Updated: Apr 1, 2020
The word ‘miscarriage’ alone is quite comical.. if you break it down ‘mis’ as a prefix meaning wrong and ‘carriage’ as conveying of goods or passengers from one place to another. So in other words, the baby just got on the wrong carriage?
The experience itself however is far from comical. The first time feels like your world has collapsed from inside of you (quite literally). Your hopes, dreams, and visions of future children, your expanding family, your new life as a mum come crashing down along with the tsunami of tears that can not be contained. You feel like you’re alone, regardless of how much love and support your close friends and family provide to you – that’s if you were gutsy enough to tell them in the first place.
This whole ‘Don’t announce until 12 weeks’ custom is absurd. Finding out you’re pregnant (especially if you’ve been trying for a while) is something you want to shout out to the world with excitement! You’ve FINALLY made it, after all those months/years of trying.
To then miscarry, and try and deal with the mental, physical and emotional trauma.. it is a horrendous path that no one should have to walk alone.
GRIEF is huge! During a counselling lecture while studying my BHsc, I offered to discuss a recent miscarriage to the class as a group activity. The student that was acting practitioner had come to a standstill and unsure how to proceed with my case, the lecturer took over. He mentioned the word ‘grief’ and the entire class witnessed a physical reaction to my body that I had no control over. It was like he had just dug up a grave of emotions that I had buried deep inside. I thought I had accepted my loss and was ok talking about it, but I found out just how raw those feelings still were.
According to Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, grief comes in five stages:
DENIAL This is nature’s way of letting in only as much as we can handle ANGER Anger is strength and it can be an anchor, giving temporary structure to the nothingness of loss. BARGAINING The “if only’s” cause us to find fault in ourselves and what we “think” we could have done differently. DEPRESSION Empty feelings present themselves, and grief enters our lives on a deeper level – deeper than we ever imagined. ACCEPTANCE Less of being ‘OK’ with what happened, but more about accepting the reality that your baby is physically gone and recognising that this new reality is the permanent reality.
Mental Health Awareness Day has recently just passed… but how many people will hear about International Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day – October 15th?
It may not be discussed openly, but miscarriage occurs in 1 of 4 pregnancies. I didn’t realise how common it was until I had to go through it myself. By the third miscarriage the acceptance stage arrived sooner and I was open to discussing it with others.
Why Does It Happen?
After countless pathology and genetic testing, I was told the same thing “It’s unexplained”. Some reasons can include:
Hormonal imbalance including PCOS, endometriosis and PMS
Autoimmune conditions and immune dysfunction.
Endocrine dysfunction including diabetes, hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism and Cushing syndrome.
However I had neither of these. I considered myself healthy and couldn’t understand what went wrong. The first miscarriage occurred naturally – a missed miscarriage. I remember the nurse telling me that miscarriage is common and the following pregnancy is usually successful. I didn’t want to get my hopes up so waited until I was 12 weeks pregnant before getting excited about the following pregnancy. During the first ultrasound at 12 weeks gestation, the radiologist went quiet. I thought she was pranking us when she said the words “I’m Sorry”. DENIAL. The third occurred in the same manner, however this time I was expecting those same words.
It takes the public health system three miscarriages before investigating what’s going on.
This was the beginning of numerous testing for both myself and husband. Results were returning to the GP as “no abnormalities”. MTHFR polymorphism that was suggested by my naturopath was confirmed, however the fertility specialist refused to take note of it.
Even though the GP and fertility specialist recommended a prescription of progesterone and aspirin, I decided to use my own knowledge of western herbal medicine and nutritional supplementation throughout my fourth pregnancy. A healthy baby boy was born!
Sharing the journey and joy of a successful pregnancy with other women who are planning on having a family is my ultimate dream. This is why I have a particular interest in preconception care and miscarriage.
There is hope.