Early miscarriages are unfortunately very common, yet they are very stigmatized.
- “They are so common, so it’s not that big of deal.”
- “At least you weren’t too far along.”
- “At least the baby hadn’t developed much.”
- “It will just be like a period.”
- “It’s too early to see any tissue.”
- “You didn’t even know the gender yet.”
- “There will be more chances.”
- “It happened for a reason.”
- “At least it wasn’t a real baby yet.”
- “At least you can get pregnant.”
- “You should be over this by now.”
- “Time heals all wounds.”
For various reasons (I believe in large part due to the abortion culture that minimizes unborn life….yes, that even hugely permeates Christian circles), early losses are not seen as that big of a deal.
People somehow think that with a miscarriage…you were pregnant….and now you’re just not. This begs the question….where then does the baby go? It doesn’t just vanish. It’s not simply “Oh I’m not pregnant anymore.” It’s not a simple period that comes and goes right on schedule. It is an actual physical process.
I recognize that there is a spectrum of experiences, and mine may not have been the same as yours. But here are 8 things I personally was unprepared for with my early miscarriages.
- Pregnancy symptoms might continue after your baby has died, and even after the baby has passed from your body. I remember experiencing nausea after our baby was gone and it was utterly heartbreaking. It will take a while for your body’s hormones to go back down and for a while your body will continue to act as if it is pregnant, due to the presence of HCG in your system.
- It was like a labor. The labor process was most easily seen in my late miscarriage (post pending on that), but even with my two 6 week losses, my body followed a labor pattern. The cramping began, it intensified, and shortly after the most intense cramps/contractions, I could feel the baby and sac coming out. A miscarriage is not just a period….it is your body giving birth to a baby. Yes, a very tiny baby. But it is still a process.
- You might be able to see your baby. I was, of course, hoping that I would be able to see the baby, but being so early, I was assuming it would not be possible. With my first loss, I might have been able to identify it, but I am not sure. With my second, I was fairly certain, and after looking at images online, it did seem to confirm that what I was seeing was the sac with my tiny child inside. Here is a web site that shows pictures of babies born at every gestational week.
- You might feel like you let your babies down. I analyzed everything. Was it the time I was wearing heels and stepped down too hard on a step? Was it when I ran for a brief second in the parking lot? Was it because of my sin? Was it because I was doing such a terrible job with my living son? The questions plagued me and it was difficult working through a lot of that.
- You might receive insensitive comments. I began this post with a number of examples. I was unprepared for the insensitive and even callous comments that I heard. After becoming part of miscarriage circles, I have realized that the comments I heard were just the tip of the iceberg. Friends of mine were told outrageously offensive things. I can’t count the number of times I thought, “Would you say this if my 2 year old died? Would you say this if a parent died? How in the world do you think this is an ok thing to say??” It is important to give grace to people who might not understand what it is like to lose a baby, but it is ok for it to hurt.
- You might hear a lot of Christianese. This is similar to the above, but there were a lot of comments of “Just trust God,” “Everything happens for a reason,” “Rejoice always,” etc. I know that people mean well and truly wanted to point us to the Lord, but it has taken a lot to extend grace. Christianese, Biblical platitudes, and quoted Bible verses might have a place, but they do not enter into the struggle, come alongside, or get us walking actively toward the Lord.
- You might become a different person. I was not prepared for how I changed. Not only did my physical life change, as I suddenly became the mother of a child on earth as well as children in heaven, but I became a different person on the inside. In some ways, it was for the better. I became more grateful, more empathetic, more willing to enter other’s struggles. I wrestled with theological questions I had previously always accepted but never had to grapple with personally. In other ways, it was for the worse. I became at times cynical and angry. And in yet other ways, it wasn’t good or bad, it was just…different. I was a different person after experiencing the trauma of early loss.
- People will move on. Your world will stop spinning, but other people’s worlds will continue. Most people, even in Christian circles, do not count children lost in early pregnancy as children. They were just pregnancies. You just might be the only person who remembers your loss dates, your due dates, even your children’s very existence. It will hurt like crazy. But remember that you were the only one who knew your child. You and God are the only ones who have carried your child, who have felt and known the affects of their existence. It sucks that no one remembers, but you do not ever have to feel guilty for remembering and loving your children. Because they were indeed children. Human people created in the very image of God.