Do miscarriages make for more stressful pregnancies later on?
I am delighted to be pregnant with child number 2, but this is actually my third pregnancy. I am one of the many, many women who has suffered from a miscarriage. According to the NHS one in five pregnancies ends in miscarriage and around three quarters of those miscarriages occur during the first trimester (first 12 weeks of pregnancy). I am one of those statistics.
My first pregnancy was in July 2005 and I got pregnant the first month we started trying. I was delighted. A few days after we found out B and I went off on holiday to the French Alps with my parents, his mum and his gran, so we excitedly told them our news that first night, despite it being really early days. It was great fun as we talked about this new grandchild and great-grandchild and I have such happy memories of those first few days of the holiday.
Then mid holiday we went on a day trip over the border to Switzerland and after lunch I noticed some bleeding, not just spotting either. To cut a long, very sad story short the next day (the 14th July – France’s national holiday!) it was confirmed that I had “spontaneously aborted” the baby. I was only about 5 weeks pregnant at the time, but the grief, guilt and sadness I felt was overwhelming.
I can’t begin to imagine what it must feel like for those miscarrying later on and anyone who has ever gone through a miscarriage has my full sympathy.
Despite reading up on miscarriages, in particular early miscarriages, and seeing that they happen in general through no fault of the mother, and are caused by a foetus that wouldn’t have been viable, I still couldn’t help blaming myself. What had I done wrong? What should I have done differently? And would I be able to carry a baby to term?
Despite my gynaecologist checking me out and reassuring me that everything seemed in perfect working order, I couldn’t help worrying if my next pregnancy would be ok.
After getting pregnant in month 1, it took us a further 8 months to conceive L, during which time so many of our friends and acquaintances were announcing pregnancies that poor B ended up clearing up my sobbing messes time after time.
We were over the moon when we found out I was finally pregnant again, but I was unable to enjoy that pregnancy. Every week took me closer to this baby being viable and I remember being ridiculously relieved when I reached 24 weeks and I was told that if I happened to give birth now the likelihood was that the baby would survive. Instead of thinking “wow, that’s really too early for a baby to be born” all I could think was “my baby is viable”!
I felt such a great responsibility towards my unborn baby – I didn’t have one sip of alcohol, I stopped doing sport (it had been suggested by a certain someone that walking – not hiking, just walking – in the Alps had caused my miscarriage), I was overly strict with myself about what I ate, and I basically didn’t relax for around 40 weeks!
Funnily enough once L was born and she was no longer just my responsibility I completely chilled out, she slept in her own room as soon as we brought her home from the hospital, and I never worried overly about her, in complete contrast to when I was pregnant with her.
Pregnancy number 2 couldn’t be more different – as I know I have carried a healthy pregnancy to term and that I now have a very healthy 5 year old to show for it I feel completely relaxed about this pregnancy and my miscarriage risks (hopefully I am now past the major ones as I will be 25 weeks tomorrow). Which is crazy really when you think I am now 36 (I was 30 for my pregnancy with L) so my miscarriage risks are probably higher.
I wonder if I am alone in feeling this way? Have any of you had miscarriages and then had subsequent stressful pregnancies through fear of further miscarriage?
I felt incredibly lonely when I miscarried as I didn’t know anyone who had also had a miscarriage, but I’m guessing this is just because we don’t tend to talk about it with others. Have you had a miscarriage? How did it affect you?
If you know of anyone who has suffered from a miscarriage, just be there for them and help relieve them of that horrible guilty feeling.