Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Grieving miscarriage and looking ahead

We continue to just feel our way through this, try to figure out what path makes the most sense and feels right in our hearts. It's hard. Our history of multiple miscarriages is hard, and the possibility of more loss has sometimes felt unbearable.

Today I saw this article in TIME, which says that even if we succeed - newsflash - grief over a miscarriage doesn't necessarily disappear. And apparently, the number of losses matters, in terms of how hard it is to shake your sadness. Thirteen percent of women who had one miscarriage or stillbirth* before a live birth were depressed nearly three years later. This rises to 19% for those with at least two losses. And rises again to 22% for those with four losses before a healthy birth.

I'm glad this topic is receiving national press attention, and I'm thrilled it's even being studied, since the psychological impact of miscarriage is such an underinvestigated area. I know, because I'm a clinician and a researcher, and I've tried to read up on it as a way to comfort and educate myself. But truly, I find none of these data surprising. Was it expected that loss, and in particular multiple losses, wouldn't have a longer/larger impact?

Reading this, of course, leaves me wondering what the rate of depression is of those who have six losses before a healthy live birth.

And even harder, but on our minds as we consider next steps on our journey, the very real question:

What if you never have a healthy baby? What then?


*and seriously? the researchers combined miscarriage and stillbirth as though they are one and the same and can be collapsed together? Bad researchers!!

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  1. Mo, I was just thinking about you today and wondering how you two are doing.

    So glad you posted just so we know you're still out there, still standing...

    (((big hugs to you)))

  2. Mo, I think of you often and continue to hope that good things come to you and Will. Even in my darkest days I kept that twinkle of hope alive and hope that you continue to do the same. I couldn't face the day without that tiny glimmer in the back of my mind. I hope for you each and every day.

    BTW ... this isn't suprising data to me either and completely agree that stillbirth isn't the same as a miscarriage (thus shouldn't be lumped together). I'm not sure why your link isn't working, but would like to read the article. Could you send me the link?

  3. Niki - thanks for letting me know the link isn't working. I fixed it. And we try to have hope - at least a twinkle. Some days are more successful than others...

  4. Hey -- I was just thinking about you this morning and hoping you were doing well. Thanks very much for sharing this -- it is, of course, not surprising information but good that it is getting some play.
    I wish you all the best.

  5. Mo - I've been thinking of you as well...I have been reading your blog for so long and have always found you to be very inspiring.

    Having just experienced a miscarriage I am very interested in this article. Your question is quite thought provoking so I thank you for this post today.

  6. Thanks so much for posting this link. I'm now in my second miscarriage (it's ectopic and so much more difficult then my first m/c) and I don't yet have any children. I really wouldn't wish the miscarriage process on anyone, but boy oh boy, do I wish I had children prior to going through this. Something about *knowing* that my body can support a healthy, full-term pregnancy. Because right now all I have is fear that it can't.

    I'm following along on your journey and wishing you lots of love and happy outcomes. Best wishes to you.

  7. So glad to hear from you Mo...thinking of you all the time.

  8. multiple miscarriage is a subject close to my heart so I will read with interest. If you have the time/inclination click though my profile - at 'Songs for my Unborn Children' I have written some poetry on miscarriage/infertility..a cathartic releasing of my own experiences.

    Thinking of you


  9. I read about that study a few weeks ago. I'm glad that someone is finally recognizing the psychological toll of loss. I've only had one miscarriage (and one semi-miscarriage really early chemical), and I'm a freaking near-certifiable basket case in this pregnancy. And my family really doesn't understand. Even my husband. They can't fathom why I seem so focused on the negative, so unable to control my emotions. I don't know if there's any way to explain it, because they never seemed to *really* get how devastating the miscarriage was in the first place, and the year+ of IF that followed.

    It all just sucks.

  10. Thanks for sharing this! We are dealing and processing and coming off of our 2nd loss in a row as we prep for IVF and hope that our karyotypes and all the other blood work comes back normal. It something I feel like I've never truly get over, but yet it seems my family and friends don't get it. Its so frustrating. All I know is that I'll never forget my two little angels even when we have a blessing in our arms.

  11. Hi, Mo- so good to see you on here. I have been thinking of you so often.

    Like you, I have gone to the research for answers and validation. And, like you, I am struggling every day with the question you ask at the end of your post. I wish I knew. I hope neither of us to know.

  12. I've been thinking about you often and sending lots of prayers. Will continue to do so. ((HUGS))

  13. Mo,I just wrote a post on miscarriage-induced-scarring and that was somewhat inspired, at least with respect to timing, by your post.

    Coping with this sort of grief, with no guarantee that the 'happy ending' will show itself is like trying to get out of quicksand. I'm trying to manage it myself, that is all I can say on the topic.

    Keeping you in my thoughts.

  14. I am keeping you in my thoughts! Hugs!

  15. I had someone say to me after a number of miscarriages that I was "welcome to the club," which I found alarming. Part of me thinks that this is a dice game and that we'll hit a good one at some point. And the other part just wants to curl up into a ball and forget this ever happened. None of it has been good. I am glad that the depression surrounding miscarriage is being talked about. And I know that after such a long battle with this, that there are few answers other than to just keep moving. That forward momentum might lead us someplace entirely new.

  16. "Reading this, of course, leaves me wondering what the rate of depression is of those who have six losses before a healthy live birth." - This sentence reminded me of a conversation I had with the doctor who prescribes my anti-depressant.

    He told me the goal of anti-depressants isn't to make everything happy and shiny again, it's to get the patient to the point where they are able to have an "appropriate" emotional response to their situation. I looked him in the eye and said, "So...what, exactly, is an 'appropriate' response to having 5 dead babies and 3 failed adoptions?" We sat there staring at each other for a good 30 seconds, and then he finally, very quietly, said "I have no idea."

    Unfortunately, we're among that very small group that has to figure it out.

    Thinking of you, and hoping you and Will find peace and clarity in your path forward.

  17. "What if you never have a healthy baby? What then?"

    i don't know but it's where i'm at now - if you find the answer can you please please let me know?

    i'm hoping you never have to find out that answer for yourself mo


  18. I have been thinking about you. I keep deleting the rest of my comments here because they are kind of corny and won't help anyway. I hope you can find a way to heal as best as anyone can after so many losses.

  19. Oh, Mo, I wish I knew the answers to your questions. I wish I could assure you that whatever you try next will bring you a healthy baby. Hell, I wish I could just make this suck less. But I want you to know I'm thinking of you, and I wish this weren't so fucking hard.

  20. I realize that it's the height of selfishness to focus on myself, but I keep thinking that I "only" had one stillbirth and one neonatal death. And they were twins, so I'm not sure that it really counts as two separate losses.

    I was really, really sad for a long time. Though probably not actually depressed, since I've been through a few real depressions and I know what that feels like.

    I know it's incredibly inadequate, but my heart goes out to you and to everyone else who's suffered loss after loss.

  21. mo, your last sentence resonated.

    i am so sorry for your losses. i am the artist/ceramist friend of mekate and sprog, and i've had some powerful experiences with the "never" fear. ask sprog and, if you want, email me.

  22. I've been thinking about you!!! Thanks for posting that link and I really hope there is more done to be looked into this topic!

  23. If you never have a baby, is it your choice? What does "have" one mean?

    I had to redefine all that for myself. It hurt.

    ps - Shitballs. I am glad you posted this. If things go right and we make it to HB, I need to stop my crazy meds. Thing is, I love my crazy meds. Crap.

  24. [quote]What if you never have a healthy baby? What then?[\quote]

    Mo - Glad you are working through things and deciding on next steps. It's so terribly difficult when your sitting in the forest trying to look through the trees.

    I strongly believe that people who desire to become parents somehow and someday find the children that were always meant to be theirs. Us RPL girls just have to work much harder and be more creative about it.

    As for what is "a healthy baby", I think the term is relative. This is something I stumbled on and is one of the most moving and inspiring stories I ever read in my life. WARNING: have a jumbo box of Kleenex nearby - you will shed tears.

  25. So glad you updated. I've been thinking of you a lot.

    If you never conceive a baby then....nothing I suppose, I'm still trying to come to terms with our own child free situation. Some days are good and some days I have a lot of anxiety about our decision to stop trying. It never gets easier and I never stop thinking about it.

    My wish though for you and Will is that you will conceive and that your hearts and lives will feel whole and that the pain of your miscarriages will lift, eventually.

  26. its a double edged sword isn't it. whilst I'm happy that "awareness" is being spread, at the same time, stillbirth is not even remotely the same as a miscarriage (with no offence or disrespect intended to anyone) - I've suffered 2 second trimester deaths, 6 first trimester miscarriages and our surrogate terminated our healthy baby boy @ 22 weeks - what are my chances of being "normal" if I ever get to a live healthy baby?!! I shudder to think.

    Thinking of you. Wishing you strength. Cause there is no other choice.

  27. Glad to see that you posting again and congrats for passing the test.
    It is not the same, miscarriage and stillbirth.
    I had 4 m/c 3 of them 14-17 weeks, it is not a stillbirth but far enough


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