What No One Tells You About Life After Miscarriage

Life after miscarriage

I’m so sorry. There is no heart beat.”

Those words will forever be ingrained in my memory. That day, everything came to an abrupt halt in my life. I changed. My outlook on life changed. The way I looked at and interacted with my 8 year old changed. My relationship with my husband changed.

Everything. Changed.

It’s actually kind of funny, how my life changed after I gave birth to Eli. And now, the same had happened with our second child.

The problem?

After a while, no one gives a shit! Because my second child is dead!

miscarriage, depression, anxiety, loss, pregnancy

When Eli was born, it seemed like the entire world wanted nothing more than to touch, hug, feel, kiss and talk about him. Family and friends would tell me they saw an item at the store and instantly thought about Eli. This sweet little human was my world – and apparently, everyone else thought he was the most precious thing, too!

I was showered with compliments about how cute and precious he was.

Everyone had some sort of advise about what to expect from here on out. Everything from babbles, pees, poops, to smiles and every ‘first‘ (laugh, hand grip, crawl, step, etc.) was covered. And everyone was extremely eager to help in any way possible. One of the most helpful things I was offered was also probably the most simple form of help:

“Call me, even if all you need is to talk.”

Those words were heaven sent. I was able to call just about anyone for any reason and do nothing else but rant.

Elijah had explosive diarrhea? No problem. I called family or friends.

I was exhausted from dealing with normal baby craziness, full-time academic schedule, and my husband’s disabilities? No problem. I called family or friends.

Elijah cried seemingly for no reason? No problem. I called family or friends. Hell, even complete strangers were open to conversations.

So, when my husband and I announced we were finally having our second child after waiting for so long to have another baby, I wasn’t expecting anything less. Everyone seemed to be extremely excited and delighted that we finally decided to have another child. And here we were: pregnant.

What I didn’t know, though, was what would happen if we didn’t actually birth our child.

I didn’t know what would happen if I wasn’t able to talk about baby crankiness, baby pee, baby poop, baby barf, baby giggles, baby smiles, baby anything for that matter!

I wish someone would’ve told me

I really wish someone would have told me that my child only counts if she is actually born and lives to do all those things. Nobody told me that if I had a miscarriage, the support would slowly disappear. No one told me that my loss would even come to annoy or offend others after a while.

Family members and friends who have had the privilege and blessing to carry and give birth to a healthy child since my miscarriage, have shared their happiness at every given opportunity. And with every shared detail, picture and factoid, people have openly shown support.

But no one told me that my blessing, over time, would matter less than everyone else’ blessings.

As I am watching other women’s children being hailed as miracles; my child doesn’t seem to deserve anything more than some form of “It was meant to be,” or “She’s an angel now.

What the hell does that even mean?

She’s an angel now.

I understand this may be a way to try to make me feel more comforted, but her being an angel doesn’t help my grief much. Her being an angel doesn’t take away the perception that seemingly every other woman living on god’s green earth has carried and birthed a perfectly healthy child. All while I waited years to have another child and for her to be taken away from me.

This is probably the most heart-warming comment, out of all the comments I’ve received. So, for that, I am thankful. But it doesn’t take away the feeling that this is just a generic response to an uncomfortable situation.

It was meant to be.

What? This is the most infuriating comment. And it seems like it becomes more popular to say the more time passes. It’s been a little over a year since I lost my baby and the “It was meant to be,” “You should start to get over it,” and “It was God’s plan” have become more frequent.

Every time I mention my lost child, one or all three of these things happen:

  1. The conversation gets cut short
      • Any mention of my loss and any feelings or emotions that come with that loss, trigger an automatic topic changer. I mean, not even uncomfortable discussions about politics are being shifted as fast as my expression of grief for the loss of my child. Even something simple as me mentioning my child’s birthday triggers a mass exodus.
      • But boy, was everyone up my ass when we first announced the pregnancy!

  2. Any of the above comments are expressed
    • It was meant to be.How and why is losing a child be meant to be?
    • Would they say the same thing to a mother whose child is terminally ill?
    • Would they say the same thing to a mother whose child is disabled?
    • What would happen if someone told a mother of a terminally ill child that their illness is “God’s plan?
    • Would they tell the mother that they “should start to get over” the difficult and unimaginable emotions and hardship that come with terminal illness or disabilities?
  3. I am simply being told to look to the future
    • I do look to the future. But my future includes my children!
    • I have two children (for now), and both are part of my present life and my future.
    • Why is it so difficult to understand that I have two children, but lost one?
    • Why am I expected to look to the future, but never mention my lost child? All the while my counterparts are allowed to look to the future and brag about their children on a daily basis?
Why can’t I just talk?

When Elijah was born, family, friends and complete strangers offered all kinds of help; including just letting me rant. After my miscarriage? The first few weeks, my loss seemed to matter. Now? Not so much anymore.

Now, even the slightest mention of my second baby is marked by discomfort or just plain annoyance.

I’m not saying that I want a pity party. No, I don’t need that.

Actually, I was kind of expecting to have to go through this without much help. But the most frustrating, hurtful, devastating and downright infuriating thing about this journey in my life is the blatant contrast to my life after giving birth to Elijah and my life after miscarriage.

No one told me that life after a miscarriage can feel this lonely.

I encourage you to continue living life, stay hopeful, and never stop talking about your children; no matter how much you feel others don’t want to listen. Them being uncomfortable does not trump your grief or the fact that you ARE a mother! 

Disclaimer: Everything I share is solely based on my personal experience and is for informational purposes only. This page contains affiliate links. For more information, please view my disclosure policy.


 

15 comments

  1. Bonnie McConaughy says:

    I cannot begin to understand how you feel as I have never lost a baby, but I know that I would feel similarly about wanting people to listen and just let me talk if I were in that situation. If you ever need to talk abut something, please feel free to message or email me.

  2. Dawn says:

    I’m in tears right now reading your post and comments. I lost my first pregnancy, then had two girls six years apart, then lost our last little girl. I lost our last little girl 2yrs ago this Mother’s Day. She was to be due after or around thanksgiving. I thank you for being brave enough to post something for those of us that have lost a babies. I still have serious grief and my life will never be the same. I experience the same things you have and I seriously get to the point where I’d like to punch someone in the face for saying it. I can’t even speak to my mom about it anymore bc she says I should focus on the children in front of me and I’m taking away from them by holding on to my grief. Don’t worry- I haven’t punched her! (Hopefully the visual at least made you giggle. Finding levity keeps me sane)
    All I have found that helps is my husband who has been amazing and he sincerely felt the loss as much as I did and empathizes still and online ladies like yourself. I sincerely wish we could all get together and give real physical hugs. I’ve met plenty of women who have had miscarriages, but just don’t seem to be as affected as I am. That makes me feel alone too like I’m the weird one who can’t “move on”. She was our last attempt at having a baby and we want to consider adoption if we could afford it. I can never replace her and like was said part of your soul disappears along with that baby- the what could have been will always haunt me. I think knowing you’ve ended that part of your life with a failure is what compounds my guilt. I know we will be reunited in heaven one day and I will get to rock my babies. But I still cry -I still don’t understand – I still cringe when my friends get pregnant and have babies and I still feel cheated.

    • Alisha says:

      Oh no, dear! That was never my intention…I’m sorry!

      Yes, this pain, is one of a kind. I have never experienced something this heart-wrenching and painful, and would never wish it onto someone else. I’m glad your husband has been a great support system for you. I don’t think I would have been able to make it without my husband. And it’s crazy, because I’ve felt like my pain and loss is nothing compared to the demons he has to face on a regular basis and the things he’s witnessed in war. But he’s been so supportive and telling me that I shouldn’t compare my loss and pain to his. So, having that support system is very important in this process!

      I’m not sure if other women who have experienced miscarriages are necessarily less affected by their loss. Miscarriage and infertility still hold a stigma in our society that seems to encourage women to be silent in their grief. I am hoping to be part of a change that will encourage women to not feel ashamed about their grief!
      I whole-heartily understand the feeling of being cheated. I’m sometimes amazed at the rate some of the people I know are able to just “pop out their kids.” It sounds really mean, but when you’re struggling with infertility and miscarriages, it just seems like everyone around you is having one baby after another; while you’re patiently waiting your turn that never seems to come your way!

      I’m glad you guys are considering adoption! That’s amazing! I hope things will work out. I wish the adoption journey wasn’t so intimidating and costly, though. Although, I have read that there are programs through state agencies that may be able to help.
      Will you keep me updated? I’d love to hear about your adoption journey, if you choose so.

  3. chenpsych says:

    I see you’ve experienced a lot of suffering after your miscarriage. I won’t say sorry, ’cause I know you’re a survivor. I wish you only the best in your mommy life and beyond.

  4. Claudia says:

    I’m so sorry you went through this. I had a miscarriage in June and I’m experiencing similar feelings, though I have found some support in my group of friends some more than others as well as the online community. I do feel like at some point someone is going to tell me to just get over it and then I’ll lose it, of course. I don’t know what the right amount of time to grieve is, but may be there isn’t a set amount of time. It’s all very confusing and painful. I’m sorry your baby is important.

    • Alisha says:

      Again, I’m so sorry for your loss. It’s been a little over a year since I’ve lost our baby and it’s gotten a little easier to get through the day. But there hasn’t been one day I didn’t think about her. I was able to do a lot more during Christmas this time around. And I found a really sweet ornament that was hung on our tree for her. Hopefully, the more we talk about miscarriage, the more attention we bring to this topic; and the less awkward people will feel around us while we are grieving. I wish you a peaceful journey towards healing.

  5. Mary Peterson (@carolinatwinmom) says:

    So SO many people need to read this post! Human beings can be such idiots. Why can’t people realize that when a woman brings up a difficult topic, 99% of the time, she just needs to be listened to? On a positive note, going through a miscarriage, I did become aware of so many more women who I had no idea experienced the same loss. Oddly, it was comforting for me to know that other women understood how my soul left my body the day I heard the same words you did.

    My hope is that, one day, women won’t feel the need to stifle their emotions and can speak about this type of loss more freely.

    A very well-written post….thank you.
    #MMBH

    • Alisha says:

      Mary,

      Thank you so much for your kind words! I was hoping I’d be able to reach other women with this piece. We should not have to feel as though we must grieve on our own. I’m sorry for your loss, and I completely agree with you; it is quite comforting to know that I am not the only woman who feels as though she is not quite whole anymore after a miscarriage.

  6. Jenny @ Unremarkable Files says:

    I am so sorry! I have lost pregnancies before and I know exactly what you mean. As a culture, we really suck at dealing with other people’s grief. Try not to take it personally, there is NOTHING wrong with you for talking about your children – no matter how long they were able to live here with you. Just keep doing it. Keep celebrating the fact that your baby is a part of your family, and other people will get used to it. We’re just not used to it because nobody talks about having miscarried. I hope you can find support from other women who know what you’re going through (if not in person, you can find them online!). I felt like that was what helped me the most. They will totally understand when you talk about your child and not get awkward about it.
    #MMBH

    • Alisha says:

      Hi Jenny,

      Thank you for your kind words. I am so sorry for your own losses. You are totally right, our culture seems to have absolutely no clue how to handle other peoples’ losses. Although, I will say that there seems to be a difference between losing someone’s grandparent, for instance, and having a miscarriage. I can talk about my grandfather all day long and what a wonderful man he was and no one bats an eye; but talking about my unborn child makes people weirdly uncomfortable. Luckily, I do have a few people I am able to talk to about this, as they have had their own experiences. One of my dear friends, who is practically my sister-in-law, just had her own little miracle/rainbow baby and has been very supportive.

  7. August Pfizenmayer says:

    Wow, I really enjoyed the raw honesty of this post. People react similarly to me when I mention I have schizophrenia. They get awkward and change the topic. It was refreshing to read something that wasn’t just inspirational bullcrap. It was real and I appreciate that.

    • Alisha says:

      Thank you so much for your comment, August! I’ll be honest, I was a bit worried posting this and I have been sitting on this post for a good 2 months or so. Not sure if it was the whole “New Year” thing, or just me deciding that it was time to think about my own healing process that made me hit the publish button. =) One thing I would like to accomplish with my blog is to combat mental health and invisible diseases stigmas! It feels as though disability, medical or mental health conditions are only legitimate if one can physically see the ailment. But so many of us live with these things and they never become physically visible! I actually took a glimpse of your site and find it quite intriguing!

    • Alisha says:

      Carmen,
      No need to be sorry. So many other women have experienced, or will experience, a miscarriage; but often times it seems as though society doesn’t allow us to talk about it. I totally understand that unless someone’s lived through it, they will not understand all of these emotions. However, I think it is important that we start to normalize, for lack of better words, this type of conversation; in the hopes that those who have not experienced a miscarriage will feel less “awkward” when they are faced with it.
      Thank you for your comment. I really do appreciate it; especially because miscarriage can be somewhat of a taboo topic.

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