sharing your stories and remembering your children
By: Maria Servold EPLA Editor
After a miscarriage, many women may feel especially uneasy about conceiving again. They may feel guilty, confused, sad, happy, or excited, or any combination of these. While they are surely glad of the new life inside them, it is impossible to forget the life that had been there before.
After my miscarriage in the fall of 2012, it took a year for my husband and I to conceive again. When we finally did, anxiety about losing another baby consumed my thoughts. I kept the pregnancy a secret longer than many women do, waiting until 20 weeks to post anything on social media.
I hardly told anyone until I passed the 9-week mark, as 9 weeks was when I lost my first baby. Somehow, I felt that crossing that week was important and that if I did, this baby would make it. Those were thoughts driven by grief and stress, not scientific fact, but I breathed a sigh of relief after those 9 weeks had passed.
I did carry that baby to term - she is now 4 ½ years old, and I have another daughter, age 2 ½.
A few weeks ago, I told my students that I am pregnant with another baby. I shocked myself by revealing it to them when I was only 10 weeks along, partly because I couldn’t conceal my bump any longer, but also because I didn’t want to hide something joyful behind the fear of loss.
With each of my subsequent pregnancies after that first lost one, I have felt more and more confident about sharing the good news with family and friends earlier on. After my miscarriage and through my work with the Early Pregnancy Loss Association, I have seen the support women can and should receive after a pregnancy loss. Seeing the support available through organizations like ours encouraged me to share my joy about another baby even before it was socially acceptable to do so.
Our social “norms” tell us not to announce pregnancies until at least 12 weeks, just in case the baby is miscarried before that point. Many women choose to wait that long, and that is totally fine. Every woman and her partner should decide for themselves when to announce a pregnancy. But for me, I realized that if I did end up miscarrying, I’d tell my friends and family anyway in hopes of receiving support, so I may as well tell them about the pregnancy.
It has been a blessing to not have to continue to hide my good news (or my constant nausea and fatigue) from my friends, family, coworkers, and students. Even though my little nagging worry about miscarriage will never go away entirely, I have found confidence and joy in trusting my good news with others, knowing I’d trust my sad news with them as well.
Maria Servold is an Editor at the EPLA, Assistant Director of the Herbert H. Dow II Program in American Journalism, and Lecturer in Journalism at Hillsdale College