Sadly, it seems like most women I know have had a pregnancy loss – whether early miscarriage, late miscarriage, or a loss at full-term. It seems to be something that happens far too often these days. Or maybe we’re just talking about it more.
Before I had my daughter C, I wasn’t sure about wanting children…so when I got pregnant on the first attempt, I was in complete shock. After about 6 weeks, just when I was getting comfortable with the idea of being pregnant, I had a miscarriage. I had made a doctor’s appointment, just to confirm the pregnancy. I went to my appointment, peed in a cup, and waited for the doctor to see me. Doctor came in, and she seemed confused. She asked me the reason for my visit, and I said, “to confirm my pregnancy and make sure everything is ok”. She replied, “you’re not pregnant”. Her bedside manner left much to be desired, let’s just say that (thankfully, she’s not my doctor anymore). Plus – have you SEEN my boobs?! I’m most definitely pregnant! I was very confused and upset, as I’d taken a home test and it came back positive. Apparently those tests are much more sensitive than a urine test at the doctor’s, and can detect a much lower level of the pregnancy hormone. At this point, I hadn’t miscarried yet… doctor insensitive sent me home and basically told me to wait for a miscarriage to start. Um, ok, what the F does that mean?! I couldn’t even believe what I’d just heard. Home I went, to a day full of phone meetings at work that I was leading. It wasn’t my favourite day.
I didn’t know much about pregnancy loss when I had my miscarriage. I think I was expecting an abrupt event, where it was just over quickly. This wasn’t what happened to me. I remember feeling very alone. This couldn’t be further from the truth – and the more I opened up and talked about it, the better I felt. Eventually. It definitely took some time to process what had happened. I found it especially tough when it seemed like so many of my friends were getting pregnant around the same time.
It’s hard to know what to say or do when someone experiences a pregnancy loss. Some people feel better when they talk about it, while others would rather be alone to process things on their own. Navigating this is tricky business. I think the worst thing we can do is ignore it completely, or pretend it never happened. Don’t say “everything happens for a reason”…please don’t say that. Although this may be true, it’s most definitely one of the worst things to say when someone is grieving. Instead, give that momma a big hug and tell her you’re available if she wants to talk about it, or if she wants to cry about it. Tell her it sucks, and you’re sorry this is happening. Call her. Text her. She may not reply, but at least she’ll know that someone is thinking about her and she’ll feel less alone. And then, just be there for her.