Friday, June 19, 2015

Fool me once...

We all know how the saying goes: "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me." I feel like there is a similar unspoken saying for miscarriage: "Miscarry once, what a shame! Miscarry twice, what bad luck! Miscarry three or more times, it's all your fault!"

In my own experience and from what I've heard from other women, it seems that at some magic number, others stop caring about your losses. The sympathy ends and is instead replaced by blame.

Well, you've miscarried X times before, you knew this might happen again.

Don't expect sympathy from me. If you didn't want to go through a miscarriage again, you shouldn't have gotten pregnant.

Maybe God's trying to tell you something. 

I think, in part, some of this is due to misconceptions about miscarriage. A recent study found that a large majority of Americans believe myths about miscarriage, myths that often put the blame on the women who go through this instead of understanding the medical truths behind loss. Though there weren't any questions asked about this, I suspect that most Americans would also overestimate the risks of  miscarriage in subsequent pregnancies. The truth is that even for women who have had four or more consecutive miscarriages, they have a 50-70% chance (depending on the study) of carrying the next pregnancy to term without medical intervention. For someone who has had medical treatment, the chances of having the next pregnancy result in a healthy, full term pregnancy is even higher. Unless you know you have one of a few specific conditions, doctors would advise you to keep trying.

But even if you know you have a high chance of miscarrying again and purposely conceive, a miscarriage is still not your fault. It's still the loss of a child and a tragedy. And a woman deserves just as much support and compassion at losing her fourth or her ninth or her fifteenth child as she does for her first. The value of human life does not decrease as the likelihood for loss increases.

Each of my six children is a unique human being. Unique genes, unique soul. Each one has his or her own preferences, personality, and appearance. I mourn the four we lost not as lost potentials, but as unique individuals. Though I bonded most with our second baby, the first child we lost, each child leaves her own hole in my heart that cannot be filled by anyone else. This baby we are currently expecting is a wonderful blessing but not a replacement for the children we've lost.

We're coming up on two due dates - one next week and one next month - and even being pregnant with another child, I still keenly feel the loss of those two babies that would have been born around this time. It still hurts to look down at my stomach and see a small 20 week bump instead of a 39 week monstrosity or a still-very-large-and-daunting 35 week one. I still cry often because I miss those little ones. The world didn't grieve them with me. In fact, many people think it would have been better off if they had never even been conceived. What did their short lives do but break my heart? And yet, I'm so grateful that my husband and I had the courage to conceive them. I am so glad that they exist. With each one of my six children, I cooperated with God in His plan of creation and I have to believe that all of their souls, not just those of my living children, are needed, necessary.



4 comments:

  1. Pope Benedict said "Each of us is the result of a thought of God. Each of us is willed. Each of us is loved. Each of us is necessary." I love this quote and I always think of my baby in heaven as being necessarily born in heaven for a great reason.

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    1. Great quote! And what a wonderful comfort!

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  2. You have no idea how moving this was for me. I have had 9 miscarriages and have three precious boys here in my arms. My husband and I grieve the children we've lost, deeply, even when it seems noone else does. We have chosen to remain open to more children and we share that knowledge with hardly anyone because we always get told we are crazy, noone risks another pregnancy with those odds. We do. And we do so because we believe those souls matter *no matter how long we get to spend with them*. And we pray for another one to stay with us. Four of those losses were before our oldest son was born. If we listened to those who believe you shouldn't risk another loss, we wouldn't have any children with us on earth at all.

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    1. What a difficult journey you have had! It's such a personal decision for others to weigh in on. God bless you for valuing all your children and being open to life even after such suffering and loss.

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