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Miscarriage - Some Personal Views

This article doesn't tell you what happens medically when you have a miscarriage, or what the reasons were, or how to prevent another one. All we've done is think of things that have helped us get through having miscarriages, and things that haven't, in the hope that they may help someone else.

And yes, some of this advice does contradict itself, but then having a miscarriage is an individual experience, as much as a shared loss, so don't worry if some of the ideas don't sound right for you.

If you are reading this because someone close to you has had a miscarriage, the section on what to say and what not to say may be of help. But remember, it's better to be there for someone than to avoid them out of fear of saying the wrong thing.

Take Your Time

While you are miscarrying, or just after, give yourself time. Most of us realised we shouldn't go back to work to soon, but equally, being alone was a scary prospect.

"Not being on my own for about a week afterwards. I had to make sure I was doing stuff in the evenings or days cos otherwise I would brood too much."

"Having company - various family members rearranged their lives so I wasn't on my own for 10 days."

"Not being left on my own for the first week."

"Firstly, I needed to be alone - whether that was because my 3 miscarriage were quite painful and I was doubled over I don't know, but I needed to be by myself and not do anything."

"Having a day in bed alone to cry with my cats and going away the week after to see family."

"I think I should have taken more time off work, a whole week at least. Both times I went to work on 4th day after finding out about the miscarriage and 2 days after D&C. I felt good initially to be doing something, but since I hadn't told work about the pregnancies, I didn't tell them about the miscarriages and it was very hard trying to be as if everything was ok. I also think I might have gotten over the weekly crying bouts sooner if I had given myself more time in the beginning."

A Trouble Shared

You're not alone. The father of a miscarried child is often forgotten, and even when he is remembered, often suppresses his emotions in order to be 'strong' for his partner. We didn't find that helped.

"It helped hearing my husband get upset about it too (finally) rather than just being there for me."

"Crying loads, and hubby crying too."

"Talking about it with hubby."

"Seeing my hubby upset. It helped to know he understood."

"I needed hubby but hubby was not too good, he was very upset with 1st miscarriage but 2nd & 3rd he seemed to bounce back very quickly."

"My husband eventually (several months later)telling me he had been upset too (it took a screaming row and some wild accusations which I later apologised for on my behalf to get him to let his emotions finally show!) He had been too busy trying to "be positive" on my behalf that he didn't realise that the best thing I could hear was that he felt upset too."

"Men do get ignored. My hubby told me after this miscarriage how hard he found the first one. When waiting in hospital to have the D&C just after the scan I said, "When I am having the op ring x, y and z and then chuck out all the maternity books." Well as I was being wheeled down the corridor he had to leave me and I was there begging him to make this right and not let me go through this and being generally on the verge of hysteria, he told me that people visiting the hospital had to take him to sit down for a while because he was upset about what was happening, but my reaction just took him over the edge. Sadly men are forgotten in this."

"Try to understand that if your partner appears unemotional after a miscarriage that he may well be putting on a front so that he can offer you support. I found the apparent lack of emotion from my own very hard to deal with until he explained that he felt it was his responsibility to be strong for me and the only way he could offer 100% support. It helped me to know that he too had cried - even if it was on his own."

"It didn't help that my husband was being "strong" which I took as being unfeeling! Mars/Venus spring to mind?!"

Its Good To Talk

We found talking to people who knew what it was like was very helpful.

"Hearing about other people's miscarriages, and knowing it hadn't only happened to me - especially when I found out more about those that sounded JUST like my miscarriage - eg a missed one."

"Finding out that friends had been through it too."

"Chatting about it on the forum helped me to cope with the stresses and strains of everyday life and hearing news of others helped me come to terms with my own loss."

"Talking to others who have been through the same thing and now have healthy babies."

"Talked it through some more with people who had similar experiences, that helped me no end."

"Posting on the forum of course!"

"The support I got on this forum"

"I needed you lot on the forum - it helped so much talking to you all and that is why I always try to talk to others on here when it happens - I think we need to make more of an effort to talk to individuals when they message in with their news."

"Of course, the forum has been an enormous source of help and support."

Let People Help

There are practical things that other people can do for you, and that you don't have to do for yourself. They want to help, so let them.

"My sister told friends and family members so that when I called/saw them I didn't have to deal with their initial shock too. (A colleague also told other colleagues for me so that when I returned I didn't have to explain my absence numerous times)."

"If you have an early scan due to bleeding take a partner/friend or relative with you - if the news is bad you will want support."

"If you have an ERPOC you should have someone at home with you - you may not want them there but you will have had an anaesthetic and should rest up."

"The nicest thing someone at home can do is make sure the house is all clean and tidy so it feels good to come back to with food in the fridge and just be there to spoil you."

A Little Knowledge is a Positive Thing

Most of us wanted to know 'why?' and get as much information as we could, even if the information we found didn't answer all the questions we had.

"Finding out as much info on miscarriage as possible so I could understand what happened and that it wasn't my fault'."

"Buying 'Miscarriage -what every woman should know' (I think that's the title) and reading it cover to cover. Basically reading anything I could on the subject."

"Getting as much info about miscarriage as possible. Someone recommended the book, Miscarriage, What Every Woman Needs To Know, by Professor Lesley Regan. It's a positive book that helped me believe that I had no control over what happened. It also answered a lot of my questions."

"I read and read article after article on the subject. I needed to know what could/can cause an miscarriage. I really would recommend 'Miscarriage' By Lesley Regan."

"After 2nd miscarriage I went to the doc and asked for some tests to be done, I felt I had to be investigating every angle I couldn't just sit around. So I read, I had tests and I also cut out everything that could interfere with it happening again. I made hubby give up smoking, I gave up coffee & improved my diet."

"Having a wonderfully supportive GP who sent me for tests after the second one as I was still bleeding/in pain. Although the tests didn't find much (just a bit of endometriosis) and nothing that indicated why I miscarried at least it was reassuring in some ways."

"Reading everything I could get my hands on about the subject (another plug for Lesley Regan's book)."

"For me what helped most was reading the very thin hospital miscarriage booklet, where it said that thoughts or doing sports do not cause miscarriage. Now this sounds crazy since it should be obvious that they don't, but after my first miscarriage I was very irrational about many things for a good while. I felt very guilty that I had at times thought along the lines of "This pregnancy is so hard, nausea is awful, do I really have to go through this much longer." I had also kept going to the gym and was afraid I'd caused the miscarriage somehow. In reality it is next to impossible to cause a miscarriage in a healthy pregnancy, otherwise we wouldn't need abortions.

Also what helped was finding out about missed miscarriages, which I had never heard of. The first (substitute) doctor I saw for a scan where the miscarriage was spotted, said a missed miscarriage was like when dogs have false pregnancies. I thought I was a mental case and had just imagined being pregnant. It wasn't until the day after when I had D&C and a nurse explained to me that I had indeed really been pregnant."

"If you want lots of info and answers then read Miscarriage by Prof Lesley Regan."

"Reading up on the reasons behind a miscarriage (Prof Regan's book)"

"I found talking about it helped me and also reading books about coping. It wasn't until then that I realised I could grieve for the person I had lost. Until then I wasn't sure whether you could grieve for someone you had not met and that it was not my fault."

Easy Does It

After a few days, you might feel a lot better, and think this is 'over'. Then it hits again. We found that recovering emotionally from a miscarriage took longer than we were expecting, and the aftershocks came back when we were least expecting them.

"Accepting that even though I feel 'fine' a lot of the time, there will be 'off' days, and that's ok."

"If you're having a bad day, just go with it. Best to get all the emotions out."

"What helped was allowing myself a grieving period. A lot of people don't understand why it can take so long to get over a miscarriage, especially if it was early on, but I didn't allow that to affect me. I took my time and dealt with it day by day, I refused to excuse or hide the way I felt, as I had every reason the world to grieve."

"I accepted that when it happened my life changed forever. By this I mean, in those few weeks we had named our child, discussed furniture, what we would do at Christmas etc. That changed our future that day and we will never get that back. When you realise that I think it is the first step to recovery. You have to grieve for that child, and for that future you have made."

"Accepted that I would be upset at times, and even 6 months later can still think about it."

The Spirit of Things

Sometimes spiritual things help. We all have different beliefs and religions, but there are a variety of things you can do to 'say goodbye'.

"My mum has had 2 miscarriages, one before I was born and one 10 years ago. Something that helped her was organising a sort of memorial service for those who lost babies either during the 9 months or shortly after birth. Initially she was involved with one at the hospital chapel (she's a nurse), then she organised one in our parish church, to which she had a good turn out. The service was a series of readings and meditations, and as each person left they were given a white carnation for each baby they'd lost. On to it was tied a tag with the words; 'So briefly known, so dearly loved, but never forgotten.'"

"Planted a tree."

"Seeing our little baby and saying goodbye properly. (I miscarried at 16 weeks)
And then having our baby blessed by the hospital chaplain."

"Having a service of remembrance in the hospital church (after the baby had come back from post-mortem and been cremated) At the service we were given a memento which we keep beside our bed - so she's always in our thoughts."

"I did a ritual, which a 'witch' friend of mine came up with. I took two plain white candles, two plain and rubbed some lavender essential oil onto the wick and down the sides of both candles , and on my forehead, temples and wrists. I wrote my name on one candle and the words 'grief, anger, loss' on the other candle. Then burnt some of the lavender oil in a ceramic pot before lighting the candles, which must be placed in holders right next to each other on a table. After lighting them, I visualised myself coming out of this situation empowered by the experience and planning to be a wonderful mother soon. I visualised a white light surrounding my body as I said out loud:

"Though my grief is real
With the light of my life
It will now all heal
I take control of the situation
And cast aside this depression"

So will it be.

I let the candles burn for an hour or two and then snuffed them out with a spoon. This ritual is most effective if repeated on 9 consecutive nights at the same time or just before going to bed and each time moving the candle which represents depression one inch away from the candle with your name on it after saying the incantation out loud. On the ninth night I simply let the candles burn out completely and disposed of any wax left.

The important part of this ritual is the act of moving the depression away from oneself."

From Little Acorns

Miscellaneous other things that helped:

"Planting seeds (I'm growing tomatoes and herbs). I'm a bad gardener, so I picked something that would grow without too much help from me, and it's really satisfying to see these plants I helped create. Also oddly comforting to see that a few seeds - treated like all the rest - just didn't grow. No-one's fault, it just didn't happen. Drew my own comparisons with that one."

"Planting seeds. I watch them grow perfectly, watching some grow and die, some grow deformed and others not at all. Reinforced 'mother nature' for me. You know it is luck."

"What helped too was exercise and some physical pampering: facials and reflexology. The workouts and treatments made me reconnect with my body, which I felt had let me down. Taking care of myself made me appreciate myself more as I also deep down felt that there was something wrong with me to have had a miscarriage. Facials also helped with post-miscarriage acne which was due to the hormonal upheaval."

"I found that writing my thoughts down was incredibly useful very early on. I'd said all I could say really to my hubby, my mum and my closest friends but I still had so much in me wanting to come out. When I felt I was going to burst but I didn't actually want to cry (which also helped enormously) writing things down went a long way to sorting my emotions out."

"Watching a weepy film with my husband and both crying. It helped us bring out our feelings and progress with the healing process."

"Writing silly poems, that's how everyone first got to know me as Tigger on the forum. I found it easier saying how I felt that way."

"I admit I went in the nursery to be after the first miscarriage and smashed loads of things. You know how in the movies and TV they just swipe stuff of the table and I did that, leant against the wall and slumped to the floor in floods of tears. I can laugh now, but I felt so much better. I had a lot of anger that time and that got it out."

"Bach's Rescue Remedy - I was given this by my local hospital & whether it works or not, it certainly made me feel a bit more in control during my more hysterical moments."

"Being angry (Daniella Westbrook was a particular target)!"

"If you can take a break even if just for a weekend, a total change of scenery can really help. However much you may not feel like it if you go with a partner, family or good friends who will understand your weaker moments it will take your mind off things."

Letting People Know

Do you tell people or don't you? We did different things and found it to be both helpful and unhelpful - largely depending on whom you tell.

"Having people know - rather than not know as at least I wasn't hiding a big part of my life. Although I can understand people not telling people too."

"Talking about it to a couple of close friends really helped."

"I also needed friends & family to know - but hated some of the 'quotes' that came back."

"Talking to a close friend about it"

"My work colleagues who told me to go home and rest when I was in limbo (didn't know if I was going to miscarriage or not). And who were sympathetic when I went back to work. My in-laws who were lovely and kept phoning up to see how I was and if there was any news."

"Not telling anyone at the time as I couldn't deal with other people's emotions."

"When people trying to console you but come out with crass comments - however shallow or hurtful they seem - remember these people are only trying to help. They do not know what to say and are doing their best (however hard it may be to believe sometimes). Imagine someone told you some incredibly sad and shocking news - would you always say exactly the right thing?"

Those Little Reminders….

"Hiding all pregnancy magazines/books afterwards."

"Putting all pregnancy and maternity info/clothes etc in a special place - not so much hiding it away as keeping it safe for next time."

"Hiding all the pregnancy books."

When Every Else Has a Baby

Other people, other people's pregnancies, and our own 'ghost' pregnancies…

"Not avoiding babies if it will impact on my social life. Yes, it's been hard sometimes, but if the alternative is to sit at home and think miserable thoughts, I'd prefer to be out there, looking at babies and thinking 'Ours, when we have it, will be SO much more beautiful than that!'."

"When you see pregnant people or other peoples babies, remember they are not yours. Their pregnancy is something very different and you do not know how long it took or what they had to go through in order to achieve it. I find this helps dealing with natural feelings of jealousy."

"Also, now that I am a good few weeks past the miscarriage which was at 11 weeks, I have found that I have put a block on working out where I would be at this stage because I feel personally that it would only be self-destructive. If I find my mind edging that way then I will tell myself "no" and think of other things that aren't related. It works for me but I understand it's probably very difficult to do."

"Is to say that I'm finding that looking to the future, rather than at 'what stage would I be at now' is much more healthy after an miscarriage. It's so natural to think 'I'd be at 9 weeks now', but if I think like that I just get too depressed - best to think 'We'll do it by the end of the year.', and then if it doesn't happen, just move the goalposts a little!"

"With the pregnancies that I miscarriaged I didn't figure out a due date too closely and didn't keep counting the weeks after the miscarriage at all, so I later didn't have a day when I knew I'd have been due to bum me out and didn't compare myself to people at the same stage. Of course I had a general idea and it felt bad to think a year later, that I'd be a mum now if things had turned differently. Still, it wasn't a huge mountain to climb over."

Feeling Better

After some time, we tried to see the positive things that had come out of our experiences - although none of us thanked anyone else for pointing them out - they had to come from us.

Overall though, the consensus was that where the miscarriage was known about, we much preferred it if someone could tell us that they were sorry, and at least acknowledge it in some way, than if they ignored it.

"Trying to think positively about it 'well, at least we can get pregnant now' (although only helped a while afterwards)."

"Most importantly for me though was I never gave up hope, I told myself I will have a baby, hubby & I are a good couple and I had made my mind up it would happen for us - stay positive."

"Being as positive as possible (this took quite a few months before I got this far!). We decorated the nursery and started buying stuff for a baby in January and I got pregnant for a 4th time in February. 27 weeks later Harry is hopefully hanging on in there."

"Knowing that we can get pregnant helps."

"Realising just how much stronger hubby and I are together having gone through this."

"A cliché but the pain did fade over time. I accepted what had happened and moved on to starting trying to conceive again."

"One thing, slightly off topic, in a weird way one positive thing has come out of my miscarriage. When I first got pregnant it happened the first month of trying to conceive and I was a bit shocked and, to be honest, ambivalent. Having a miscarriage and then 7 months of trying to conceive has made me realise how much of a blessing pregnancy is."

"Hope that might I help someone else. I just want to say on this forum that my husband was incredibly amazingly supportive - I had never realised just how strong the bloke is until our miscarriage and it has brought us closer than ever. There can be positive things come out of negative."

"Trying again straight away."

The Tricky Times

So what didn't help? And what did we wish people hadn't said?

"Being told I hadn't known anything was wrong because I'd never been pregnant before."

"Being told 'at least it happened early'. That really didn't help, made me worry about it happening later another time."

"People ignoring the fact that it ever happened. OK, sometimes it's really nice to forget, but I did appreciate very much people who said 'I'm sorry about your miscarriage'. Meant it felt more real to me than forgotten about."

"Seeing/hearing about those who are at the same stage I would have been at."

"Trite comments like 'its nature's way', etc."

"Seeing people who you know are pregnant and are at the same stage. However, not all pregnant people had this effect on me."

"I went to a 'healer' for help as I still had a lot of emotional baggage. She seemed so nice but ended up bullying me into more sessions and being very unprofessional. (Shame as I have had some wonderful healing sessions with honest healers) Just be aware that people can try and take advantage whilst you are vulnerable."

"People saying "There will be others"."

"People avoiding the issue. I have friends who still haven't acknowledged what happened."

"The lack of consistency in the advice I was given by various members of hospital staff about trying again."

"Being treated terribly by the doctor in A&E and him almost not believing me, even though I think I passed the sac thing in the sample of wee I gave him to test! I got sent home with no advice, no sympathy, nothing and that really made me feel so bad. Luckily my GP was great, but I had to wait another day to see her because I miscarried on a Saturday morning."

"Comments from a so called friend (with two kids) that "Never mind - I should try again straight away" It was the last thing I wanted to do and I resented the fact that she didn't have a clue what I was going through. And similarly comments like "it wasn't meant to be" etc. That didn't help one little bit, especially coming from those who didn't know what you go through. If they wanted to help a simple "I am sorry" would have been enough and "how are you"."

"Comments from my b**ch of a manager who kept going on about babies knowing that I had just lost mine. I should have taken more time off - I was an emotional wreck for a while afterwards."

"The hospital which told me to go away and miscarry and take a paracetamol for the pain (yeah that really helped)."

"My husband who had me hoovering and tidying the house the day after I started bleeding. I was furious, but knew that it was too late then anyway. I think it was his way of dealing with it - getting back to normality."

"The usual comments from the "experts" who say to you "I know someone who had xxx miscarriages and went on to have a healthy baby etc. etc." I know they are trying to cheer us up but it really doesn't help at all."

"People that know, not acknowledging that anything has happened. "

"Charting - it made the previous losses more acute in some ways, especially as I had got pregnan twithout planning and yet when we started really trying it took 10 months."

"Being told well at least it was early on. It doesn't matter what stage you were at in my opinion its still heartbreaking."

"Two of the miscarriages not being recognised by the medical profession due to no positive pregnancy test result. The second and worst one we realised as I was doubled over in pain, bleeding badly etc. GP was sure that was what it was but because I had started bleeding on the Thursday/Friday and couldn't get to see him until the Tuesday there was no HCG left to measure. He was sure it was a miscarriage but it couldn't "officially" be counted as one, by the 3rd I didn't even bother going to the doctors. "

"Being told my current pregnancy is a replacement."

"Feeling guilty during this pregnancy for not enjoying it and worrying about every little thing."

"Trying to carry on like it didn't matter and I didn't care."

"People hurt me by saying "Oh don't worry you'll get another chance" and "it's natures way of saying there's something wrong with this one" and my own biological clock ticking away and wondering how much time have I got left and how many more chances will I have."

"I have found it very hard to deal with some friends who are either pregnant or with new babies so I'm afraid that I have had to avoid them otherwise I end up back at square one and a sobbing wreck! (Forum buddies excepted of course)."

"Ignoring so-called well-meaning advice. I found that people who said such things as "Well, most women have at least one" or telling me I would be pregnant again very soon, (sooner than they thought as I lost a twin) really upset me. It was as if they were saying that my baby would be replaced and that isn't the case. As anyone who has had a miscarriage knows, it was unique right from conception, which is why I am still upset about my baby not having its brother or sister with it, and wondering how alike or different they would have been. In some ways, my baby is a constant reminder of the one I lost, although I do appreciate what I have."

"People (including family and friends) who say
1) At least it was early
2) Something was wrong so it was a good thing
3) You are young and can get pregnant again... followed by wanting monthly updates!
4) You can have kids why are you so upset
5) Come on don't sit around and mope get back to work and focus on other things
6) Oh such and such is pregnant and is due when you were...
7) People who ignore it. At work people in my office knew and most didn't say a word but were eager to ask my friend when I was off sick if I was pregnant. Not on. I feel that if you come across someone you know who has had this happen, acknowledge it. I can't tell you how bad I felt when waiting for someone to say sorry. I know it is hard as people fear upsetting you, but I would rather cry than bottle it up, and it made my life in the office very hard for a while as I felt like it didn't matter to them. Don't be embarrassed to acknowledge something and upset someone. It helps.
8) Ignoring Hubby/Partner.

"3 girls at work getting pregnant accidentally in the 2 months since my miscarriage. Real agony."

"People not knowing and asking when we were going to start "trying."

The Clear Blue Line

All those fears and feelings don't go away if you are lucky enough to get pregnant again. This was one of the most difficult times for us. What helped us to stop panicking when pregnant after a miscarriage? Not much!

"You will be a nervous wreck, but it is perfectly normal. I think that we all worry endlessly anyway, so you wont be much different. I am desperately waiting for a week tomorrow when baby is considered "viable", so at least it will have a fighting chance if it comes really early. "

"As the mum of 2, I can say that you never stop worrying. First pregnancy, then birth, then every day of their lives. All you can do is take it easy and try to relax."

"Well the visualisation techniques that I read about in an article about the effects of stress on pregnancy helped in the early days, but I am afraid I am still constantly looking for reassurance. My blood pressure went sky high for my booking in appointment and I have no doubt that it will be again for my 20 week scan Friday."

"On the other hand the early scan was great and hearing the heartbeat between scans was reassuring too."

"I tell you what having forumites to talk too has definitely helped!!!!!!!!!!!"

"I worried EVERY time I got pregnant, be it with my ONE full termer or any of the many pregnancies"

"Nothing really, except maybe being strapped to a scan machine for 9 months! After a miscarriage I read so much and while it was helpful, it also made me more aware how something could go wrong at every stage in the pg, getting past the 12 weeks mark isn't an instant worry-solver. The only thing that helps me unfortunately is keeping a low profile, not getting too excited about the pregnancy yet, not buying anything and trying to put it out of my mind as much as possible, although it isn't possible."

"I'm 17 weeks now and eagerly awaiting my 20 week scan, which now feels like a definite goal and should let me relax more, start buying things etc. Knowing myself, the reassurance won't last long and I may just as well start looking forward to the next doctor's appointment or whatever as the passage I need to cross to worry-free pregnancy."

"I was a nervous wreck until after my 20 week scan (we didn't have one at 12 weeks) but then I began to relax a bit. Once the baby starts moving, it becomes really reassuring. Strangely enough, having a miscarriage made me slow down and take things much easier when I became pregnant again, I refused to take on extra work and do anything that would make me stressed."

"Pregnancy symptoms have helped a little bit. All day sickness and sore boobs, headaches, backache, constipation and the burping syndrome - didn't have any thing like that last time! BUT I got them all this time and my tummy is starting to expand now which again never happened before. So although I feel sick all the time I feel wonderful!!!"

"My GP took the time to try to reassure me and booked me in for an early scan, which was very helpful. He very cleverly turned all the statistics round so that I started seeing them in a more positive light. The physio, whom I was seeing for an entirely different reason, was so thrilled when I said I was pregnant again that she hugged me, which was a bit of a surprise! And my lovely husband (who was one of those who tried to be 'strong' for me after the miscarriage until I accused him of not caring) has been really communicative throughout. Now I can feel the baby move (it appears to be looping the loop at the moment)I feel a lot more confident, but won't be 100% until it's born".

"Scans and more scans!! The heartbeat at 8 weeks was a relief, also feeling different - I am definitely more sick this time (been sick and constantly feel sick rather than when hungry as before), also much more tired this time and have gone off tea (unheard of for me!!)"

"Funnily enough telling a few people this time - those who knew about miscarriage, first time round we told no one, this time round told parents and closest friends - that helped enormously someone to confide in when you were paranoid! It also made life easier at work that my closest friend knew why a food run was important!! Also mentally felt we acknowledged the existence of the baby second time round, first time almost ignored it!!"

"The 12 week scan was also a milestone as even after seeing the heartbeat at 8 weeks still worried till 12 weeks but saw a definite baby at 12 weeks, I'm still a bit concerned until 20 week scan but not so much as from 8 to 12 weeks."

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