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Many of the Soulutions posts may be triggering to some readers.  These topics are much more heavy than we normally talk about on HTP, so I just wanted to give everyone a heads up to proceed with caution.  I don’t think we should ever shy away from these topics as a society, but I also know that the issues can be difficult on an individual level.

 

To learn more about the Soulutions project, read this post.  If you missed the first Soulution post, we discussed Sexual Assault and Self-Worth.  Today, we’re going to talk about depression and miscarriage.  If you’ve read HTP for a while, you know that I am a huge champion of removing the stigma of mental illness – it’s something that so  many of use go through, and there’s no reason to feel ashamed.  In fact, 19 million Americans experience depression each year, and 1 out of 14 people will have major depression at some point in their life, according to MoodHacker.  Melissa L. has bravely offered to share her story of depression, which was triggered by her three miscarriages. 

Melissa L. says:  “I have always dealt with some sort of anxiety and depression from when my parents divorced when I was ten, to taking tests, or worrying about upcoming events. I normally would power through them with art, going to the gym, or keeping them internally locked down. The past two years have changed all that.  About 3 years ago, I was diagnosed with anxiety. It was my senior year in college, I was engaged, planning a wedding, and my brother-in-law was in a horrific car accident. I was very unsure about being put on a medication, but was unable to control my anxiety and depression with exercise and diet alone. I was blessed that the medication helped me through this patch.

 

Fast forward to after my wedding – my husband and I started trying to have children. We found out in the middle of January 2011 that we were pregnant, and we were ecstatic – it was amazing seeing those two pink lines! We were so excited to share the news with our family, and only told a few people.

 

A few weeks later, I started spotting, so I went in for a routine ultrasound and everything looked perfect. I got to see my little angel’s heartbeat and we were reassured that I was just in that tiny percent of women who spot during pregnancy. Unfortunately that was not the case – 2 weeks later I miscarried my first child. I don’t even have the words to describe the emotional and physical pain.  After being checked out by the doctor a few weeks later, we were given the okay to try again. On Father’s Day in June 2011, we found out we were expecting again. Same routine – spotted, ultrasound, everything checked out – except this time when I miscarried, I had to have a D&C. I truly don’t know which one was worse; surgery or going through the emotional pain of losing another baby.

 

Loss #3 happened a year later, in May of 2012. This time, I was referred to a specialist who performed surgery to remove a polyp. Now, we finally have the blessing to try again. While my husband and I are very hesitant, we are excited to know that the surgery might be the answer to this issue.  I share my story for many reasons; first of all because of my loss. I see my nieces or my friend’s children and it just reminds me of the emptiness inside me. One in three women will have a miscarriage in their life – there are many causes and types; many go unnoticed and the reasons they happen are often never known.

 

The second reason I am sharing my story is because of my depression and anxiety. I have struggled so much with this; it was very hard to come to terms with the fact that I actually have depression. I am the type of person that has a list for everything including goals that I accomplish, and depression is a huge struggle that I am committed to overcoming, whatever it takes! I am amazed that while 25% of women suffer from depression, it still has this huge stigma attached to it – I know this is why many people never get help, and this has to change, so everyone has a chance to live a happier life.

 

I have an amazing husband by my side, and I am an active 25-year-old with the means and support to have a child. It will happen, one way or another! My depression is something that I will work at for the rest of my life, but I have learned that a good support network, exercise, diet and even medication can help – that is my Soulution for others as well. The second thing I want to share is my hope is that more people will hear my story and know that is absolutely okay to have bad days once in a while. The trick is to keep making goals, and “keep on keeping on!”

 

Finally, I want everyone to know that sharing my story helps me feel a sense of purpose. I am not sure about the saying "things happen for a reason," because I have no idea what reasons could be so powerful – that being said, if sharing my experience helps others find comfort, that is purpose.”

soulutions

If you have lived through depression or a miscarriage, Angela, Elizabeth, and I would love to hear your Soulution for overcoming and dealing with your experience – What helped you?  What didn’t?  What have you learned?  How do you deal with it on a day-to-day basis?  What would you tell another woman going through it?  No one going through this should ever feel alone, and I hope via Soulutions, we can prevent that from happening.

 

You can either comment on this post with your thoughts or use this submittal form on the Soulutions website.  If you plan to comment on this post, you can put your initial in the “Name” field to stay anonymous, but please put your real e-mail so we can contact you if your story is used in the upcoming Soulutions e-book.  Your identity will never be revealed publicly if you don’t want.

 

<3

{ 52 comments }

 

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  • C November 27, 2012, 2:15 pm

    Thanks for this post! I’ve never had a miscarriage, but I have suffered from depression. Showing myself compassion was the key to treating my depression. I realized that I wouldn’t be angry with myself if I couldn’t “mind over matter” a broken leg to heal, so why should depression be any different? It’s a real illness, but treatable. It was amazing to give myself the gift of happiness!

    Reply
  • amyloispie November 27, 2012, 2:32 pm

    I am actually in the middle of my 2nd miscarriage as I type this. I am only 28 years old and have lost two babies this year. I was very depressed during my first miscarriage. I wanted to just disappear…I felt like I had let my husband and family down and labeled myself a failure. It took me months to really return to my old self. I had to come to terms with the fact that I was not a failure, I was not the one to blame for this and allow myself to hope for a 2nd chance or a 3rd. It will get better and this time around I feel much more hopeful and in control of my emotions. I know these babies were not meant to be and who am I to fight destiny.

    Reply
    • Christy November 27, 2012, 3:26 pm

      I am so sorry to hear your story. I had 2 miscarriages back to back before I got pregnant with my son. It was devastating and I definitely felt like a failure. But I did realize that the more people I told, the more other women were telling me they went through the same thing. It didn’t make the pain go away but at least I didn’t feel so alone. I look at my 2yr old son now and know that he was the one that was meant for me. He is absolutely perfect and I am glad I had to wait for him. Good luck to you.

      Reply
  • Sri November 27, 2012, 2:33 pm

    Multiple miscarriages could be an auto-immune condition where the immune system is mistakenly attacking the pregancy as a foreign object. There was a big celebrity who had this condition and took forever to diagnose. Something to look into. Good luck!

    Reply
  • Sarah November 27, 2012, 2:35 pm

    I think the most important thing I learned from my miscarriage is not to put a time limit on grief. When I went through my loss, I wanted to “get through it” and get back to normal ASAP but it just didn’t happen. I finally gave myself permission to be sad and have bad days as long as I needed to. I did seek help from a therapist and talked with friends who had been through the same thing and both of those helped tremendously too. I had to realize that while I am incredibly strong, I am not invincible. And that’s okay.

    Reply
  • Sarah November 27, 2012, 3:01 pm

    Thanks Melissa L. for sharing your story! Caitlin – one of the reasons that I like your blog is because you don’t shy away from topics like this. Lots of other “healthy living” bloggers seem to paint a rosy picture of how great their life is because they eat kale and do yoga. Nothing wrong with that, but I think it gives an incomplete picture of what “health” is – one that includes mental & emotional health as well as physical.

    Reply
    • Andrea November 27, 2012, 4:37 pm

      Well said, Sarah.

      Reply
  • Becca November 27, 2012, 3:21 pm

    Brave one- wishing Melissa much happiness in the future!

    Reply
  • Lee November 27, 2012, 3:32 pm

    I had a miscarriage (well, the D&C, it stopped growing like a week or two ago, but it stayed inside me) literally today. I’m honestly not sure how to process it. What has helped so far is talking to friends that have actually gone through it. I know that everyone sort of says the same thing (that it’s common and you can go on to have a healthy pregnancy) but talking to people who have actually had one and gone on to have a healthy pregnancy has helped.

    Reply
    • Jen November 28, 2012, 2:18 pm

      I’m so sorry for your loss, Lee. Give yourself as much time as you need to grieve. I had a miscarriage as well and remember thinking “I shouldn’t be this sad about it, it wasn’t even a ‘real’ baby yet” and other people telling me “it happened for a reason.” Ugh, both of those thoughts are not helpful. Just allow yourself to grieve and take care of you.

      Reply
  • Natalie @ Free Range Human November 27, 2012, 3:41 pm

    I’m so sorry for the pain you’ve had to live through. Thank you for being strong enough to share this story. I wish many blessings on your family in the near future!

    Reply
  • S November 27, 2012, 3:57 pm

    I really like this post – except for the quote that you decided to highlight. I think it makes it sounds like depression can be summed up as “bad days”, when it really is so much more than that. Melissa did a great job explaining that in her post, but the summary comment just doesn’t really do it justice. My brother struggles with depression and anxiety, and it’s not the same thing as when i have a few days of being “down in the dumps”. Depression is a chemical condition, a “disease”, and should be treated as such. Exercise, diet, and therapy DO help, but they won’t solve the problem in all cases, and it’s OK to reach out for medical help.

    Reply
  • L November 27, 2012, 4:05 pm

    Thank you for covering this topic. I debated submitting a form when you originally posted about soulutions but I wasn’t sure under what category a miscarriage would be appropriate. I miscarried a few months ago, the day before my NT scan and just after the 12 week mark. I had a missed miscarriage and the baby had stopped growing at 8 weeks. It seemed so cruel that it happened 4 weeks later and after what you consider a “safe period.” I bled A LOT, ended up in the ER, and was hospitalized overnight and needed blood transfusions. In my case there was quite a bit of fear mixed with sadness while it was all happening.

    What helped you? Letting myself cry when I needed, which was a lot the first few weeks. Talking about it. Reaching out to friends for their support. Hearing stories about how common miscarriages are and hearing “success” stories of those who struggled with miscarriages and now have happy healthy babies.

    What didn’t? Getting angry at other people’s attempt at consoling me. If you have a miscarriage you WILL hear “You’ll get pregnant again”, “It will happen in God’s time”, “Miscarriage’s are so common.” I heard these phrases a lot, and while I don’t agree or find comfort in any of them, I found it unproductive to get angry at those trying to provide support with them. The truth is nobody knows how it feels unless they’ve gone through it, and even if they have one phrase might help you while angering or upsetting someone else. I found it better to appreciate the friends and relatives that were sad for me.

    What have you learned? Not having told friends about the pregnancy in the first place is something I would change. It’s a funny situation, you wait to tell people that you’re out of the first trimester, meanwhile you’re going through a major life change but not telling the people you normally would. Then when something like this happens you need the support of the group of friends you normally turn to. It’s hard to then tell a friend “I was pregnant, now I’m not.” I also learned how common it is. So many people will tell you they’ve miscarried at some point.

    How do you deal with it on a day-to-day basis? Different people need different things. I needed support, consoling, shoulder to cry, and an undetermined amount of time to be sad. I cried and talked about it a lot . One of the hardest parts of the day-to-day for me was the overwhelming sadness. I consider myself to be fairly positive and upbeat on a regular basis and dealing with the sadness was hard. I remember after a week telling my husband “I don’t want to be this sad, I’m not an unhappy person.” That might not make sense to someone else, but that was my day-to-day challenge. I dealt with it by accepting that if I was feeling it, I needed to feel it to grieve and heal.

    What would you tell another woman going through it? It feels like it goes on forever but slowly it starts to get better. Let yourself rest and heal emotionally and physically. It’s not your fault, you don’t deserve this. Don’t bottle any emotion you’re having up, let it out.

    Reply
  • Katie D. November 27, 2012, 4:37 pm

    I had a miscarriage in June 2012 and it sucks! I just talked to a friend today about how grieving the loss is so different – I don’t miss a person, I miss the hopes, dreams and future I had planned. I miss feeling ‘whole’.

    My “solutions” are to remember the child you lost. Sweet Baby D is still important to me and like any child, I’ve learned so much through the process! Share your story, miscarriage is so scary, sad and alienating. I still feel very alone at times and like a misfit but when I opened up about my experience there were plenty of women who came forward with their own stories.

    This was helpful to me: http://www.pregnantchicken.com/pregnant-chicken-blog/2011/1/2/loss-and-miscarriage.html

    Reply
    • Katie D. November 28, 2012, 7:48 am

      I also forgot to add that my normal coping tools like working out and running were off limits since they made me bleed so bad that it was impossible to do them! This was so hard on me, as I didn’t know what to do to cope. I turned to food for a few months and now am working on losing that weight.

      Reply
  • acs November 27, 2012, 5:05 pm

    so glad you shared this story. i am a 32 year old female, recently married and started trying to have a baby about 5 months ago. i since have had two miscarriages and have been struggling big time trying to deal with it all emotionally. it feels like every time i login to facebook, another one of my friend’s is announcing their pregnancy. miscarriage and the depression that can come from it aren’t discussed enough…it seems like women are embarrassed. so THANK YOU!

    Reply
  • Emily November 27, 2012, 5:11 pm

    I am really sorry for your loss. I would like to thank you for sharing your story with everyone. I had a miscarriage in July 2012 while I was in Florida for my sister’s wedding. It was a terrible experience being rushed to the ER on my sister’s special day. I went through periods of depression and just felt like a failure in life. Just as other people mentioned, it definitely helped talking to other people who experienced a miscarriage and every day was a little bit better.

    Reply
  • L November 27, 2012, 6:09 pm

    Thank you all who have shared their stories here. I felt a need to share something that has touched my husband’s and my lives that I believe might be able to help some of you struggling with miscarriages. We use a method of family planning called NaPro technology. It basically involves charting your cycle to know when you are most fertile, but this method is also very successful at helping women identify if they may have hormonal defects that can be causing infertility, whether this is in the form of miscarriage, lack of ovulation, etc. Many women have luteal phase defects, where the corpus luteum does not produce the correct amount of the hormones that it should produce following ovulation, there are many types of these defects. Anyway, there are NaPro trained doctors who can help women struggling with many types of infertility, recurrent miscarriage, or general cycle issues. This has been a totally different experience for me than seeing a standard ob/gyn doctor, as everything (from hormone dosing to the timing of when you take hormones, etc) is personalized to your cycle. Plus, all you have to do is learn how to chart your cycle, which is basically free and only takes a few months. I would really encourage anyone struggling with these difficult issues to seek out a NaPro trained doctor in your area. Something as simple as taking supplementary hormones post-ovulation to help support a pregnancy might be the fix. I don’t mean to sound like a sales person, but this method has really changed our lives, and I truly hope it can help some of you too.
    http://www.naprotechnology.com/

    Reply
    • acs November 27, 2012, 7:53 pm

      Hi L – My story is up a few. Thanks for this great information. How do you go about finding a NaPro trained doctor in your area?

      Reply
      • L November 28, 2012, 8:04 am

        If you just go to the link below, you can “Find a teacher” over on the left side and type in your area and all the instructors around your area will come up. The instructors are usually nurses and will teach you how to chart your cycle then will be able to recommend you to a NaPro trained doctor in the area as well. The program is really great and has really helped my understand my body. I hope this can help you too, good luck!
        http://www.fertilitycare.org/

        Reply
        • acs November 28, 2012, 11:31 am

          Thank you! Good luck to you as well!

          Reply
  • Amber K November 27, 2012, 6:21 pm

    I really feeling really guilty after my miscarriage because I was only about 7-ish weeks along and it devastated me. I don’t think I could handle miscarrying at a later date. I had to realize that my feelings are my own. It doesn’t matter what I feel, because that’s what’s true for me in the moment. Just because other people have gone through harder things, doesn’t make my pain any less real.

    Reply
  • Jasmine November 27, 2012, 6:50 pm

    This is such a tough topic. Thank you for writing about it.

    My husband and I are dealing not only with the miscarriage of our twins this past February, but of our infertility of the last 3 years. For me, it has been devastating. It’s something that I think about every single day, usually the very first thing I think about when I wake and the last thing I think of when I’m trying to sleep.

    Getting pregnant after years of infertility was such a huge high for us. We were stunned, excited, elated. We felt that after all the struggle, there was no way something could happen to us or our babies. When we realized we were going to miscarry, it was the most devastating feeling I’ve ever felt in my life. I literally wanted to die. I felt like I had let everyone down, and I still battle with crippling guilt that I failed my babies. As a mother, it is your sole responsibility to ensure your baby thrives. While there was nothing I could have done to prevent it, it’s still sometimes very hard for me to not feel like I failed them and everyone else so miserably. I think it’s also easy for women to feel like they are “less of a woman” when they can’t get pregnant after years or have a loss or losses. We tend to define ourselves by our roles, I think.

    What helped you? I guess what has helped me is just keeping busy. Shortly after our loss, I began to make my jewelry hobby into a real business. Creating something with my bare hands has helped me heal. There are many days, I sit creating a piece of jewelry with tears running down my face. It’s a process.

    What didn’t? Comparing myself. A lot of women basically say, “I want to have a baby.” They snap their fingers and pregnant! It’s really how it seems to be for a lot of people. Comparisons, though, can knock you down every single day if you focus on them. Just don’t do it.

    What have you learned? I have learned that I’m not alone. Even though it’s easy to feel that way. That tremendous feeling of responsibility and guilt is a common thing and just knowing that there are other women out there dealing with infertility and loss is a big help to me. Knowing other women and hearing them say, “I will love my baby for the rest of my life” makes me feel like I’m not crazy for loving and missing my unborn babies so much even though I will never see their little faces.

    How do you deal with it on a day-to-day basis? I keep busy. That’s really the best I can do. Over time, it will get easier and I believe that. Putting positive energy into myself and the people around me will help me come out of this dark place. I have faith in that.

    What would you tell another woman going through it? It was not your fault. <— This is the thing that I think every woman who goes through this needs to hear. I will add that the worst thing to tell someone is "better luck next time," which I heard a lot after my miscarriage. I finally broke down when someone said that, and I said, "If your husband died, and I said 'there will be other husbands,' how would you feel?" Losing an unborn child is a real loss, and I think sometimes people don't realize that because THEY never knew that child. The mother did.

    I still struggle with this every day. I waver between anger and anguish over the loss and hopelessness and hope over the continued infertility. But these feelings are also punctuated by happiness and moments of "going on." Grief and healing are complicated and they take a really long time, and that's okay.

    Reply
    • V November 28, 2012, 1:57 am

      Very well said. I have struggled with infertility and loss as well (See below) and your post resonates with me.

      Good luck to you. I hope you find your joy soon.

      Reply
  • Erin @ Lemongrass Love November 27, 2012, 6:58 pm

    I’m so sorry to hear of your struggles. Why is it that some people seem to have so much suffering, when they are long overdue for some joy??

    I haven’t experienced any miscarriages, but I have experienced a good 18 months of severe anxiety, with a whole lot of Depression-Denial. I started my blog as a means to purge my thoughts (the good, the bad, the very ugly) and hopefully assist with recovery. I’m a big advocate for writing (or typing) things out. And talking – never allowing myself to be isolated, even more than I already feel.
    I’m not better. Actually, I’m worse. For some reason I have an issue with being on antidepressants. I feel like thats a last resort, that I failed at my other attempts.
    I have a panic attack in my car before almost every day at work. Things got worse when my brother died suddenly in June. I’m doing all the ‘right’ things, but still struggling to get out of this dark hole.
    Melissa, how long were you on the antidepressants for? I’m so reluctant to try them – and scared of the side effects – but I just can’t keep going like this. It’s exhausting.

    Reply
    • Kelly November 27, 2012, 8:14 pm

      Hi Erin,

      I was hesitant to comment on this post as my depression is Postnalal depression but you comment breaks my heart so I feel like I should. I had exactly the same feelings you’ve mentioned – feeling like I was doing all the right things but still stuck in a deep dark hole, panic attacks and scared of taking antidepressants. I was diagnosed with postnatal depression when my son was 6 weeks old. I was scared of taking any medication because I didn’t want to act different and I wanted to be myself. However, through taking the medication I’ve finally become my old self. I am still taking my medication 1.5 years later but am on a lower dose and hoping to wean myself off in the new year. But if I don’t feel strong enough or am not coping without the medication I would not hesitate in going back on. Coming out of the dark hole and into the beautiful light and just beig happy is worth it to me. I would definitly recommend talking to your doctor about medication that is available and it can be a case of trial and error with what works for you regarding side effects. I also found talking to a therapist, regularly exercising and eating healthy helped a lot. Take care and hang in there – it does get better xxx

      Reply
    • Cate November 27, 2012, 9:57 pm

      Erin (my sister’s name!),

      Some backstory: I have severe anxiety and depression. I controlled it for a few years with (obsessive?) diet and exercise, but eventually it spiraled out of control. I was also hesitant to go on anti-depressants for the same reason as you: I thought it meant I was a failure and I feared I wouldn’t be myself when on them. I especially worried that I wouldn’t feel emotions as strongly. Finally, the depression became so crippling that I spent a week in a hospital psych ward. It was easy for me to say I was okay when I could still (barely and painfully) manage my daily life, but that boat had long ago sailed far away. Once I was in the psych ward, I accepted that I needed the help of medication, and I was put on an SSRI.

      Medication was the best, absolute best, best thing for me–I have been on an anti-depressant (SSRI) for about six months. Like Kelly said, the medication made me act like ME again. I could go out, go to work, get up in the morning, exercise, whatever! I no longer felt helpless or hopeless. I am still me–I actually feel more like me than I have in YEARS. I also am still emotional; I feel high highs and low lows. The side effects were manageable for me, just a ton of GI upset. People often say, “I feel like a whole new person!” like it’s a good thing, but sometimes the best thing is feeling like an old person.

      It looks from your blog like you have also been prescribed an SSRI. I would really recommend that you give it a good try with an open mind. Remember that being prescribed a drug for a medical condition is in no way a reflection of your character or a failure on your part in any way–it is, in fact, the opposite. That you have the strength to recognize you need help and get the appropriate treatment is so admirable!

      And one last thing on this absurdly long comment: Remember that medical professionals are there to help you, and you can and should use their expertise as much as necessary. If ever someone on your care team is not working out for you, find someone you like! Having trusted professionals on your side makes a huge difference!

      Good luck!

      Reply
    • Melissa L November 28, 2012, 8:43 am

      Depression and anxiety is a horrible disease to struggle through. I have been on and off anti-anxiety/ depression medication for the past 3 years (off was when I was pregnant). Talk to your doctor! Also if you haven’t already started trying exercise, meditation, diet change, counseling I would recommend those as well. Best of luck and thank you very much for your kind words!

      Xoxo

      Reply
    • Erin @ Lemongrass Love November 30, 2012, 3:12 am

      Thank you all for your response and for sharing your stories!
      It’s really almost hypocritical for me to be so wary of antidepressants in the first place – I’m a registered nurse, and most definitely would be advising someone to take the meds if they were struggling the way I am. I’m so grateful to hear some encouraging and positive antidepressant stories. I have filled my script and have the packet in my bag. While I’ve had a really good week, I think that if/when next time my symptoms return then it’s time to ‘give in’.
      All I really want is to be feeling better and to find some clarity. I shouldn’t be so afraid of something that is there to help me.

      Reply
  • Alison November 27, 2012, 7:56 pm

    I thank God that I have not experienced a miscarriage but I have friends that have. Something I’ve learned through losing my dad and stepdad and through being with friends that have lost people close to them or babies that they had hoped for:

    Grief is a conundrum because it has a definite beginning but no definitive end. The moment you lose someone – a parent, a friend, a baby – it is a beginning of a new ‘normal.’ Some days might feel better than others but the old ‘normal’ doesn’t exist anymore. Don’t be afraid to talk to your friend about something she is grieving for fear that you might “bring it up” and hurt her. Chances are that it is always on her mind.

    Reply
  • J November 27, 2012, 8:17 pm

    I have been coping with anxiety and depression since Sept.11, 2010. My father died of a heart attack while training for a local bike riding event. Gut wrenching. Unimaginable. Heartache.

    The days, the weeks, and months that followed were a blur. My menstrual cycle stopped. I found myself unable to handle stress, and I felt more angry. That following summer, out of the blue, I had my first panic attack. And once it started, I couldn’t stop it. A succession of panic attacks that left me on the couch for an entire day. There is nothing like being in a car with your husband and realizing you cannot breathe, you feel like you’re having a heart attack, and you have NO CLUE what is happening to you.

    I was put on medication to manage my depression and xanax for my random moments of anxiety. I would not be where I am today without the help of these meds.

    I find that the most helpful thing in dealing with anxiety and depression is recognizing and owning your “triggers”. For me, any ache, ailment, or worry I have can send me into a tailspin and I can literally convince myself that I have something severely wrong with me. I have ruminating thoughts, and there are times I can almost “talk” myself into a panic attack. I am much more sensitive about death, living, and crisis situations. I will internalize someone else’s pain to feel the way they feel. Now that I know these “triggers” I tend to give myself more realisitc self-talk. I never would have thought I could control my anxiety.

    I have currently weaned myself off of my medications because my husband and I are trying to conceive. Since stopping my medications it has been harder for me to manage my diet and exercise. So, now this brings a new set of stressors and I am trying to manage this chapter of my life. I will be faced with this for the rest of my life, and I can honestly say I am in a much better place than I was a year ago. I still have moments, but they are spaced much further betwen moments of contentedness. I am so thankful to lean on my husband, my friends, and my family. I find that being open about my struggles to those around me gives me more support than I could have ever imagined.

    Reply
  • M November 27, 2012, 9:36 pm

    I experienced a miscarriage this past Spring- it was an unexpected and unwanted pregnancy but I didn’t have the opportunity to make the right choice for myself because my body made the decision for me. What was hardest for me is that I was completely unaware of how difficult it would be for me physically. It took longer than average for my HCG levels to come down and I was amazed by the heavy bleeding, cramping, nausea, back pain & hormonal flashes.

    To help cope, I had the help of an absolutely excellent physician as well as my boyfriend. Together we made it through; while the pregnancy was not at the right time, with our marriage on the horizon and our desire for a family in the future, I feel a latent fear that it will happen again when I really do want a baby. However, I take solace in knowing that the fetus was not meant to be and that nature helped me – everyone wants a healthy baby and I believe that the pregnancy I lost was one that would not have been a healthy one. I look forward to trying again when the time is right.

    Reply
  • L November 27, 2012, 10:33 pm

    I had a miscarriage in June 2012. I was 10.5 weeks along and we had seen the baby’s heartbeat at our 8 week appointment and two and a half weeks later we had another ultrasound and the sac was empty. I have never been more devastated in my life. I opted to take the pills to expel the empty sac at home – bleeding that much and having the sac drop out of me was emotionally draining and very scary for me. To make matters worse, I bled and spotted the entire summer until in late August I went in and found out my HCG levels had not yet dropped and I would have to have a D&C. I’m just finally feeling back to normal but there’s not a day that goes by that I don’t think about the baby we lost. It doesn’t help that my husband’s sister and I got pregnant the same time and had the same due date – she will have her baby any day now and I am still struggling to get my menstrual cycle back on track.

    What has helped me is concentrating on my health – I am using this time to do things for me that I will not have the time to do when we have a child. I’ve been getting acupuncture, massages, and doing lots of yoga and just taking care of myself.

    I never knew until this happened to me how common miscarriage is and I wish women would talk about it more so we can help each other out. My prayers go out to all of you who are struggling right now. Things do get better, it just takes time.

    Reply
    • Katie D. November 28, 2012, 7:52 am

      I had a miscarriage in June too. And while my HCG has dropped, I still haven’t hadn’t a normal cycle (they are about every 75 days right now) and it is so frustrating that I’m not back to “normal” yet! I’m still coping with that every day!

      Reply
  • V November 28, 2012, 1:52 am

    This past Thanksgiving I have had so much to be thankful for. Thankful for my beautiful 4-month old little girl, and thankful that her arrival closed the door on a very painful part of my life and opened a new healthy and happy one.

    My husband and I started trying to have our first child in June of 2008. We had been married for 5 years and felt like we were ready to expand our family. 15 months later, we finally conceived, only to lose our first angel a few weeks later. Physically it was a very painful experience, and emotionally I felt raw but that I could pull through and move on. Two and a half months later, we were pregnant again! yes! This time it will work! A few weeks later, I started spotting. I went in for an ultrasound to see a very slow heartbeat and a subchorionic bleed. I lost our second angel a few days later.

    After the second loss I had a very difficult time. Coupled with a major downturn in my business and no work to do, I had nothing to do every day but spiral deeper and deeper into a depression that I’d never felt before. I’d always been an upbeat person – I’ve never felt anxiety or depression before – but our second miscarriage hit me like ton of bricks. I didn’t sleep well. I cried every day. I stopped running (something I loved) in case it was keeping us from getting pregnant again. I pulled away from my friends (how could they understand what I was going through?) and I leaned heavily on my husband for support. I was so afraid that I was never going to know what the top of my baby’s head smelled like. What our child would look like, or sound like, or smile like. I was afraid I would never make my husband a daddy. I was so, so angry.

    8 months after our second loss we finally found our way to a specialist. We had all different types of testing done, and for the most part I was normal (with some “threshold” hormone levels). It turned out my husband had an issue with his sperm (the shape, or morphology, wasn’t good on the majority of them). We were told that we just needed to keep trying. We tried using clomid to help things along. Then we paired clomid with IUI’s (intrauterine insemination). After 5 IUI’s, we still had no luck getting pregnant again. 9 months after first meeting with the specialist, we took a break for 3 months, then tried a round of IVF. I didn’t respond well and we nearly cancelled the cycle. But we didn’t, and our little rainbow was born 9 months later. It was surreal to finally hold her in my arms, over 4 years after we had thrown away our birth control pills. I finally felt healed.

    What helped me? I found online support groups for women who were struggling like I was. That was the biggest help at my worst time. To commiserate with these women, and to help build them up while they were building me up, helped more than I can ever say. I’m glad to say that I found some amazing friends all over the country. The very biggest thing that helped me was to finally get pregnant, have the pregnancy and birth of my dreams, and finally have our child. I needed this for closure. Finally sharing my story with people I know in real life helped a ton as well.

    What didn’t? My anger and frustration. I was SO ANGRY! At every pregnant woman at the grocery store (yeah, I’m sure they had an easy time getting pregnant). At women who appeared to me to not deserve her children (as if I should judge). At people who asked me constantly when we were planning on having children. Sitting at home, surfing the internet for information on infertility and pregnancy loss expanded my knowledge but didn’t exactly help me. It allowed me to continue to swim in my filthy, sad thoughts.

    What have I learned? That I am STRONG. That I am a better person after all of this. That no one deserves to be judged. I also have more compassion for others. And boy, do I appreciate being a mother. I don’t think I would be cherishing my life as much as I do if I hadn’t gone through my experience.

    How do I with it on a day-to-day basis? When I was in the middle of our struggles, I dealt with it by talking to complete strangers on the internet, by reading a lot of books and articles, and by walking my dog a lot. I drank a lot too. Not the healthiest way to deal, and not a great thing to do when you’re struggling to conceive.

    What would I tell another woman going through it? First, I would give her a really big hug. Then I would tell her that the ones who don’t end up with a baby at the end are the ones who chose to stop fighting. And if she wants to stop fighting, that’s okay. But if she wants to continue fighting, eventually it will happen, whether it’s through natural conception, IVF, donor eggs/sperm, surrogacy, adoption, etc. It will happen if she keeps carrying on. I would also tell her that the hurt does diminish over time. It won’t go away, but it will give her the ability to empathize and show compassion for others.

    Reply
    • L November 28, 2012, 8:47 am

      @V I love your comment about what you have learned. Very well said, it made me a bit teary. Thank you for sharing

      Reply
  • Michelle @ Lifewithacrazypup November 28, 2012, 7:48 am

    My husband and I have been trying for a baby for about 6 months. Back in October, I had been bleeding for a week after my period was supposed to end. Considering that we were actively trying, I knew that abnormal periods were often not a good sign. I made an appointment and went in to see my doctor. It turned out that I was pregnant! I was so excited and bought a cute little outfit to surprise my husband with. My doctor assured me that many women spot through pregnancy and that I shouldn’t be alarmed. I had my blood taken multiple times to make sure my HCG levels were going up.

    A week later, I woke up in the morning with bad cramping. I was still spotting but was seeing a little more blood than normal. Because of insurance issues, I was having to see my primary care doctor rather than my OBGYN through this process. However, when I woke up — I just felt like something was way off and got an emergency referral to see my OBGYN.

    At first they tried to just tell me that everything was okay. That I was still pretty early on and wouldn’t be able to see much on an ultrasound. My doctor almost sent me home saying to call again if I have similar cramping. However, the ultrasound machine was already set up and they decided, “what the heck, we might as well check as see.”

    Unfortunately, they weren’t able to see anything growing inside of my uterus. I had just had my blood taken the day before and my HCG levels confirmed that I was indeed still pregnant with a “healthy” baby. I was sent to an advanaced radiology and then back to my OBGYN before I was given the news.

    I was having an ectopic pregnancy, where the baby implants itself into a fallopian tube rather than the uterus. Not only was I going to lose the baby, I was going to need emergency surgery and possibly lose a tube. I was rushed to the hospital for surgery. After it was over, I found out that my fallopian tube had completely ruptured and that my insides were full of blood. The doctors were surprised that I was even still functioning enough to get to the doctor’s office.

    This happened about three weeks ago, and while my body is healed (with three new scars) I would be lying to say that I was mentally healed as well. Last week I started seeing a therapist and will continue to see her until I’ve completely dealt with the grieving and the loss. As you can imagine, a million feelings have been pulsing through me constantly. “Why did this happen to me? What if my other tube is damaged? What if I can never have a successful pregnancy? What if I had died?” People tell me that I should feel lucky and grateful to be alive. I don’t feel lucky. If I were lucky — this wouldn’t have happened and I would still have a baby happily inside of me. I’m constantly dealing with feelings of letting my husband down (even though logically I know that’s not the case and there’s nothing I could have done to prevent this).

    Maybe I’m not the best person for advice since I’m still very much still dealing with the emotional aspect to such a devastating loss. However, I can tell you that you’re not alone and not everyone has a baby immediately and without any effort (as it may seem like when you’re going through something as terrible as this). There are people out there to help you deal emotionally and spiritually and seeking that help doesn’t make you weak — in fact, it makes you stronger.

    I wrote more about what happened here: http://lifewithacrazypup.com/2012/11/07/a-healing-story/

    Reply
  • L November 28, 2012, 8:47 am

    @V I love your comment about what you have learned. Very well said, it made me a bit teary. Thank you for sharing

    Reply
  • Julia November 28, 2012, 9:32 am

    Thanks for sharing these stories. I miscarried last week and had a D and C last week as well. I was only 5 weeks pregnant, and it is hard to know whether it is easier at such a short time. In any case it was terrible- I live overseas in a very macho culture where crying and needing to talk about things is not really acceptable. I had to hide the pregnancy and the miscarriage from most of my colleagues which was terribly hard as I was so upset and exhausted at work. The most useful thing was talking about it- to everybody and anybody. I understand that people say you should not tell others about your pregnancy until week 12, but know that the more people you have to support you the better! Its ok if they know earlier because even if you loose your baby you have a support network. We need to stop feeling like it was our fault it happened!! It is not!! Its your body´s way of stopping a pregnancy that is not healthy. I also think we need to feel able to talk about it with people- its not shameful, its not gross or weird. Its just natural. I also find exercising is great for healing. I live at extreme altitude (12,000 ft) and was told not to run during pregnancy as I am not a native altitude dweller and I was sad about that, so honestly being able to go for a run is the only silver lining of all of this. I would of course rather have the baby, but in these moments its ok to prioritize what works for you! I am signing up for a marathon now to have something to be excited about. Oh and I actually found a great support in on-line forums reading what others had gone through. I am not sure what I would do without internet!! So embrace the things that make you feel good, talk it out and remember you are an amazing woman and that pregnancies (in this case) are a delicate process…its amazing that we even get pregnant and have babies after all!

    Reply
  • Alina November 28, 2012, 11:19 am

    I have never suffered a miscarriage, but I do struggle with depression and anxiety. I think I have had mild symptoms for years now, but this summer my brother took his own life and since then I have struggled much more. I thought I was doing fine, better than most of my family in fact, for the first few months. But when school started again I couldn’t handle life like I used to. I wanted to stay in bed all the time, I didn’t feel motivated to do anything, I was much more irritable than I ever was before, I cried all the time, and I simply couldn’t function. My brother suffered from depression and both my sisters do as well so I know it is in my genetics but I was just too stubborn to admit to myself that I might struggle with it as well and refused to go to the doctor for months. Exercise did help me some, I started training for a half marathon. I met a few times with a counselor and that helped as well. Writing is a big outlet for me and helped me cope with my emotions. But 3 weeks ago I finally got the courage to go to the doctor and was prescribed a few medications and THIS has been my life saver. I never ever ever thought I would be that person on anti depressants. But I realized there is nothing to be ashamed if you need a little extra help. I am hoping this is just a temporary help for me, but I would say to others who have tried diet, exercise, and therapy but who still do not feel like themselves, go to the doctor. Don’t give up those other things too (medication plus therapy usually works much better than medication alone) but find what works for YOU. I feel like myself again, my husband feels like he has his wife back. And I love that with this medication I still feel all my emotions, but I do not have to live day to day struggling to even get out of bed.

    Reply
  • M November 28, 2012, 11:52 am

    I had a miscarriage two weeks ago. I have a beautiful 2.5 year old son and was pregnant with our second. I naively thought I’d sail through this pregnancy like I did my first. Our 8-week ultrasound showed a healthy baby. Two weeks later I started spotting. Another ultrasound at nearly 11 weeks confirmed the devastating news. The ultrasound tech said that the baby stopped growing around 9 weeks, so just a few days after the first ultrasound. I had a D&C that next morning. It’s strange dealing with the finality of it all. Walking into the hospital pregnant, walking out not pregnant in just a few hours’ time. Telling myself now on Mondays that I’m not entering another week of pregancy that day, reminding myself that next summer will not be “extra special” since no baby will come, etc., logging onto BabyCenter to stop the weekly pregnancy updates <—- gutwrenching.

    What has helped – my husband bought me a diamond necklace when we had our first child. The day after my D&C he bought me a pearl ring – pearl being the birthstone for the month of June, the month I was due. His acknowledgement of this second child was truly touching in that he did the same thing for it as he had done for our son. I know some wouldn't want a constant physical reminder that they wear daily, but for me it helps. It's also helped to focus my attention on my son. I've loved him fiercely for 2.5 years but that love has grown even more in the last two weeks.

    What hasn't helped – Hearing people say "you'll have another," "God has a plan," "when will you try again," "don't worry…it will be fine." While I know people don't know what to say, it's difficult hearing what they choose to say. Sometimes it's just best to say "I'm sorry" or "I'm thinking of you" and just leave it at that.

    What have I learned – I'm still trying to learn that I did nothing wrong. I've gone over scenarios in my head – was it my brand of prenatal vitamins? Did I exercise too much? Was it that one soda I drank? Obviously it was none of these things, but I feel like I need an answer of why so that I can process it, correct it if possible and go on. The first thing I said to my husband when the tech told us about the miscarriage was "I'm so sorry." I felt like I let him down by not giving us another baby. I'm still trying to navigate my way through the guilt.

    Reply
    • M November 28, 2012, 11:58 am

      I also wanted to add that it has helped for me to avoid Facebook for a while. The last thing I want to see right now is other folks’ ultrasound images and their weekly pregnancy countdown. I’m truly happy for them, but I just can’t face all of that yet.

      Reply
    • L November 28, 2012, 2:57 pm

      I remember being so excited every week to track my pregnancy and see what symptoms I should expect and how big the baby was. It was my Monday ritual to check “What to Expect When You’re Expecting”. For a few months after I miscarried, Mondays were extremely hard and waking up some mornings I would forget I was no longer pregnant. I’m glad you mentioned that because I almost forgot I had felt that way.

      Reply
  • Morgan November 28, 2012, 12:00 pm

    I had 2 miscarriages prior to the birth of my daughter and I have had a third miscarriage since her birth. I will say my miscarriages have been the absolute biggest trial of my life. Their were a lot of things that helped me, and they were a bit different each time. I have found that talking about it helps. Let people know what happened, and when people try to console you, recognize where their words are coming from even if they do not comfort you in the moment. People say awkward things in tough situations, I was able to heal better and feel more loved when I recognized that all of the well meaning comments were coming from a place of caring. I now appreciate all of my friends putting themselves out there and saying something when so many people said nothing. Even if it wasn’t what I needed to hear at the time.

    Second, and this is something I couldn’t see until I got my take home baby, miscarriages will make you a better mother than you would have been. My losses have made me treasure moments with my daughter in a way I know I would not have. I am a more patient and kinder mother because of my losses. (This is a comment about me as a mother, not saying people who have not had miscarriages are not good mothers, please don’t take it that way)

    I think the best way to heal after a miscarriage is to accept support, and try not to be sensitive to the way it is offered. It is easier said than done.

    Reply
  • Brittney November 28, 2012, 1:43 pm

    I went through two miscarriages in a year, and although they were probably the saddest, most difficult things that have happened to me in my life, I don’t think I actually went into depression- thankfully. I think I’m kind of just lucky that I’m not predisposed to depression like some people are. What helped me was talking/blogging about it (http://www.lifeinaholdingpattern.com/p/trying-to-conceive.html), running, being social, and keeping a forward thinking attitude about what I could do to try for a successful pregnancy. I did see a counselor for one session, but actually felt like it was redudent for me because I was already pretty open in talking about it with people, but I think it’s a great idea if you are normally closed off and need someone to talk to.
    Probably the most frustrating thing people said to me was “at least you know you can get pregnant”. I found that incredibly maddening, because just getting pregnant was never my ultimate goal- having a live, healthy baby was. You kind of get lumped in with other people struggling to conceive and some people compare you with people they know that aren’t getting pregnant at all, thinking your situation is less devasting. I know that in itself is also heartbreaking, but it’s not the same problem as having miscarriages. The experiences are different and both difficult in their own ways.
    I guess I would tell other women experiencing miscarriage to keep hoping. If you’ve experienced multiple miscarriages like I have, I think it helped me to see a Reproductive Endocrinologist and really look into what possible problems you might be having. It helps take a lot of the pressure of you to have a specialist looking at the problem and helping to solve it. For me, it also helped to research ways to boost my chances of having a healthy pregnancy, so that I felt like I was taking control, because not having control over the situation is part of what is so difficult about miscarrying. I ended up getting successfully pregnant in June of this year and am expecting a baby in February, but it was not without a lot of heartache and struggle. I think the consolation is knowing how much I will appreciate this baby after I’ve been through to get here.

    Reply
    • L November 28, 2012, 3:02 pm

      Can I ask what you found when searching for ways to boost your chances of having a healthy pregnancy?

      Reply
      • Brittney December 1, 2012, 7:56 am

        I took some supplements like CoQ10 and Royal Jelly, after hearing they may help with egg quality, which was possibly an issue for me. I also took one baby asprin a day, just as a precaution even though I tested negative for blood clotting disorders, which are a common cause of miscarriage. The doctor told me it couldn’t hurt and encouraged me to, so I would check with your doctor. I also tried to be stricter about eating only organic fruits and veggies. In addition, I cut out coffee/caffiene completely and tried to be as diligent as I could about working out regularly, which also helped my sanity. I don’t know that any of that helped, but I think one of the most frustrating things about coping with repeat miscarriage is the feeling that you don’t have any control, and these were some things I did to try to feel like I was doing something to help my chances, along with seeing the RE for help. Good luck to you if you are struggling. I know how tough it is…

        Reply
  • claire November 28, 2012, 6:14 pm

    I never had a miscarriage, but I struggled with infertility for over 5 years. We tried everything – Clomid (I cried constantly, hystopingogram, some other things I can’t recall now) and then ultimately attempted IVF. During the first cycle of IVF, the medicine I was injecting into me didn’t have the desired affect and we didn’t finish the cycle because there were no eggs to extract. During the second attempt I was maxed out on medicine – taking up to 7 shots a day. Still, things weren’t working. This was our last shot and there was one good egg, so the doctor suggested and we agreed to go ahead and try to extract the egg. Hey, it only takes one egg to get pregnant! Well, it didn’t work, so our last shot failed.

    My husband and I immediately jumped into the adoption process and I started running a lot and coaching a lot and keeping myself excessively busy. My husband did the same. In hindsight, we realized we were avoiding our feelings and never grieved our loss. It was weird to even identify it as loss, because the loss never existed. As we started to take things off of our plate and put the daunting start of the adoption process on hold, I finally started to grieve and I was falling apart. I think I was already moderately depressed during the last few years of infertility, but since there was now a (sort of) absolute, I was broken. I tried to hang out with only positive people, I tried to maintain a positive outlook. I continued to eat well and run often, but not too much. But when I started missing work because I couldn’t stop crying, I knew I needed help. I went to a psychologist who referred me to a psychiatrist, who prescribed me an antidepressant… I was finally able to live again. My husband even commented that he “got his wife back”. I thought I could handle anything on my own, and this beast I just couldn’t.

    Ultimately, I ended up getting pregnant and now have an incredible 21 month old daughter. I am hesitant sharing that because I know first hand that one of the WORST things you hear when struggling from infertility is that someone’s friend, sister, cousin, etc, got pregnant right when they started the adoption process. That was always up there with, “just relax”.

    Reply
  • Erin November 30, 2012, 11:14 am

    Thank you for these posts. As someone who has probably been clinically depressed most of my life (but who was just diagnosed this month), I have always been too embarrassed or just assumed that everyone had thoughts like this, to get help. Now that I’ve had some professional help (and will continue to), I see the light at the end of the tunnel. These “solutions” posts couldn’t come at a better time in my life, it’s nice to see that other healthy active women have had a similar experience to me…that just healthy eating and exercise and doing everything else that “make people happy” sometimes isn’t enough. I look forward to more “solutions” posts, and thank you Caitlin for being such a champion of women’s mental health and positive thinking! It’s really inspiring to me!

    Reply
  • Tisha July 1, 2013, 12:08 pm

    Thank you so much for sharing your story. I just had a miscarriage almost 3 months ago for the first time. Its something that I NEVER thought would happen to me. I already have 2 perfectly healthy kids and had great pregnancies. So this miscarriage was completely unexpected. I never knew that miscarriage was so painful until now. Its sad how ignorant I was. I would always think “what’s the big deal? It happens. You just try again”. Little did I know, its not that easy. Now that I am going through this I see how painful it is and stressful . So stressful that just yesterday I realized that I might even be depressed. Its a horrible horrible feeling and. It especially sucks when you think you did everything right. I carefully planned this pregnancy (took prenatals for 4 months prior, ovulation kits, sperm friendly lubricants, charting, the whole nine!) I knew the exact day I ovulated, conceived, so much that I knew my due datE and all the details before my first prenatal visit. I did everything right. I just couldn’t understand how I lost this one when it was the exact opposite with the last 2. With my first 2 kids I was very naïve and for a while didn’t even know I was pregnant. Now here I am at 25, the ideal age for child baring, did everything right and lost my baby! Words can’t explain the pain I feel. I took it for granted the first 2 times and now I feel like I just got slapped in the face by life. I knew what I was in for the first time I saw blood in my underwear and everyone around me just kep trying to give me hope, even the doctor.. I just I bled for 2 weeks knowing I was losing my baby just to go in and find out its little heart stopped beating.during my two week wait to see the doctor again I had been so obsessed with googling anything and everything. To give me some hope. Then after the doctors confirmed what I knew deep down I had to have a D&C. Doctor said to wait for 1 period to try again. Its been 10 weeks and still no period. The wait just makes it so much more stressful and I’ve literally become obsessed with this whole process (reading everything, scheduling unnecessary doctors appointments, checking my underwear for any sign of blood constantly). I’ve never wanted a period so bad in my life. Last week I went to the doctor and she prescribed provera for me. I thought that would ease my mind but I’m still obsessed. After taking it for only 3 days all I could do was sit in my bed all day yesterday and cry hysterically because my period hadn’t come yet. The doctor said it could take up to 2 weeks after my last pill for my period to show up. What a nightmare. I feel for any woman that has to go through a miscarriage. It is no joke. I was 8 weeks when I lost the baby. I can’t even imagine the devastation it must be for someone that is further along, doesn’t have any other children, or has had multiple miscarriages, or all 3! I know people that lost their babies at birth and now I feel like just calling themhugging them, an d saying I AM SO SORRY what u went through. I just want to ask “how did u do it”. I’m barely getting through this.

    Reply
  • amy March 24, 2014, 2:11 pm

    I just found this post and it was so helpful, and even more so the comments. I just had a miscarriage. It was an unexpected but wonderful surprise to get pregnant after 2.5 years of marriage and we lost the baby at 8 weeks naturally. I am devastated and starting seeing a counselor. Caitlin- would you be able to have more guest writers on the topic of miscarriage? I feel like it is something that is shunned in our society and it would be wonderful if more women could share their experiences.

    Reply
    • Caitlin March 24, 2014, 2:51 pm

      I am so sorry to hear about your miscarriage :(

      Reply