Not Silent Anymore

Sad woman

Early pregnancy loss is a tragedy that happens to more women than you might expect. About 20 percent of all pregnancies end in miscarriage, but women often suffer their grief alone.

We asked grief expert and mom Alana Sheeren to field questions in the Mom365 Community from women who have lost babies, or who are seeking to support friends and family members who are grieving. Here are excerpts from three members’ questions and Alana’s answers; click here to read the complete forum. We hope that women who are suffering the grief of pregnancy loss will be able to turn to the questions and answers in the forum to help them feel less alone.

I’m afraid I’ll miscarry again

Hi Alana,

Last week I found out at 12 weeks that my baby died at 9 1/2 weeks. I had a D&C last Wednesday. I have not yet received the chromosomal results which may or may not answer any questions about why this happened. We have a beautiful and amazing little girl who turned one last Friday and yes, she has truly been the best medicine. I had seven friends miscarry during my pregnancy with her so I am fully aware at what a miracle it is to have a healthy baby at all. Having said that, it’s still hard when it happens to you. All those hopes. All those dreams. All the planning that went in to having a second baby close to the first because of our ages (37 and 39). I know The Lord has a plan for us which is better than anything we could plan for ourselves but being a planner myself has made the miscarriage so hard to swallow. Starting all over is daunting. I’m afraid it will happen again. But what if everyone gave up after a miscarriage? How many of us would not be here today?—amouthia22 

Dear amouthia22,

Oh this is so fresh. I remember those early days after my first miscarriage — it was surreal. You seem to have a strong faith to support you. Make sure you allow yourself to feel all of your feelings without judgment as much as you can. If planning feels good, by all means continue to plan, but if it makes you feel worse, then let it all go for now.

There is an innocence to pregnancy that goes away when we’ve had a miscarriage or stillbirth. This means there is more fear the next time. It’s helpful to have a good support system in place. Thank you for sharing your story here. Take good care of your heart.—Alana

I have two kids; she’s had two miscarriages. How can I be a good, supportive friend?

Hi Alana,

I have a friend who suffered two miscarriages and is still trying to get pregnant. I have two children. How do I support her and navigate the issues surrounding the fact that I have two children while she’s still trying? Thanks!Momto2boys

Hi Momto2boys,

This is so hard and I commend you for being sensitive to it. There’s no way around the fact that she’s going to have lots of feelings about not having any children yet because of her miscarriages. This can sometimes drive a wedge between friends because it’s tricky to talk about and no one wants to hurt anyone else intentionally. The more you can check in with her and keep the dialogue open, the better. If you’re feeling up to it, you can ask her if it’s hard for her to hear about your kids, or to be around them and check in to see how you can support her, letting her know that her friendship is important to you. She might not know what she needs or she could be really clear.

Then of course the other part of the equation is you — you don’t want to have to walk on eggshells around her, or feel like you can’t talk about your life with your children. That puts too much strain on a friendship too.

Unfortunately there isn’t an easy answer to this. The more you can be honest with each other and really take the time to listen to each other, the greater the chances that your friendship can grow even stronger during this time.—Alana

 

Feeling guilty over the babies I do have

I had a very early miscarriage with my second pregnancy but was devastated nonetheless. I got pregnant with my son a few months later but still thought of that previous baby as lost. I don’t think about it as often as my 4-year-old and 16-month-old keep me very busy. But, when I do think about it, I feel guilty. If that second pregnancy wouldn’t have resulted in a miscarriage, I wouldn’t have the handsome perfect boy I have now and love with all my heart. Is it normal to feel guilty about missing a baby I never really had? Is it normal to not think as often about the miscarriage?—MommaD

Dear MommaD,

Yes, everything you’re describing is very normal. As human beings we are able to feel grief and sadness alongside joy and gratitude. If it bothers you to feel guilty, see if you can reframe the thoughts in your head. You can still love and miss the baby that you didn’t get to hold while being grateful for the beautiful boy you get to snuggle with every day. There’s no conflict there and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with any of those feelings. And it makes sense that you’re not thinking about the miscarriage as much as you did. That’s also human nature.

Giving yourself a little ritual of remembering might feel nice. Something like lighting a candle on a special day, or whenever you feel like it can help make missing your baby seem less like something to keep secret and feeling guilty about and more like honoring a piece of your personal story.—Alana

Click here to read the complete forum.

About the expert:


Alana Sheeren has one beautiful daughter, and she lost her son Benjamin at 23 weeks gestation. She has written a downloadableebook about working through grief called the “Picking Up the Pieces Guide.”  You can find out more about Alana and her work at www.alanasheeren.com.

Photo of grieving woman via Shutterstock.