Below the Surface: A Women’s Perspective on Miscarriage
On average 20 percent of pregnancies result in miscarriages, and according to American Pregnancy Association, losing a baby (fetus) prior to the 20th week of a pregnancy is considered a miscarriage. The average of miscarriages is extremely high in comparison to the efforts put in making this naturally occurring event known amongst women. It is an event that can be an onset of depression, a signifier to a greater medical issue, and can alter someone emotionally. Comprehending each aspect of miscarrying is significant for any women, even if you're not actively trying to conceive.
Why Miscarriages Occur
Miscarriages can occur for many reasons that are usually unexplainable but some reasons are known. Women during pregnancy who have problems with chromosomes often miscarriage and those chromosomes make it possible for a fetus to develop normally. The abnormal chromosomes can occur because of maternal age, the environment, meiosis (problem with eggs splitting), or mitosis (extra chromosomes or missing chromosomes)- you can read more on chromosomal abnormalities at Standford Children's Health.
Other causes of miscarriages are women having an abnormal hormone level (hormones are important in all stages of development for the baby), having an Infection, physical problems in the mother, uterine abnormalities, or have pre-existing medical problems such as diabetes or thyroid disease. Women who have certain diseases (like diabetes or thyroid disease as mentioned), who are 35 and older, or have had three or more miscarriages are at a higher risk of miscarrying.
Signs That You're Experiencing a Miscarriage
It may sound ridiculous but you may not know that you're having a miscarriage. Heck, you may not even know that you're pregnant in order to have a miscarriage! But knowing the symptoms of a miscarriage is important because it is significant to seek medical attention immediately. Symptoms can be spotting or bleeding that changes from light to heavy, severe cramping, abdominal pain, high fever, feeling weak, or having back pain. If you experience any of these symptoms it's best to contact a medical professional as soon as possible.
What To Do After You Experience a Miscarriage
After seeking medical assistance and receiving confirmation of a miscarriage, it's best to follow whatever procedures/after-care steps your doctor recommends. Afterward, you may experience cramping for a day or two and/or have light bleeding for a week. Normally the body recovers from a miscarriage quickly and ovulation occurs two to four weeks after the event.
If you've miscarried, it may have taken a toll on you and that is normal and okay! Take the time you need to recoup, seek therapy if needed, take your time to try and conceive again, and remember that miscarrying wasn't your fault- it was completely out of your hands!
How To Deal With a Loved One Who Has Miscarried
Dealing with someone you love who has experienced a miscarriage can be difficult as it may have altered you emotionally too. The best response is to be understanding of why it happened and that it could have tampered with her emotions significantly, be aware that miscarrying can be an onset of depression, stay close and give support without being overbearing, be patient with her recovery process/ time, and be what she needs you to be.
My Personal Experience With Miscarrying
Like many other women, I have experienced a miscarriage. It took a huge toll on me for a long time as I kept it from the majority of my family and friends (most are still unaware). It was specifically difficult for me because I was under the assumption that I couldn't conceive due to medical conditions, so adapting to the miscarriage and the idea of me being able to have kids one day was breathtaking in both a good and bad way. I dealt with the recovery process on my own as I hid all of my emotions towards it, but it has been an experience that has prompted my growth as a woman and a person- along with making my current pregnancy a huge blessing. I kept my current pregnancy from friends and family until I was five months term out of fear of having another miscarriage. To this day I still pray over my current pregnancy and anticipate meeting my daughter. I've grown to learn that everything happens for a reason, and the previous experience with miscarrying has made me and my boyfriend undoubtedly enjoy every aspect of this pregnancy. Despite my growth after the miscarriage, it will forever be embedded in my memory.
This can be a touchy and emotional subject for some women, and I'm open to talk more on the subject privately if need be.