Saturday, January 23, 2010

The damaging mental affects of a Miscarriage

My miscarriage was seven months ago. I would have been 37 weeks right now. I would have been preparing for a baby, for a birth, and for all that comes with it. Instead, I feel like a lunatic. I had 3-4 months of near crippling depression that would leave me sitting on the couch staring off into space. Once out of this, I convinced myself that I didn't want another baby. I liked sleeping through the night, not having diapers to change, being able to leave the house at a moment's notice, not having to have a baby attached at the breast 24/7. I don't know whether or not this was 100% of how I actually felt, or if it was a coping mechanism.

This week I was 4 days late for my period. I wasn't just late though - I had many of the classic signs of pregnancy. Nausea, gagging, sore breasts, fatigue, headaches. I really began to think that I was pregnant, even though I kept telling myself that it was dangerous to go there. I tried to stay away from that. I couldn't. I didn't want another baby - remember? I feel so damn dramatic for reacting the way that I am. Since starting my period this afternoon ( just as I'd decided to buy a pregnancy test, certain it was going to be a big fat + ) I have been back in that awful blackness. And I hate being here. I am angry, I am a bit depressed, and I just hate how things are.

I love my husband, but he doesn't get what I've gone through. Not just with the miscarriage, but with having PCOS and what it does to my body. He doesn't outright say it anymore, but the looks he gives me seem that he thinks I overexaggerate. The pain, the frustration of ceaseless acne covering my face, the extra hair growth, and did I mention the pain? I have pain before, and during my period. I have massive pain during ovulation. So twice a month, for several days at a time, I am in pain. This often comes with headaches as well. I hate my body. I feel broken and defective and deflated. And if my husband didn't understand as I was only weeks out of the miscarriage, how much less will he understand now that it's been 7 months?

I know that I am not the only one that has felt like this after a miscarriage, because I have friends who have gone through the same. The sad part is, this is rarely spoken about, or highlighted in miscarriage articles, or understood by the everyday person. We're told that we shouldn't dwell on it ( I don't come to this dark place willingly, let me tell you ), we should stop being dramatic, and we'll be fine.

As I'm coming up to the due date, it's hitting me hard again. I should be preparing to welcome my newborn baby into the world, not feeling defective and disgusting.


Jessica said...

Oh, do I ever know how you feel! I'm there right now myself. My miscarriage was in June and my due date was to be Feb.'s coming up in a little more than a week. I also went thru a very deep, dark depression that lasted several months, to the point where I was getting comments from my coworkers and boss, not just my husband. I finally realized where I was and have been trying to dig my way out. We have been "casually" trying for another for the last several months. There have been several months that mirrored what you described, me thinking for sure that I was pregnant, etc. I don't know where I stand now. I'm happier, "back to my normal self" according to the people at work. I notice a big difference in myself as a person, though. I'm really trying to get out of this place, not to "get over" my miscarriage or ignore the weirdness that my body has been doing ever since, but just get out of this horrible, negative place in my heart and mind. Would another pregnancy "cure" me? I don't know...I'd probably be a wreck until I hit at least 16-18 weeks. Or I might feel better, healed. I don't know. But what I DO know is that I feel very deeply for you, from the bottom of my heart, as I know how you feel and what you're going thru. I hope that you and I both find a point of light in our hearts and lives soon, and can carry on. ((((hugs))))

Becca Sue Congdon said...


I haven't experienced pregnancy loss, so it would be foolish of me to say "I know how you feel." But I wanted to at least say that it makes complete sense that you are feeling what you're feeling. We spend so much time telling ourselves that we "shouldn't" feel certain things, and we get in the way of the work our hearts are trying to do. Losing a child is no small thing, no matter how long you had that child in your body, in your arms, in your life. When you don't let your heart grieve for legitimate loss, your heart will take it out on your body and your mind. Perhaps this might be a good time to let your heart "go there" and grieve?

Forgive me if you've already spent intentional time grieving, I don't mean to discount that if you have and I've missed that.

I'm teaching a class called "Life Work" which helps people examine the events that have shaped their worldview and the way they see the Lord. This week we're talking about emotions, and one of the main points I make during class is that God gave us emotions because He made us like Him and HE has emotions, and that He means for our emotions - no matter how dark, angry, taboo - to draw our hearts to Him for healing, vindication, and peace. Sometimes we just feel like flipping Him the bird and screaming "WTF LORD?!" - and I think that if we do that with a genuine broken heart, honestly wanting to hear from Him, He welcomes that honesty.

Anyway... blah blah blah - sorry for the long comment. I'll be thinking of you (and close friends in my life who've lost three pregnancies in the past year) and trusting that God is who He says He is and that He means all things for our good - even when it looks ridiculous.

Rebekah Costello said...

Thanks so much for posting this openly, where other women can read it! I have felt this, more than once, and it's an ugly, lonely place to be. I'm so sorry for your loss. For me, I was able to accept and move on after the due dates. I don't know why, maybe for me it's just that the due date was closure? I will never be "over it" because those little lives touched mine and continue to do so this day and so I cherish them. But I found I could make my peace with it.

I hope you find some peace, Mama. It's so hard to want to scream at your own body.

One thing that really helped me back before I had my first (I had two miscarriages before my first and I've had two since) was that some loving woman told me to try not to see my body as defective. She pointed out that I had no idea why I miscarried and it could be that my body was doing exactly what it was supposed to be doing. Sometimes, there is something wrong and our bodies know it and take that course of action as a built-in, natural precaution.

I hope this help a little. Really, I know there is nothing that anyone can say that will make it better. But you aren't alone and again, I thank you for speaking out.

Heather Poll said...

Grieving is a process, and you must allow yourself time to heal. Some days will be hard, some will be easier. Give your mind, body and spirit time to heal.

Your may be misreading your husband, I don't know. Maybe he's just as torn about loosing his baby and he's dealing with this loss in his own way. Communication and time is key when working through a loss such as this.

Good luck and take care.

Jessica said...

Heather, you may be on to are so weird when it comes to stuff like this. I was talking to my husband last night about this post, about how there's another lady on the same time frame as me miscarriage-wise, and the whole recovery we talked, he revealed that he kept a whole lot of feelings bottled up and just didn't know how to deal with them. A couple of months ago one of our cats had to be put down. When Emma had to be put down, my husband cried off and on for a couple of days. Yeah, she was special, but she was a CAT, I thought to myself...he didn't even cry this much when I fact, I don't think he cried at all! Then last night he told me that when Emma died, it brought my miscarriage to the forefront of his mind, the sadness and the fear and the helplessness to help someone that you all just came rushing out. He said that he shed a few tears for Emma, but most of them were for our baby...he just never told me until last night. They deal with things in a TOTALLY different way than we do!

CfM Molly said...

This was an interesting post to read.

I had a miscarriage in Nov. at 14w5d. I feel myself doing what you mention--feeling like I don't want to have another baby after all, etc., etc. 9I also go into, "I'm not a good enough mother to 'deserve' another baby anyway, so I should just be done." I have two little boys already and I keep thinking, well maybe our family is complete after all. However, each month that I've gotten my period since the miscarriage (which was my third little boy and a baby we'd tried for 8 months to conceive--I had a strong sense that there was another baby "out there" for us), I've felt totally crushed and disappointed. So, I think that is really what my heart is telling me--I do want to try again and to have a fourth (third living) child--but my logic-brain keeps pointing out all the "benefits" of not having any more kids.

Anyway, thanks for posting. I read insatiably about miscarriage now and find it a fascinating subject really--all the reactions, all the stories, all the pain, all the "shoulds," all the "what ifs." It is like this whole other untapped arena of childbearing/women's experience that I missed when I was so focused on/consumed with birth as my passion. I feel like my passion is blooming to include more aspects of women's experiences, not just the full-term birth experience (my miscarriage was very much a birth experience for me).

I recently finished reading the book Wild Feminine and found it very healing--it isn't about miscarriage, but the author's own experience of miscarriage is referenced multiple times throughout the book (I appreciated how "normally" it was interwoven instead of reserved for a chapter on "bad things" which is how I feel miscarriage is usually presented in books...if is included at all). It is kind of "New Agey," but it was JUST what I needed to read right now--all about connecting to the energy of your "pelvic bowl" and about healing/releasing the various wounds you hold there, etc., etc. You might like it too.

I was due in May (on my birthday, no less).



Sarah said...

I like other women can say I've been there. I had a miscarriage in 2006, I was 11 weeks along. It was a bad time for me. I read a book called No Death, No Fear By Thich Nhat Hanh. It was really helpful in dealing with my loss. My husband did not appear to be nearly as upset as I was. It was really hard for me. I was so miserable and it seemed like nothing had happened in his life. I went to a counselor, and she helped me to grieve, but also to understand that everyone grieves differently. I needed to respect that my husband grieved in a different way than I did. I did not want to be judged for grieving my way, and I should not judge him for grieving his way. We also talked alot about the miscarriage and I explained that I understood he was grieving differently and that I needed his support and he needed to allow me to grieve in my way.

Also, it seems silly to some, but I named our baby. I sensed he was a boy so I named him Lazarus. That helped a lot too.

I also found that miscarriage is such a "secret". I have never and will never be secretive about my miscarriage. We told our family and friends, although some people were callous, I didn't think I should hide something as momentous as the loss of our baby. There is NO shame in what happened, and as I told people about my loss, lots of people mentioned their losses to me.

jessicaanne010 said...

I was there too! For a while after my miscarriage I didn't want to even think about trying to get pg again. Then it became a monthly war with myself, we'd try, I'd get a negative or my period would start and I'd tell my husband that I couldn't stand it anymore and maybe I wasn't supposed to have anymore kids. Wow, what a horrible roller coaster that was. Like one of the other posters said, grieving is a process, people don't always move through it the same way. But I get what you are saying.

Many, many hugs to you.

AFM said...

due dates are aweful, the due date for my first miscarriage passed in early jan. it was a really rough day for me. Be kind to yourself and allow yourselft time to grieve. Ignor the people telling you its time to move on. Miscarriage and baby loss Changes a woman's heart forever.
Thoughts and prayers are with you.

Abigail said...

So sorry to hear that. Hope you are well now. Miscarriage generally do not have an effect on how long it takes for you to conceive. Stay healthy! getting pregnant after miscarriage

Mandy said...

my heart goes out to you. i lost my daughter at birth this summer, and my mother, who went through multiple miscarriages had all those feelings come rushing back, over 30 years later. i wish i knew all along how devastating the miscarriages were to her, because back then, everyone told her "you're young, you'll get pregnant again", and i was made to believe it was no big deal and that it was for the best. i wish i had known that my mother was hurting because she lost a baby, not just a pregnancy, so maybe i could have comforted her. i wish more people talked about their experiences so mothers' grief isn't just shrugged off. it's been decades, and my mom is still hurting over the children she lost. you're right, you don't purposely dwell on it, you can't help but grieve for your child, no matter how far along you were.