After receiving a lot of comments on my blog post about our miscarriage, I thought it would be good to write a follow up on what it is like to continue with life. I first want to thank everyone for their kind words and encouragement. As I stated in the post, my husband and I really want to help those of you out there who may experience the same situation. That is why I am writing this post today as well.
Initial Postpartum Thoughts.
After things with the miscarriage had settled down, there were several thoughts that would run through my head from time to time:
- Pregnancies of others. I had a few people who also had miscarriages talk to me about some struggles with handling the pregnancies of friends and family around them. I will admit, when you see people around you getting pregnant and having healthy, happy babies, you do feel bummed. My personal struggle leaned more towards feeling as though others didn’t really appreciate how much of a blessing it is to have a child! I understand more than ever how each of those little munchkins is truly a gift! I had to choose to turn my feelings of “they don’t understand” into, “I should be joyful along with them so they DO understand.” I had to change my perspective. It’s not an easy thing to do, I know. But I encourage you to take that step and see how your change in attitude will not only help you, but those around you as well!
- What if it happens again? This is a very real fear, one that you will most likely face, and one that remains a struggle for me to this day. And why wouldn’t we be worried about this? The first time you have a miscarriage, you don’t necessarily know what caused the complications and you can tend towards a path of, “what if this is the end? what if I won’t have any from now on?” Talk with your significant other or loved ones. Allow yourself to face the fear and use it to be prepared for whatever might be in your future, good or bad. At this point we don’t know what the future will look like, but it does not leave us hopeless! There are other ways to have and grow a family. (Adoption, Foster Parent, etc.) Don’t let this fear rob you of your joy in what your are experiencing in life now, or from the potentially amazing things you and your family can experience together!
- Everything is out of control. There was a short period of time where I felt like I had absolutely no control over my emotions and feelings. I had an overwhelming feeling of anxiety, heaviness and fear. Some may call this postpartum depression. In my opinion (and after looking back on the situation) this was largely due to the massive changes my body just went through. I literally went from being pregnant to not being pregnant in a matter of hours, and especially after being far enough into pregnancy that some major changes had already been happening in my body. There was no “normal” postpartum cycles as you have after a birth (i.e. no nursing, no mothering, etc.). I’m pretty convinced that my hormones were on a roller coaster trying to figure out the correct balance. The biggest help for me was to have family close by at all times and to make sure I was talking and praying through the moments when I felt at my worst. I strongly recommend if you experience this to tell your significant other or loved ones. Let them help you, sit with you, talk with you. You are not alone and when your body recovers you will overcome these feelings!
Continuing a family, with a few “good to know” facts.
After our loss, my husband and I decided we were not going to purposely wait for any period of time before getting pregnant again. We both felt that we were ready to continue growing our family and the doctors told us there was no reason not to continue right away. So we went about our normal lives without birth control, and without really knowing what to expect.
I think it is important to say here that while we have dealt with the loss of a pregnancy, it doesn’t mean we never think about it, or that feelings of sorrow do not creep in. There were a few things that come up after a miscarriage that I didn’t know about until experiencing one myself.
- Crazy Cycles. In the same way that your body does not get back to a normal hormonal cycle after birthing a child, it takes a while to get back to normal after a miscarriage as well.
- False Positives. Despite the fact that you are no longer with child, the hormone levels in your body do not go back to normal right away after a miscarriage. This means that for up to several months after your pregnancy, you can still have a positive pregnancy test and not be pregnant.
It’s not always easy.
In some ways, these two facts mentioned above were strongly working against our sanity.While we made the choice to continue without birth control, I did not think about taking these factors into consideration. And even though looking back I would have still made the same decision, I wish I would have made sure I understood these facts. For almost 3 months we were constantly in a fog, not knowing 100% for sure what was going on with my body.
About 6 weeks after my surgery, I had to take a 5 hour car trip through the mountains. As a person who struggles with car sickness, I desperately wanted to be able to take some motion sickness pills for the drive. Unfortunately a few unclear pregnancy tests left me unable to take anything and car sick in the back seat. A week later my first cycle since the miscarriage began (7 wks after surgery), however I still questioned whether this was a normal cycle or another miscarriage not knowing if the previous pregnancy tests were false or not. While my husband and I were tempted to let the whirlwind of emotions take us over, we decided not to let our fears get the best of us.
Five weeks later and another positive pregnancy test, my husband and I were so confused. We had NO idea what was going on with my body. How long before my body is back to normal? When will we see some stability?
Are We Ready For This?
Two more positive pregnancy tests over the course of 3 weeks finally confirmed in our minds that we were, in fact, pregnant again. This was the point where I was actually most shocked at my emotions. We were very happy and excited, yet I couldn’t help but think of the little one we lost. I was joyful and sad all at the same time. And to be honest, I’m not quite sure why. I think the excitement of what was to come reminded me that I missed out on meeting, holding, and kissing one of these precious little ones. I was happy for another opportunity to have a child, but sad to be reminded that we had one that didn’t make it. I can’t say for sure, but I would think that these kinds of feelings would be common. It was almost the opposite of what I felt before: losing a child made me appreciate the one I had, but this time finding out we were expecting another child made me miss the one we lost.
Life Goes On.
Seven months later I’ve gotten more comfortable with the pregnancy and the excitement and anticipation of another child is building. However, I still struggle with the “what-if’s”. I feel as though I’m paying more attention than I did before to how I eat, what my body feels like, every ache and pain and even fetal movements. It is hard sometimes knowing that even my extra “effort” in tracking this pregnancy won’t necessarily change the outcome, good or bad. Other than the obvious health concerns, I don’t have control over the outcome. But as I mentioned above, I’m working on not letting my nervousness or fear cloud me from the joy of what I’m experiencing right now. Do your best to be healthy and maintain a positive attitude. Allow others to help you out and remind you of all you have to be happy about! What we experienced in the loss of pregnancy was real. The fears and emotions we have now are real. But they do not have to hold us back from being joyful again!
A Note To You.
I realize that while we are fortunate to be expecting again so soon, this does not happen for everyone. I can honestly say I had no idea what to expect or when to expect it following the miscarriage. However, I do know that when you are trying and hoping to get pregnant, it can be hard not to get discouraged when any amount of time goes by. You are not alone. There are those who have been there before you and those around you who love and care about you. Don’t be afraid to ask for help! Seek advice and support. No matter what the outcome, this is not the end, and there is always more to hope for!
*A Personal Disclaimer*
I hope that in the post above you were able to find some insight or understanding into a tough situation. There is always a next step in the process, so don’t give up! For my husband and I, each trial and difficult moment was met with a reaction based on our faith in Jesus Christ. Everything I described above is true, the fears and emotions are real. However, I choose to handle my struggles with the love and hope that Jesus offers. I still struggle today, I still get scared and am fearful and it’s not easy. But my faith tells me that God is good, that He loves me, and that He has a plan for my life and my children. Through this I am able to be joyful, to let go of those fears, and continue moving forward. If you haven’t, I encourage you to look into the hope Jesus Christ can offer you, both in this situation and in the rest of life!
If you have any questions or thoughts, I would love to talk! Feel free to contact me at any time. And thank you again, everyone, for your support. It means more than we can express.