Monday, July 12, 2010

On Miscarriage

The decision to reveal whether or not you're pregnant is a very personal one. The books recommend against it until you have passed safely through the first trimester, since the likelihood of miscarriage is so high.

I don't know how I'll feel once I'm actually pregnant, but right now I think I want to tell people as soon as possible, precisely because the risk of miscarriage is so high. It's something we should talk about more, so that people don't feel as lonely when it happens.

Knowing how attached I am to the idea of getting pregnant, I imagine that I would be devastated by a miscarriage. I definitely would not want to tell people face-to-face, "Oh, by the way, I'm no longer pregnant." I am 99.99% positive I would cry over and over again if I had to do that.

So if Matt and I are going to tell people that we're pregnant in the first trimester, then we will also have to have a plan for how to tell them if we lose the baby. Maybe that should be the policy: Whoever we decide to tell, we should be thinking about how we would untell them.

Like this blog would be easy. I can write a post when I'm pregnant because I could also write a post about having a miscarriage. Family will also be easy. I will tell my mom over the phone, and she can spread the news to the rest of the family. If I have a miscarriage, I could rely on the same process to spread the news.

What about colleagues? Maybe I could tell my closest colleague and inform her that she is welcome to tell other people, but if she does, she will also have to tell those people if I have a miscarriage.

I know some people thinks it's wonderful to have a little secret for twelve months, and I can understand and honor that inclination. But I am not really a secrets kind of gal. I like sharing my joy with others. I find that the process of sharing multiplies that joy.

So maybe the reverse is true for miscarriage? The process of sharing the sorrow multiplies that sorrow?

I haven't found that to be true in my life. When I share my sorrow with others, it helps me feel less alone and more connected.

I'll have to talk through all of this with Matt once we become pregnant. He's already a bit stressed out by the fact that we are actively trying to conceive. Making him process hypotheticals does not seem like a good way to calm him down...

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Katie Ready said...

I don't think you should worry about the "what ifs". Do what you feel is best at the moment. I always felt that I would not tell until the first trimester was over but I was not able to keep it in with either pregnancy! My sister, who has had a previous miscarriage chose to keep her pregnancy a secret until she was three months along. Sadly, last week just after they let the news out she endured a very traumatic miscarriage (she was hospitalized with 4 pints of blood lost). Not to make you more nervous about hyptotheticals than you already are, but things like this happen and you just have to roll with it.

Do not make yourself sick with the bad possibilities now! You will have your whole pregnancy to think of every possible birth defect and everything that could go wrong. Then you will have the rest of your life to mull over irrational fears of horrible things that could happen to your child (I get a sick feeling everytime my kids do laundry with my mom b/c I am scared they will get stuck in the washer and it will be turned on, rediculous but it could happen!I even go so far as to warn my poor mother of this even though she would NEVER let something like that happen).

My advice is to breathe deep and enjoy the last little bit of time you will ever have without the (almost) crippling fear and anxiety that comes along with parenthood!!!!

Princess Christy said...

My parents experienced the pain of late miscarriages. Sadly, even though they often waited to be out of the first trimester, it's not always enough. If you CAN wait, I would wait on the first one... give your body a chance to start adjusting. That still leaves you with six months to share the joy of being pregnant with everyone you know!

Sharpiegirl said...

I would recommend keeping it to just your closest friends/family until you get closer to the 3 month mark...just to keep them from making you crazy.
You remember how everyone had an opinion on your wedding plans. They are much worse when you get pregnant.
Oh, and then, if the worst happens everyone has suddenly become a fertility specialist and knows exactly what you did wrong and will tell you so in the most "helpful" way.
Your hormones and stress level are already in overdrive and you will wonder why the heck you even told them.
We are up to loss #4. All of them for different reasons. With this last one I told the 2 people in the world I trust the most. And when it ended there was still one I wish I hadn't said anything to.

Jessica said...

With my first pregnancy, which was completely unexpected, I announced it on my Facebook. I was so excited, I didn't think of any possibility of a miscarriage. When I had a miscarriage, I couldn't very well announce that on my Facebook and I had to deal with random acquaintances messaging me months later asking how my pregnancy was going. Not fun. With this pregnancy, I decided to announce it to my best friend and my parents and oldest brother only. That way, I would have support from the people I wanted it from the most but wouldn't be put in a bad situation again. Thankfully this time around she stuck :)

Aamba said...

When people give that advice, they don't seem to think about your emotional state. What I mean is, if you didn't tell anyone you were pregnant, and then you miscarried, you would probably still be an emotional wreck and very upset and no one would know why!

My friend decided to wait six weeks to tell her family because she knew they were overly excitable. Unfortunately, she died three weeks in and I still don't know if anyone besides her husband and myself know that she was pregnant when she died.

Crys said...

The above comments make me super scared. I am sure that was not thier intention but talk about worst case situations!

All of my friends have been pregnant this last year. All have told close friends and family by the eighth week. All have worked out great! I just recently found out we were expecting and we were going to wait until 12 wekks to tell. However, we are in our early 30's and have wiated a while to try. (it worked on the first try with tracking my cycles) But once we knew...we were sooo excited we could only wait three weeks after us finding out to spread the news. Plus I think it would have been even sooner if the hubs wasn't out of town! Do what feels right! I think if anything bad should happen I would simply share the news with family and my close friends and ask them to spread the news. Just like with any major life event you have to set your standards and try to let others opions blow in one ear and out the other, especially if you know what the truth is! Best of luck!!

Anonymous said...

We just suffered a miscarriage two weeks ago of our twins at 17 weeks - well into the second trimester. We had told our closest friends and family immediately and waited to tell the general public until that 13 week mark. But clearly a miscarriage can strike at any time. Yes, there were some people that it was a little harder to have to share the bad news with (co-workers), but everyone was so supportive and wonderful that I cannot imagine not having said anything. Everyone grieves differently of course, but I found that isolating yourself with the news was worse. Of course it is a completely personal thing and everyone needs to find what is best for them. I do think it is way too early in the game to worry about this kind of thing. I personally drove myself and my husband nuts as I obsessed about getting preganant for 19 months before it took IVF to give us the two pink lines. You are just starting on this journey - try not to obsess about it so much now because you never know how long the journey will be.

Stacy Marie said...

I'm like you, I want to share the joy and excitement! But I would like to wait until after the first trimester to share the news. I have endometriosis, and that exacerbates the rate of miscarriage, so knowing that, I think it's something I would like to keep private at first. Plus, Ryan's parents want grandbabies SO BADLY that it would be devestating to them.

E. said...

We recently had friends tell us at six weeks that they were pregnant. We were so thrilled for them, but then a few weeks later, she suffered a miscarriage. She had said, when they told us, that she decided to tell earlier so that she had her friends and family's support in case something did happen. I don't know how many other people she told, but I hope she had enough support when it happened.

I would wait to tell people, not because of the chance of miscarriage, but because what one of the above commenters said. You would not believe how much people think your pregnancy is their business. They get Obsessed. It's worse than your wedding. The judgment, the "I told you so", the "don't drink too much coffee". I think you will want to avoid that, especially from your colleagues.
I definitely wouldn't tell work-people until you have to - it's not their business, and it doesn't affect them until you are on maternity leave.

Anonymous said...

Honestly I am a little disturbed that you think that since the risk of miscarriage is high, then you should tell everyone you are pregnant as soon as possible. This is completely illogical. I have known several people who have experienced miscarriages (including myself) in all sorts of situations- past the 1st trimester, 4 weeks into the pregnancy, 8 week, multiple times. Who you tell or don't tell does not make it any easier or harder for you to deal with the situation. Your body is very personal and this is something that you alone will have to deal with. Do you really want your co-workers knowing the intimate details of your personal life? I even waited until I had to have a D&C to tell my parents. It was none of their business and personally I think it shouldn't be their business. It is something that requires the type of internal thoughts and personal reflection to figure out how to deal with it. You may think having people around will make you feel less alone, but this is pretty far from reality.
Other than that, I would say, you need to calm down and not think of situations like this. Do you think of getting in a car wreak every day you drive? Drowning every time you swim? etc. There are some things you can never prepare for and worrying and thinking about them only makes enjoying the things you are supposed to be enjoying less pleasurable. Pregnacy has risks and women have been dealing with these risks successfully for thousands of years.

Carrie said...

Sara, I met my first person who took this approach with her first pregnancy, which ended in miscarriage. She repeated the approach with her second pregnancy, which also ended in miscarriage. I asked her whether she was glad she told people early on in both instances, and she said yes. She is very much how you describe yourself; she is not good at, nor does she enjoy at all, hiding emotions, whether positive or negative. Frankly, I was somewhat shocked at the early notification approach at first, but it now makes complete sense to me with the right personality. I definitely recommend having a plan about how to tell people if it doesn't work out, as I found out from a joking comment referencing the nursery. That was awkward, for sure.

Anonymous said...

ive never tried to become pregnant and i think if i did i would not tell people right away (i am a private person) but if i can offer some advice from a friend who has just had a miscarriage and did tell people, she said she is glad that she has told people because now she can be upset and not worry about pretending, and the amazing support she got was incredible. so if you are willing to be open i would go her route. :-)

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