Thank you so much for the love and support y’all showed Edwin and me yesterday after we shared our happy news! I’ve been overcome with gratitude ever since!! Today’s post is a long one so buckle up. This is also probably the most personal post I’ve ever written. We waited until almost the third trimester to share our pregnancy news, not because we aren’t excited – we’re over the moon! – but because I really felt like protecting our little bubble.
My experience with getting pregnant and staying pregnant changed how I see the world and changed how I think about pregnancy announcements (I can tell you right now you’ll never see me announcing a pregnancy on a holiday like Thanksgiving, Christmas, Mother’s Day, or Father’s Day because, while joyous, seeing those posts was extremely difficult). So, we waited until the time was right for us. I also knew that when the time was right, I’d write this post. For me personally, yesterday’s post wasn’t complete without today’s post so here goes….
I had a miscarriage.
The road to this pregnancy has not been easy.
It’s been far different from anything I would have imagined. I have such an extreme gratitude for my body and my health as well as such profound respect for every woman who has ever struggled with any aspect of conception or pregnancy. Like anything, it is truly impossible to understand what it is like to go through a miscarriage unless you’ve experienced it yourself.
I tend to be a pretty open person and pretty comfortable with my feelings. I don’t hold my cards too close to my chest. So, I recognize that this post might seem like an overshare of personal information to some of you. If it’s not for you, then I completely understand and respect your opinion. For me, I feel like I couldn’t share our joyous news from yesterday about our healthy pregnancy without sharing the other side of the story.
Our miscarriage is part of our story.
It really feels like a lie to only share the good news. After our miscarriage, I read a few miscarriage posts from other bloggers and they helped me. So, I hope this post reaches even just one person who is in need of a little extra love and support in this area. A miscarriage really is one of life’s traumas but it unfortunately is an extremely common one. So, I see absolutely no reason not to talk about it and absolutely no reason to keep it hidden…
Our Pregnancy Journey
For starters, I had a really hard transition from going off birth control. Never before in my life have I felt like I was struggling with anxiety or depression until going off of the pill. There was about a two-month period where I really struggled to get out of bed in the morning and truly struggled to feel like myself and understand the way I was feeling. Thankfully, it was a phase and I leveled out and got back to being me. It just took a bit of time and me reaching out to loved ones to express how I was feeling and to ask for support.
When it came to the timing of trying, it might come as no surprise that I was ready before Edwin. I know this isn’t always the case. But, between the two of us, as the female, I was the one that was ready to go. We were completely open about it all and waited for a time that worked for both of us. It was very important to me for Edwin to feel heard and ready before we started trying.
The minute we decided to officially start trying, I was pretty shocked at the stress I felt around it. No one was putting stress on me. I was putting it on myself. I’m generally a very laid back person so I was honestly in disbelief by how much I struggled with the concept of having something I wanted (i.e. pregnancy) be so out of my control. During this time, I went on a lot of walks to de-stress. And talked a lot with one of my best friends who is a mom. She gave me so much perspective that I couldn’t see at the time and I will always be grateful! I also wrote this post about how to get out of your own head in light of this time.
We got pregnant.
We were extremely lucky last summer (summer 2019) to get pregnant the second month we tried. In all honestly, I had lots of thoughts like “Wow! That was easy! I don’t know what all my stress was about! We’re so lucky!” running through my head. If you’ve ever been pregnant, then you know that you start making plans well before you are actually pregnant. Then, the day you find out you are pregnant, your whole world changes and your plans become real.
During the time we were pregnant, I loved the planning and the conversations Edwin and I had about our baby, our growing family, our house, holidays, and so much more. Telling Edwin we were pregnant and showing him the positive pregnancy test was so incredibly special. And something I will always remember even though it turned into loss. Sometimes, I look back on that day and on the time we were pregnant and I feel like I’m thinking back on someone else’s life. We were so very happy until we weren’t. I look at photos of myself from that time and I barely feel like it was me.
I miscarried at about 8 weeks.
It happened a few days shy of a 9 week appointment we had with my doctor. We didn’t know anything was wrong until I started cramping and bleeding. My body miscarried the whole pregnancy so I did not need a D&C. The miscarriage in full lasted a week. Three to four days of that week were really the bulk of it and the days I was really in physical pain.
The emotional pain of seeing and feeling your baby pass through your body in this way is a pain I don’t really have words for. I can’t imagine that I’ll ever forget the doctor appointment confirming what I knew was happening to my body. Everyone at our doctor’s office was extremely kind and supportive of us, which I am eternally grateful for.
I knew in my bones that I was miscarrying but I was still pretty numb and in denial until we got to the doctor. Never in my life did I picture that I would be sitting in the waiting room with silent tears streaming down my face while holding my husband’s hand. When we were in the appointment, I couldn’t bring myself to look at the screen during the ultrasound. The physical and emotional pain was honestly too great. I hate giving blood more than anything so the subsequent blood work I had to do that day and in the weeks that followed was a little dose of torture for me as well.
In all, the appointment was one of those things where you find yourself living your life and it’s impossible to imagine that it is in fact your life. I can’t explain it. It was traumatic but my doctor and the nurses really were the silver lining.
The real silver lining in the whole experience was Edwin.
I never needed to have this experience and didn’t need to grow closer to him in this way but it happened and we’re so much stronger! I can’t imagine having gone through this with anyone other than Edwin by my side. To say that he was incredible in every way would be the understatement of the year. He went above and beyond for me and for us and I feel so grateful for him and his love.
Of course, Edwin experienced loss too but he still managed to pick up the pieces when I struggled to. The miscarriage strengthen our marriage and our love for one another. I never questioned that Edwin would be a wonderful husband and father. But he really stepped up in a way I could never have known without experiencing something like this.
Another thing I really learned through the whole experience was the power of hope.
Through some coaching, I really worked on replacing stress with hope. Anything I was stressed about, I worked on reframing and replacing the stress with hope. Instead of being stressed about something, how could I be hopeful about it? It was at times hard but really worth it every step of the way. Hope is so powerful and so positive. I urge you to embrace it and don’t deny it if you find yourself needing it.
In addition to Edwin, I really got through the miscarriage thanks to my relationships with the Lord, my family, and my friends.
Three friends in particular were absolute rocks throughout the experience. At the start of my recovery and healing process, my dad gave me the greatest gift. He told me that I now had a tremendous opportunity to grow my relationship with God, which is an opportunity that doesn’t come along every day. This changed my whole perspective and really rocked my world in the best way. Dad, I’ll never forget this!
Both Edwin’s and my families were incredibly supportive and there for us in every way. Thank goodness for mothers! Mine is just the best! The support I felt from my girlfriends was also undeniable. I will be forever thankful for two of my best friends who unfortunately knew all too well how I was feeling after experiencing their own similar losses. I mentioned it before but you can’t understand the pain unless you’ve experienced it yourself. And I really relied on my friends who had.
Female friendships are one of the greatest gifts in this word.
I really hit the jackpot with these two and so many others. If any of you are or do sadly go through a miscarriage, I really do recommend talking with your girlfriends who can relate because they will know when to listen, when to console, what to say, and perhaps most importantly what not to say (more on that below). Thank you to every single person who loved on us extra hard during our miscarriage and the months that followed!
Edwin and I also welcomed Hopper into our lives while healing from the miscarriage. A dog obviously isn’t the same as a baby but we were so ready to grow our family and our hearts were wide open so we leaned into that and were blessed with the most loving pup in the world! He is an absolute sweetie who wouldn’t have come into our lives if we hadn’t miscarried. Blessings really do come in all shapes and sizes.
After a miscarriage, it’s not always easy to bounce back.
I can’t speak for every woman but it wasn’t easy for me. There were many bad difficult days as well as good bright days. I can’t remember exactly when but it was weeks until I realized I had a day without tears. Even on good days, there were sad moments. You also can’t try to get pregnant again right away so the whole thing feels very out of your control, which added to my sadness.
After I miscarried, something I really struggled with in conversations with others was when people said things to me like “Just wait, you will get pregnant and know your own joy of pregnancy”.
I imagine it’s different for everyone who has a miscarriage but, for me, there was nothing more gut-wrenching that I could hear. What I didn’t understand and still don’t understand is how people could say something along those lines. I WAS pregnant. I DID know the joy of pregnancy. But I simply had that joy taken away. The amount of insensitive comments made to me (keep in mind they were unintentional from people who didn’t and couldn’t understand) were astounding. I have the utmost empathy for any women who is struggling to or can’t conceive. I can only imagine the bone-headed things you hear and the daily reminders you must see, feel, and hear. And I will by no means pretend that I can relate because I simply can’t but I can empathize with you, love you, support you, and pray for you.
I know it’s hard to know what to say to someone you know going through a miscarriage. And I wouldn’t have known had I not gone through one. So, I thought I’d share some thoughts on what to say and really what not to say. Other women with similar experiences to mine might feel differently but this was my experience. I know that, when said, all of the things I say not to say below are said out of love, support, and kindness. I appreciate that completely but would still warn against saying them.
What To Say, Or Not Say, To A Friend Going Through A Miscarriage:
1. Don’t say “oh my friend’s cousin had two miscarriage and now she has three kids!” or “my friend from high school had a miscarriage too. I know it’s so hard.”
Here’s the thing… miscarriages are incredibly common (1 in 4 pregnancies end up as a miscarriage) but that doesn’t mean that they aren’t a traumatic event. Unless you yourself have had a miscarriage, don’t offer up someone you know as an example so you can relate. Accept that you can’t relate and, honestly, be grateful that you can’t relate because it means you haven’t had a miscarriage.
Attaching another random person to someone’s miscarriage by saying things like “my friend from high school had a miscarriage too. I know it’s so hard” honestly undermines the person currently going through the miscarriage and makes their struggle and trauma seem small and inconsequential. I can honestly say that I know these comments were meant well and out of kindness. But they are extremely painful to hear.
2. Don’t say “Just wait, you will get pregnant and know your own joy of pregnancy.”
As I said earlier, women who have gone through a miscarriage have obviously been pregnant before and they know the joy of being pregnant. Comments like these are just another extremely painful reminder that the joy was taken away.
3. If you are pregnant and you’re telling a friend your happy news after the friend suffered a miscarriage, don’t say “we weren’t even trying, it just happened.”
Yes, I know multiple women who truly were shocked to find out they were pregnant and who truly got pregnant in a situation where they weren’t trying (usually in instances of breastfeeding and not having gotten their periods back, having gone off the pill for 1 month… situations like that). However, I feel pretty strongly that if you aren’t on any birth control or are having unprotected sex and you get pregnant, then that doesn’t fall under the category of “not trying.” Sure, you can be tracking your monthly calendar or not but even so, if you aren’t using contraceptive/protection then it seems pretty obvious that you can get pregnant any month.
I’m kind of at a loss with this one. I imagine people say it to their friends to try to soften the blow and make it seem like they weren’t planning to have to tell the news that they are pregnant while you aren’t. However, it hurts and comes off weird and competitive as in, you might have been trying but we weren’t. I don’t know. Other women might feel differently than me on this one but I struggled with it.
4. Don’t keep a pregnancy from a friend who has suffered a miscarriage.
Instead, treat the friend like you always would with love, care, and respect and like a confidante that you’d share your news with. By no means do I recommend telling a friend you know is recovering from a miscarriage in a group setting or on a group text though. Tell her one-on-one in person or on the phone.
5. Don’t say “December will be here so soon! You’ll be able to start trying again in no time.”
This one is so so easy to say and in a sense, you can attach hope to this one. However, I’d urge you to not say it too soon to a friend after a miscarriage and to be careful with how and when you say it. When you want to get pregnant and can’t/aren’t yet and after you’ve had a miscarriage, every day, week, and month seems so much longer. A few months might be nothing to you but if your friend is waiting for the okay from her doctor to be able to start trying again and then has the waiting game of actually trying ahead, then a few months is a very long time.
Keep in mind too that it’s a long time to want something and not be able to control it at all. In the beginning of my recovery process, these comments broke me. After a while, as time passed, I felt a lot more hope attached to these comments. It’s a tricky line to walk so just be gentle with it.
6. Don’t shy away from a friend after a miscarriage out of fear of not knowing what to say or fear of having a hard conversation.
Pick up the phone to let them know you’re there and listen when they are ready to talk. I know exactly which friends of mine I shared my news with who never hesitated to call, text, drop by, or check in on me throughout the months following my miscarriage just as I know the friends who didn’t. And I will say that it really put a spotlight on which friends I knew were there for me unconditionally. I love you all so much!
7. Realize that if you are pregnant that any friends you have recovering from a miscarriage will be extremely excited for you.
It’s completely normal to go through a miscarriage and be overjoyed for your pregnant friends while also being sad for yourself. I really felt the two feelings as completely separate feelings, not intertwined ones.
8. Realize that a friend who has gone through a miscarriage won’t just “be better” one day.
It is an everyday thing. In the beginning, it’s an all-day thing. Then, for me it moved to everyday but not all day. I’d say though that it was pretty much always the first thing I thought about when I woke up and the last thing I thought about before I went to sleep up until we were pregnant again.
9. Do listen to your friends recovering from a miscarriage.
The fact of the matter is that you don’t know what to say if you haven’t experienced it yourself. So, instead of trying to say the right thing, listen to your friend, be a shoulder to cry on, be a sounding board, answer the phone, etc. If you practice listening, then I venture to say that you’ll be a lot better equipped with what to say because you will know where your friend is at.
After writing this, I feel badly because I shared quite a few “don’ts” and I don’t mean to come off negatively at all. I’m not sure how to avoid the “don’ts” so I hope you found them helpful. This post very well might not relate to you now but save it for a rainy day if you ever need support in this area for yourself or a loved one (although I whole heartedly hope you don’t!).
I’m going to write a post dedicated to my first trimester of my current healthy pregnancy because it in and of itself was a very confusing time for me full of positives and negatives. I would honestly say that my healing process from our miscarriage lasted throughout the first trimester of my current pregnancy.
From the bottom of my heart, THANK YOU FOR ALL THE SUPPORT YESTERDAY!
Edwin and I are overjoyed to be welcoming a baby into our family and I’m thrilled I get to share it all with you. Becoming a parent is not easy so I hope you know that if you are struggling, I am reaching out through this blog post and giving you a very supportive hug. To all the women out there who have had one or more miscarriages, who are struggling with conception or infertility or anything else, you are stronger than strong. I’d love to give each and every one of you a hug full of warmth, love, and support. I’m in awe of each one of you!! To everyone who made it to the bottom of this post, I love you guys! Thank you for reading! I’m excited to share some more positive pregnancy posts with y’all in the coming months!! xx
Photography by Hannah Alyssa