Do Not Blame Yourself for a Miscarriage

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“There is no heartbeat”

My best friend was in the gynaecologist’s office, scared to death for her unborn baby, after she started bleeding.

At first, there was pain, so much pain. So much blood!

Then, disbelief. Did this really happen? Did she just lose her little baby, just like that?

And then came the big one. Doubt. And self loathing. I saw my friend retracing every step that got her to the scanning room where she was told that the baby isn’t growing anymore.

“Did I lift something heavy” she asked me, “I must have lifted something heavy. Or maybe it was that cocktail I had at that party two months ago?” Then she calculated, and concluded that the party happened surely before she conceived. But then she doubted again, maybe she miscalculated she thought. For several days after the bad news, the doubts and self checks continued. Perhaps she shouldn’t have taken that trip to the mall last week, she thought, commuting could have harmed the baby. I told her it was only a 20 minutes drive, in a Mercedes. That could have done no harm. Could it be the coffee? The pizza? She even hated herself for eating cashews.

“I must have done something wrong, why else is this happening to me?”

It was painful to watch. She was the one who suffered a major blow here, causing her insufferable physical and emotional pain. And yet, she was blaming herself for it, finding inadequacies in her body, in her conduct, in the way she cared for her unborn baby. For a second I felt she was being ridiculous blaming herself for something that was no goddamned fault of hers.

This is something common to all or at least most women who have suffered a miscarriage. They tend to blame themselves for it, find fault in something they did, something they ate, drank, or whiffed.

Looking back today, I know I was wrong and so is my friend. I sincerely urge any woman going through a miscarriage to stop feeling like this. It’s not your fault. It’s not because of something you did, or didn’t do.  Doctors have confirmed that in most cases, a miscarriage is due to genetic reasons or unpredictable problems in the way the fetus formed in the first place. In any case, it is purely biological and not a result of something you did wrong.

It’s not your fault. Period.

While it is important to give in to the situation and grieve, you should not turn to self loathing. Give yourself the time to feel the loss. You need some closure and that cannot be rushed. Remember though, that with time you will feel better. You must believe that as painful as this may be right now, it’s not the end of the world. You will conceive again and you must look forward to that.

What’s more important is to let go of the guilt and start taking better care of your body, now that it has been through a painful process of miscarriage. Eat well, take rest, replenish the energy you just lost and prepare for another pregnancy. And the only way to do that is by accepting and loving your body again.

A lot of women feel so betrayed by their body that they become harsh to it. This leads to neglect and loss of health when you should actually be taking much better care of it. Women have been known to not take their pain meds after a miscarriage, because they feel they deserve the pain!

You do not deserve the pain.

Not only emotionally, miscarriage is extremely punishing physically. In many cases, there is too much blood loss, pain and discomfort. The risk of infection is higher and the need for iron and other supplements is increased. You must follow your doctor’s directions, take your meds regularly and eat carefully. You need to be kinder to your body. Never, ever hate it or feel let down by it.

Look out for your partner too. He realises how hard this must be for you, so he’s probably trying to be strong for you. That shouldn’t drive you to think he doesn’t feel the pain. Talk, talk a lot. Let it out, let it go. Accept help from your partner. It’s okay to feel vulnerable; it’s okay to feel weak. 

Don’t be afraid to talk to friends about it. Most women say they felt completely alone after a miscarriage. You’d be surprised to know though, that nearly one in four pregnancies suffer a miscarriage. Yet, most couples tend to think talking about this is in some way, embarrassing or uncomfortable. Please understand that it isn’t so. Only by talking to friends will you find out that one or more of them might have been through the same. That will definitely give you a sense of companionship and help you cope better. Maybe your friends know what happened, and wish to help, but don’t know how to bring it up. Let them in.

Bottomline, take care of your health, replenish your body and talk away your pain. And do not, DO NOT blame yourself. Sometimes, it really is no one’s fault. And it’s not fair, it’s just not fair. But Cest La Vie!

And believe it or not, this friend of mine, who is really skinny, was borderline anaemic and too weak at handling pain. After she had a miscarriage, and after she was done grieving, she really did say this to me-

“Guess what though, one thing I’ve found out for sure is that I’m not as weak as I thought I was. I have lost so much blood and suffered so much pain, and yet, here I am. Who knew I even had that strength in me?”

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19 thoughts on “Do Not Blame Yourself for a Miscarriage

    1. Thanks a lot dear, Im so glad you came, even though im so rude i dont even return the visits.

      yes this is a sensitive issue indian women hesitate to talk about and hence suffer in silence. I hope they find more strength.

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  1. I know no one wants science and logic at times like this but early miscarriages are usually Nature’s ‘whoops! Made a genetic error here! Gotta erase it’ reaction. If that sounds very cold and impersonal, then I apologize!
    I’m glad your friend is strong! Kudos to her!

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    1. Believe it or not, thats exactly what i told her too. In fact almost 40% first pregnancies end that way. But for some of us it just looks like a heavy period and we dont notice. That’s kinda lucky though. But when it happens after you’re done peeing on a stick and preparing for a baby shower, it hurts, the later the worse too.

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  2. I can relate to this as a close one of mine recently went through this trauma (feels to me).

    But I guess at least she got pregnant in the first place, after trying for many years. Maybe, next time it will be a lucky one.

    Pretty soulful read.

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  3. Finally.. after hopping to your blog so many times, finally there’s a post..! Phew..!!

    As for the post, it’s brilliant.. the issue you raise is quite sensitive.. To all the brave women who choose to live life to the full even after losing your unborn baby.. You have all the respect in the world.. and shall be a great mothers as well 🙂

    Cheers

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    1. Ha ha…you sweetheart, have no idea how many times i hopped over to this blog hoping to find something, er, i mean, write something :p well, as usual, i’ll just blame the kids 😉

      But thank you for coming. Yes, women have like a million problems anyway. If they start blaming themselves for a miscarriage, that will just make them even more miserable. I hope more people try to talk it out than suffer in silence, and loneliness. Cheers indeed!

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  4. That’s a great post and thumbs up for writing on such a sensitive subject so wonderfully. Recently, Mark Zuckerberg also shared his personal story and it must hurt the parents but you said it right – self-loathing is not the right thing to do.

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  5. hmmm… you know as a women we have lots of problems, we don’t tell out… it took ages for me to visit a gyenic when I had some urinary infection… damn irritating… this year I again went had all the tests – diabetes, tyroid, then scanning of abdoman was done and was told I can accuate uterus and possibily may have to correct when I get married or something… I guess if I do ever get married conceiving might be a problem): … I understand how my cousin sis-in-law would have felt in her miscarriage and understand how hard it is also understand that it provably happens and it is ok… even though I am women I admire other women you know, it is hard being one… many times whenever I want to do some travelling, or some other outdoor activity I still don’t want to do when in the menstruration time… I guess it is ok to accept that your not upto something at one time, my inspiration are other women who do everything having kids and busy life still being unstressed out or even the young ones who do every thing adventurous and otherwise being active happily without showng any physical stress… I tend to wonder if my Mom also suffered miscarriages at her time as her Mom suffered a lot, that’s like way before… chalo anyway… yes I think ladies should not be shy of speaking of these sort of problems to others too… they got to be strong because being a women is hard I think so, maybe I am wrong, but that’s my opinion. There are more issues women face and they got to speak up face it and solve it and I think we as society have to be supportive to her(: goodday

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