
When I think back to how clueless I was about miscarriage back in early 2013, and how intimately familiar I became with this fact over the course of the year, I wonder what I'd tell my old self if I could rewind the clock.

On the one hand, I can certainly appreciate the old adage "Ignorance is bliss".  While I was aware of the possibility of miscarriage, and even mentioned miscarriage-related fears to Hubby on a couple occasions during our first pregnancy, I was definitely in the camp of people who thought it only affected a small percentage of women.  I even remember looking up some chart that showed the percentage of miscarriage for different ages during different weeks of the pregnancy {for some reason the 5% sticks in my head as the statistical risk I thought I was facing}, and thinking that once I heard a healthy heartbeat and saw an appropriately-sized embryo during my 8 week appointment that I was probably in the clear.  What the hell did I know.

On the other hand, I wonder if I would've been more prepared for what I experienced had I known how common and what the main cause of miscarriage was.  Saying that I felt very alone would be the understatement of the year.  That's actually one of the reasons I started this blog, and why I'm so grateful to have gotten to know each of you who has been through this terrible experience -- I don't think I could've survived emotionally without the support you and others on loss message boards gave me!  I felt like I did something wrong, I was completely unprepared {and deeply frightened & scarred} by what my body was going through physically, and when I first heard the words "chromosomal abnormality" from my doctor I lost my breath and began crying uncontrollably.  I can't help but think that if I'd heard of these things before or had read or known more about miscarriage rates and causes, some parts of the experience wouldn't have been quite so frightening.  Experiencing a miscarriage would've definitely still broken my heart and left emotional scars, but perhaps if I had really known what I could very likely be facing, it would've been easier to handle.  

Yet still, I've experienced this second pregnancy to date through the eyes of someone who's been through the hell of miscarriage, and to be honest my prior experience has kept me from enjoying and sometimes even embracing this pregnancy.  Although I foolishly believed my first pregnancy was going to work out perfectly, those thoughts {wrong as they were} allowed me to look to the future with pure excitement, instead of constantly chasing worst-case scenarios and sometimes-irrational fears from my mind.  I've had a really hard time allowing myself to just be happy and to a certain extent planing for an actual baby to arrive this time around, and I wish with all my heart that weren't so.

I think what I would've told myself is:  You're NOT alone.  Sadly, there are millions of women who have gone through or are currently going through what you are.  You may have to search a little bit to find them, but they are out there -- they need you, and you need them.  But just because miscarriage is more common than you think, doesn't mean that tons of healthy babies are not born everyday, to people just like you.  The odds are still in your favor -- most pregnancies result in healthy babies.  Though it never hurts to prepare for the worst, you should ALWAYS hope for the best.


  1. This is a great post. It's almost like you have said what was in my head exactly. I had entertained the thoughts of miscarriage but I guess I just thought it would never happen to me. I didn't want to think that it could, anyway, and then it did. That's how I found your blog and was inspired to start my own. I'm so glad that you have been there to support others and let them know "they are not alone." Hugs!!

    1. Thank you SOOO much, Mel, really -- from you, those words mean so much! Trust me when I say that I wish neither of us had to experience a miscarriage, but if there's one good thing that's come from that experience it's been getting to know you! I'm so honored that my blog inspired you to start your own, and grateful, too, because I'm a devoted reader of yours! :)

  2. This is exactly how i feel! I have been ttc 18 months and had a miscarriage on Halloween. I have just found out i'm pregnant again and i'm a nervous wreck! I keep thinking something bad is going to happen and the tests aren't dark enough! I can't feel happy coz i feel i have to protect myself if it happens again. I have my first blood test tomorrow and i'm so nervous! eek! How did you get thought? char - this is my blog if you would like to keep in touch

    1. Hi there! Thanks so much for reading and for saying hello! I am so sorry for your loss. I'm also SUPER excited to hear that you're pregnant -- CONGRATULATIONS!!!!! I've been through both events, and I know what it's like. I hope your blood test goes well and that you get very good news! Trust me when I say that I KNOW this is easier said than done, but please try to let yourself be happy and excited! I am currently 21 weeks pregnant and didn't let myself feel these feelings in my 1st, or even the beginning of my 2nd trimesters, and I regret it. I let my feelings of fear trump my feelings of happiness, and I'm sorry I did. The truth is, our feelings aren't going to change the outcome of our pregnancies, so there's no harm in being hopeful -- hope and happiness can only make you feel better!!! Hugs to you!!!!!


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