When I shared publicly, about suffering my first miscarriage, I received an outpouring of support and well-meaning advice. Overwhelmingly, people responded by telling me to try again as soon as possible; they meant well, but somehow I felt that this was bad advice [for me]. Don’t get me wrong, my first thought, after discovering I had suffered a missed miscarriage, was about trying again as soon as possible.
I wanted to take the time to properly grieve the loss of my unborn child, as well as to make sure that I was mentally and emotionally strong [again] before trying to conceive another baby. A series of medical mishaps with the D&E I had performed after my miscarriage, and associated psychological trauma, caused me to delay trying to conceive again for several months; however, four months after suffering my miscarriage, I was pregnant again.
A woman is forever changed once she suffers a miscarriage, and subsequent pregnancies are often treated with apprehension and anxiety. The pregnancy following my miscarriage was filled with anxious thoughts of possible loss, and became a self-fulfilling prophecy when I lost that pregnancy in my tenth week. In retrospect, I had tried again too soon, and my fragile mental and emotional state quickly deteriorated after suffering a second loss [in six months]. I was broken, and my days would get darker before I was able to see the forest for the trees.
I spent the months following my second miscarriage mired in self-hatred, berating my body and focusing on all of the ways it had failed me [and killed two of my babies]. After three months, wallowing in grief and sadness, I finally sought the help of a therapist; I had reached such a low that I didn’t know where else to turn.
Talk therapy, and medication, have helped me be at peace with my miscarriages; I’ve weathered both a chemical pregnancy and another miscarriage in the past six months, and am at peace with the outcome. In retrospect, I should not have tried for another baby so soon after my first loss. Indeed, I have had many women tell me that they regret getting pregnant so soon after miscarrying, because it caused them to bury their loss[es] with the prospect of a new baby; in fact, many woman, who conceived immediately after miscarrying, have told me that they ended-up having their loss[es] resurface later (as a result of not properly grieving).
When I hear from someone who has recently suffered a miscarriage, or have readers reach out to me, the one thing I won’t tell them is to try again as soon as possible. My advice is always to take however much time she needs to grieve, talk about the loss with close friends/family (or join support groups if they are truly alone), and to be good to herself. So many women are skilled caretakers and nurturers, but rarely treat themselves with such care; this is a time when self-care is of the utmost importance.
It’s been three months since my last miscarriage, nine months since beginning medication and talk therapy, and I’m feeling better than I can remember. My outlook is bright, I’m at peace with my losses, am able to see all of the wonderful things in my life (and not focus on the negatives), and my husband and myself are beginning to embrace the fact that our son may be our only child. I no longer feel rushed in trying to have another pregnancy overshadow any grief, as I have [finally] taken the time to grieve my losses properly. I know that there are no ‘do-overs’ in life, but I’m extremely grateful to have taken time after miscarrying to find peace and acceptance.