Jana Says

Living life from cover to cover

On pregnancy loss

Seven.

That’s how many years it took to get pregnant again. 

Eleven. 

That’s how many days I got be pregnant again before I miscarried. 

Six.

That’s how many months have passed since my miscarriage.

Fifty.

That’s how many books I’ve read to keep my mind occupied during the empty spaces when my mind wanders to what could have been. 

Two. 

That’s how many failed infertility treatments I had over the summer. There would have been more except money ran out and emotions ran too high.

Countless.

That’s how many tears I’ve shed thinking about my child I’ll never get to meet.

Dozens.

That’s how many people I’ve talked to who’ve been through something similar (including my friend Jeff). Not surprising, though, because roughly 1 in 4 women experience miscarriage. 

Daily.

That’s how often I blame myself for what happen, even though in my head I know it’s not my fault. It typically difficult to pinpoint the cause for one and I know blaming myself doesn’t change or help anything but yet I do it.

The rest of my life.

That’s how long I’ll continue to mourn. I know over time, like any loss, it’ll get better but it’ll still be there.  

One. 

That’s how many children I have and will have. And I feel lucky and blessed that I got the one I did. For so many reasons.

I know my story isn’t unique. There are hundreds of thousands of women like me. And the fact that we’re still so afraid to talk about miscarriage frustrates me. Because it’s not something to be ashamed of. It’s something that happens. Instead of keeping it a dirty little secret, we need to be supporting each other, comforting each other, and being there to help one another through our grief. 

How to help is difficult. It’s hard to know what to say to someone. There are lots of things you shouldn’t say like “Everything happens for a reason” or “At least you know you can get pregnant!” or “You can always adopt”. Why these are wrong and completely unhelpful is a post unto itself. And if you say them to someone experiencing a miscarriage, know that we know you mean well. There’s no malicious intent. But those statements still hurt. What would be more helpful is “I’m so sorry” or “I’m here if you need to talk” or “Is there anything I can do?” or simply just bring us tissues and let us cry or talk about it, even if it might be uncomfortable to hear. 

That’s what we need.

What else do we need? 

We need people to stop asking “when are you having kids” or “why only the one” and my personal favorite, “you’re so lucky you only have one” (yes, I’ve had that said to me. Yes, I had to refrain from launching into a tirade). A) it’s none of your fucking business and B) if you need to make it your business, quit assuming it’s by choice. Sometimes it is, sometimes it isn’t. But you don’t need to concern yourself with anyone else’s reproductive issues or choices. Even if you’re related. 

We need to destigmatize miscarriage and bring into discussion so we can get those dealing with it the help and support they need. Just like with mental health, keeping it secret because of shame or discomfort doesn’t make it go away. And I’m grateful to celebrities like Gabrielle Union and Mark Zuckerberg for openly discussing their fertility and miscarriage issues. For whatever reason, in this country, it takes celebrities to discuss issues to make the rest of us feel like it’s okay to talk about. But with this, if that’s what it takes, then that’s what it takes. 

We also need more stories like my friend Justine’s, who shares what it’s like to know you’ll never have a child and to learn to accept it. We’re saturated with stories of people who tried and tried and then, miraculously, they had a baby. And then another. And then another. We’re bombarded with the message that if you never give up hope, a baby is in your future. But that’s not always the case and women need to know that you can still live a full and happy life without children (Note: I’m only referencing the women who want to have kids and can’t. Those who choose to remain childfree have a different set of issues to contend with).

We need people to know it’s okay to grieve openly.  To talk about their losses. To know that “miscarriage” is not a dirty word.

If you’ve experienced a miscarriage, please know that you’re not alone. You don’t have to grieve in isolation. I’m here for you, even if we’ve never met.

And know that your baby, your pregnancy, no matter how brief, mattered. Just like mine did.

pregnancy-infant-loss-remembrance-day

Today is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. If you can, please light a candle at 7PM in your time zone (I think that’s how it works. I’m struggling with understanding) to create a wave of light for all the babies gone too soon.

 

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32 Comments

    1. Jana (Post author)

      I did read that! I love what she has to say and agree with all of it.

      Reply
  1. Tara

    Shortly after my coworker had her daughter, her husband got testicular cancer and that ended their chance for any more kids. She feels blessed to have had the daughter they had (literally just in time) and they’re lucky in that by having one daughter, they were able to provide so much for her. Sometimes one is a great number for a family!

    My mother had a miscarriage in her late 20s, and she was someone who happened to end a pregnancy by choice when she was too young to handle the responsibility. She later had my brother and I, but I know she felt the miscarriage was penance for her earlier termination. Women are not the causes of their miscarriages and I agree that we as a culture should be more open to talking about them if comfortable doing so, since many people shoulder these burdens by themselves.

    Reply
    1. Jana (Post author)

      Your mother is not the first person I’ve heard of to say that a miscarriage was penance for an abortion. Except that it’s not. But you can’t help but blame yourself because like with any loss, you want someone or something to blame. And without outside factors, you turn it inward.

      We can provide more for our daughter since we only have her and some days (lots of days), that’s a huge blessing to us.

      Reply
  2. SMD @ Life According to Steph

    So much love for you for posting this. I know how devastating this has been for you and to push through that, write it, get it out there and do your part to de-stigmatize and be a post someone can read and feel comfort from, that is wonderful. I’m proud of you.

    And as always, I’m sorry. And I’m here if you need to talk. And is there anything I can do?
    SMD @ Life According to Steph recently posted…Thursday Thoughts – and suddenly it was mid-OctoberMy Profile

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    1. Jana (Post author)

      Thank you. A million times, thank you. I can’t tell you how much that all means to me.

      Reply
  3. Karen

    I’m constantly asked when I’m having another baby. Most of the time I just politely smile and change the topic. Or I just walk away. I’ll probably never be comfortable sharing my own personal experiences on my blog but that’s also because it’s something my husband isn’t comfortable with either. I respect his feelings, it’s his life too. It’s something we are in together. I DO fully support the women who do choose to share their stories though. Maybe that won’t make sense to some people but it’s my life. I have days where I’m at peace with things but I also have a lovely therapist so I can’t take all the credit for that!
    Karen recently posted…Virtual Book Tour // Mo(u)rning JoyMy Profile

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    1. Jana (Post author)

      No. I get it. There are some things I don’t talk about on my blog out of respect for my husband. But I’m totally fine if others want to share about those topics.

      It’s funny because I had been at peace with the whole one child thing. Then the pregnancy and miscarriage happened and it threw my whole life for a loop.

      Reply
  4. Dawn

    Thank you for sharing this. I used to read these stories and not know what it was to be affected by pregnancy loss. After 12 years of trying and finally getting pregnant, only to end in an ectopic pregnancy, I am “1 in 4” now too. I’ll be sharing your post today – Much love and support.

    Reply
    1. Jana (Post author)

      Hugs and love to you today, too.

      I felt the same way. See the stories but not feel personally connected. Becoming 1 in 4 has changed me in so many ways.

      Reply
  5. Kimmi

    Big hugs to you. I know so many women who have dealt with this and I am glad that it is starting to be talked about. Thank you for sharing your story for those that need to know they aren’t alone.
    Kimmi recently posted…No Thanks, I’m GoodMy Profile

    Reply
    1. Jana (Post author)

      I believe that the more we can talk about things like this, the more those who don’t experience it can understand and it’ll break down some communication barriers. Also, the worst thing you can feel when you’re grieving is alone. So one of my goals is to eliminate that.

      Reply
  6. Mackenzie

    Hugs and a whole lotta love to you Jana. Thank you for sharing your story with us, I know it must have been difficult. If you need anything, anything at all, I am here for you.
    Mackenzie recently posted…We Will Rebuild Our DreamsMy Profile

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  7. Cathy Kalina

    You are always in my heart. Your words are profound and touch so many nerves. Hopefully, they will touch the thousands who experienced the same level of grief and strength.

    Reply
  8. lisacng @ expandng.com

    Thanks for sharing this, not only today but in the past. It helps me, as someone who’s never experienced such loss, to be able to support those who have. Goodness knows I’ve said some stupid things to people. Much love, girl. I’ll always be here to read and support whatever you need to share.
    lisacng @ expandng.com recently posted…Tweetviews โ€“ book reviews in 140 charactersMy Profile

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  9. Tonya@Budget and the Beach

    I’m so sorry you have had to go through (and are going through this). I can’t imagine the emotions that take over when something like this happens. I’m sure it’s a roller coaster. ๐Ÿ™
    Tonya@Budget and the Beach recently posted…This IS the Life I OrderedMy Profile

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  10. kay ~ the barefoot minimalist

    When my son was 4, I got pregnant. I was 5 1/2 months pregnant when we lost the baby. A baby girl we named “Faith”. It took so long to get over her. The grieving was awful and yes, people said the stupidest things. The doctor came in and asked me why I was crying. A nurse actually said to me that I should be grateful, because I already had a child. Well, DUH! I guess at that point, I should have gotten out of bed and danced a jig. I’m so sorry for what you’ve been through. I was afraid to try again because I was afraid it would happen again. May God Bless you and your family, and thank you for a very meaningful post for so many of us.
    kay ~ the barefoot minimalist recently posted…Dear Kay, Letter #2, โ€œA Merry Minimalistโ€ ๐Ÿ™‚My Profile

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  11. Pingback: Miscarriages, They Happen. | Jenniemarie Cisneros

  12. Jenniemarie @ Another Housewife

    Jana I am so proud of you. I know how hard this is for you. Your heart to help others know they are not alone is so pure and needed in this world. I love you my friend. Lifting you up in prayer as people read and respond to your words. {{Hugs}}
    Jenniemarie @ Another Housewife recently posted…Miscarriages, They Happen.My Profile

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  13. Amanda

    Children are such a touchy subject. I know that people mean well, but, I don’t think that they put themselves in other peoples shoes when they ask obtrusive questions. You mentioned people asking you about having another… I try to remind myself not even to ask THAT.
    Amanda recently posted…Weddings and Birthdays and Date Nights… OH MY!My Profile

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  14. Analisa

    I lost my son when I was 9 months pregnant and that devastation stays with me every single day. You live your life and move on from it but it never truly hurts any less. I have one son but people continuously ask when I’m having more. I thought about it but thinking about having to possibly go through that pain again isn’t worth the stress and worry. So now I just enjoy everyone else’s kids! Just know you aren’t alone!

    Reply
  15. alyssa

    I don’t have a personal experience with this, but your words have made it so vivid. I know I can’t truly empathize, but I do sympathize and am so proud of you for sharing your experience so candidly and putting a real, human voice to this kind of pain and tragedy. You’re in my heart today.
    alyssa recently posted…The Great ReturnMy Profile

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  16. Erin of TexErin-in-SydneyLand

    Thank you for your words, your courage, your honesty, and your ability to educate. I learned several things from this piece. It breaks my heart that you blame yourself. I want to remove any and all of that guilt from your heart. If you ever want to vent to someone who is far removed (you know, that whole other side of the earth thing), please don’t hesitate. I can listen. I can pray. I can send positivity your way. Hugs.
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  17. Nadine

    Sending you hugs. I can imagine that this was probably a pretty hard post to write because going through something like that is so hard and you never really get “over it.” Just like you don’t get over losing a family member because they are one in the same. Some people just don’t get that. I hate hearing people ask me or others when we are going to start having kids. We never know what someone is going through in life to ask such personal questions. And while we all dont like uncomfortable conversations and just try to say what we think people want to hear…we need to just say that we are sorry and that we are here. Such a great reminder. It applies to so many things in life.
    Nadine recently posted…Fitbit Charge HRMy Profile

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  18. Kristen

    Thank you for writing and sharing this.

    This post is amazing because it’s so incredibly raw and honest. I can’t even begin to imagine what a loss like that would be like. And I agree that so many women feel like they can’t or shouldn’t talk about it, and that’s definitely not true. That’s why posts like this are so important. Someone out there who is dealing with this may stumble across this and not feel so alone.

    I’m so sorry that you’ve been dealing with this. I’m keeping you in my thoughts today.
    Kristen recently posted…From the Bookshelf: Recently Read – October 2015 EditionMy Profile

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  19. Kay R.

    I know my busy life has made me a terrible blog friend but this touched me to the core for reasons I probably shouldnt put in a comment section. Hugs Jana such beauty in the raw-ness of your words. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Reply
  20. Amber

    I’m sorry for what you went through. Your words touched my heart. I
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  21. Kerry

    This had to have been such a hard post to write but I commend you for trying to reach out and help others who are struggling as well. SO many hugs. I am so sorry.
    Kerry recently posted…Friday Favorites | Long WeekendMy Profile

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  22. Kelli

    I’m sorry you have to go through this, I can’t imagine at all what it would be like. I’m sending lots of love and hugs your way always.
    Kelli recently posted…Dream ChasingMy Profile

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  23. kristen

    I am so sorry Jana. I really wish there was something I could do or say to help, I know it’s weird but I am here if you ever need anything, anything at all I can do.
    kristen recently posted…Happy & Thankful LatelyMy Profile

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  24. Ali A

    Thanks for sharing this – not an easy thing to do and your honest and forthcoming post probably provides so much comfort to the many women out there experiencing the same thing. My mom had a miscarriage after my older brother (talking 30-something years ago) and whenever she talks about it, I still see and sense the pain and sadness. She was one of the lucky ones who was able to have another child afterwards (me) but that grief stays with you. My heart goes out to anyone who has ever dealt with this or is currently dealing. XO
    Ali A recently posted…Did Halloween Come Early? No, It’s Just Tinder. – The Champagne SupernovaMy Profile

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  25. ellesees.net

    i don’t know what to say. i’ve never been in your shoes and cannot even begin to act like i can relate with some cheerful maxim. i do know the pain of never having kids. i thought i would have 5. at least. i then said ok, i’ll settle for 3. now, at a newly-crowned 39, i have none. none. i feel defeated. i come from an italian family where my late grandfather was one of 14. no one has ever had fertility issues or a miscarriage. and then there’s me. i feel like the first pancake. but! i do have a dog that i am crazy-obsessed with, and i consider myself a mom that way.
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