Monday, November 22, 2010

Approaching Pregnancy After Miscarriage - Personal Feelings

I've entered an entirely new area in my life.  I lost a pregnancy just a few months ago.  It was my 6th pregnancy, and my first miscarriage.  I wrote as a form of therapy about the entire experience, even as I was going through it.  It's a long story, filled with a roller coaster of physical and emotional turmoil.  There was healing even in the midst of the turmoil, and even though it was a very difficult thing to experience, I felt I was blessed and able to learn and grow from it.  Even though I still didn't understand why it had happened, I was able to find some meaning in it.

What's surprised me is how my feelings toward pregnancy have changed.  I've experienced nervousness before, wondering whether I was pregnant, whether we were ready for another baby at that time, reflecting on how I would handle pregnancy and one more child.  I remember being most nervous with my first pregnancy, but I also had a sort of ignorant bliss.  As informed as I thought I was, I really was ignorant when it came to pregnancy and birth.  I was 21 years old and embarking on a completely new life experience.  It was something I had wanted and hoped for since I was a little girl, a fulfillment of dreams and goals.  There was a mystery and wonder to it all, and I was mostly fearless.

I had 5 wonderful mostly uneventful pregnancies, all ending with full term healthy babies.  I had amazing birth experiences and learned how strong and capable my body and spirit were to be able to carry several babies to term and to birth them all vaginally, and 3 of them without any pain medication.  I even birthed a breech baby at home!  I felt somewhat invincible when it came to pregnancy and birth.

After losing a pregnancy I find I'm questioning myself.  I know I'm capable, that confidence is still there, but there's a new element.  I wonder about a lot of things.  Will the next pregnancy stick, or will my body flush it out like the last one?  Is one miscarriage all I'll have to experience, or are there more in my future?  If I have to go through that again, do I really want to get pregnant?

For the first time in my life I wonder if my body is somehow broken.  I have an inkling of how a woman must feel when she's told her body is incapable of birthing on its own and she must have a cesarean.  I know it's a lie, and yet the feelings are still there.  

Why would my body work and then suddenly not work anymore?  It doesn't.  It's like when I asked my midwife how delivery of the placenta is achieved in a home birth without the aid of pitocin.  The response: "Why would your body be capable of doing everything itself only up until a certain point?  Why would you be able to birth your baby without medication only to need medication to get the placenta out?"  It doesn't suddenly stop doing what it's been capable of until that point.

So I'm not broken.  I know that.  But do I believe it?  Yes and no.  I realize, more than ever, that I'm not the one in charge.  I can do everything within my power to have a healthy pregnancy, and I could still miscarry for unknown reasons.  Does that mean my body messed up?  I don't think so, but I still don't understand how it works.  I guess it's not for me to understand.  Like I said, I'm not the one in control.

I don't want to try to get pregnant and I don't want to try to prevent pregnancy.  If I try to get pregnant I feel I might be setting myself up for another failure.  If I prevent pregnancy then I feel I'm denying my spirit and body what I know they need and can handle.  I know there's another baby to come to our family.  I just don't know how many pregnancies it will take to get her here, and I'm not sure I'm up to the task if it means experiencing more loss.

Maybe this article helps explain why I feel this way.  At least it gives me a little validation.


  1. Thank you, thank you, thank you for this post! It describes exactly what I am feeling right now. Sherri said we could try asap, and at my physical today I was told to wait until I've had a full cycle before trying again---not that we were trying with this baby in the first place---but though part of me wants to get pregnant right away to prove to myself that I can do it (after all, I've done it once and birthed healthy baby) but the other part of me is scared. I am still living halfway in a nightmare, and trying to wake up some days. Other days I feel fine and happy.
    Being a human being is so complicated.

  2. I can't understand your feelings 100% since i have never had a miscarriage, but i can understand your feelings somewhat.

    Our first pregnancy was planned and everything was going great until we went into our 20 week ultrasound and learned i had no amniotic fluid. A week later we learned our daughter had cysts in both kidneys and would not live. She died 10-15 minutes after she was born May of 09.

    When we got pregnant again it was not planned. We had wanted to wait at least a year to give ourselves time to try to process everything and give our daughter "her time" if that makes sense. But after 6 months i realized my period was late and we were expecting again.

    The pregnancy was hard for me because i was scared. I was scared that if something went wrong i'd loose it and totally fall apart. I didn't think i could experience a loss again, including a miscarriage. But i just had to just put one foot in front of the other and have faith that everything would happen the way it was supposed to.

    September of this year we gave birth our our "rainbow baby" and she's been such a blessing in our life. Our loss still hurts, but our little girl have brought so much joy into our lives.

    I don't know exactly what i'm trying to say other than i understand.....

  3. Jillyn, thank you for that. I'm so sorry you went through that. My miscarriage happened so early in the pregnancy, and the whole pregnancy felt wrong from the start. While it was really difficult, I think that losing a baby later in pregnancy or having a still birth would be even harder. Loss is loss, no matter when it happens, and I think it's important for women to support each other in these things.

  4. Thank you so much for your post - for this whole blog, actually. I miscarried last week (it was an incomplete miscarriage - my cervix just was not dilating, but was tucked back and closed while I contracted and bleed severely for hours) and ended up having an emergency D&C. As a doula and having previously given birth at home, I too once felt so confident in my abilities to carry and give birth to my children... until now. I suddenly question my body, and I am fearful of a miscarriage happening again (and if I really even want to conceive, if there's a chance I'd have to go through all of this again).
    I wrote about my miscarriage this morning, and I feel validated to find that your words and thoughts are very similar to my own. I thank you for sharing them. I also thank you for your wonderful advice in your other posts - I've yet to find an online resource that has been as helpful as your blog.

  5. Wow... these are my exact feelings. I feel as if my body is broken somehow. With how I felt with this miscarriage I dont' want to feel like that again... I'm scared to go through this and have no idea what will go through my mind if I get another positive pregnancy test. I'm only a day out from having a miscarriage, so I know this could change when I say I have no interest in becoming pregnant ever again. I just want to take the three kids that I have and just be happy with them. Even then, I worry about my first three. Hoping they'll be ok and continue to be healthy, so that I wont' have to think about another pregnancy... not that having more children would replace the ones you have. I just feel uprooted, somehow... Like nothing is certain. :/ -Devin