sharing your stories and remembering your children
By: Emily Carrington EPLA President & Founder
My first miscarriage was a “missed miscarriage.” I sat in the waiting room at the doctor’s office with my husband. I clutched my Saltines while we talked about how we would announce the pregnancy after this visit. This was our second visit; we had seen a heartbeat about a month before and the doctor had assured us that after a heartbeat was detected my risk of miscarriage was very slim. This was just a routine check-up.
First the doppler, then an ultrasound, then a trip down the hall for another ultrasound. All three tests confirmed the same thing - no heartbeat. The doctor carefully walked me through my options and sent us home to take time to think.
The next morning we went on a walk in the woods. I felt like a living, breathing, walking tomb. Fully alive, I carried death inside me.
The next six months were filled with landmines. First it was the pregnancy announcements, then the gender reveals, then the births. I was in my late 20s and many of my friends and family were entering into parenthood with joy while I was left behind to face the agony and reality of death.
My motherhood began when Baby was conceived, but I ached for my motherhood to be realized. Picking myself up, we tried again, and I quickly became pregnant, only to suffer the same fate. By the end of 2014 I had been pregnant for more than 20 weeks but never left the first trimester. I felt robbed, broken, and insufficient.
I also felt silenced. While my family and close friends encouraged openness, I could not figure out how to move forward and embrace my story and my children. There was no social script for me to follow; there was no graceful way to talk about it.
Then I was asked to share about my losses in front of a group of 80 women at a local Bible study. As I wrote our story, the story of my first two little ones, my heart was released and they were given life again. As I told my story to a room full of women of all ages, I continued to feel feel empowered as the mother of my children, even though they were no longer with us.
For many reasons, the grief of miscarriage can be stolen. Miscarriage is common, miscarriage is misunderstood, and miscarriage is largely invisible. Miscarriage is pregnancy loss before 20 weeks and most miscarriages occur during the first trimester. This is before a woman is showing a baby bump or feeling kicks. Because of these things, our culture has perpetuated myths about the severity of the loss through the the things we tell women to encourage them: “At least it was early,” “I am so sorry you are disappointed,” “Just try again!” All of these things belittle the death and grief caused by miscarriage.
Mothers have had enough. Since my first miscarriage in 2014 the dialog has changed. Celebrities are coming forward, non-profits continue to pop-up, and mothers have started to share their miscarriage stories on social media.
It has always been part of our vision at the Early Pregnancy Loss Association to give a voice to grieving families. We hope to use this blog to share your stories and remember your children. We also seek to bear burdens by encouraging community, furthering public discourse, and connecting professionals and parent advocates. Through parent stories, artwork, professional perspectives, editorials, and podcasts, we will fight the hushed culture surrounding early pregnancy loss.
I hope you will join us as Hope Blooms, even as we embrace and acknowledge death.