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miscarriage - if its so common why don't people speak about it?

(66 Posts)
Twig79 Thu 30-Jul-09 09:01:54

I've just spent the last 3 days and 38 hours in hospital having a traumatic miscarriage at 10 wks. What I want to know is this -
If 1 in 4 pregnancies end in early miscarriage why don't more people talk about it? Why doesn't the midwife explain about the risk? Nearly every nurse, ward assistant and doctor I saw while in hospital told me either A) they had had a MC themselves, or B) MCs were "very common" or "not unusual".
So why don't women talk about it? When I had my first MW appointment she asked me how I was feeling, I said while it was a planned pregnancy (my first) I was a bit scared - she immediately said "nonsense, there is nothing to be scared off you should be excited" with odds of 25% of pregnancies ending is MC - surely that's a risk to be scared of? I know I sound angry, and I am, I'm still under the effect of general anesthetic and I'm grieving. But it wasn't until after a visit to the early pregnancy unit, when we left no clearer (this was post spotting and pre bleeding) we went to our GP who was brave enough to say "the information on this early scan would indicate you should prepare for the worst" (they had booked me a repeat scan for 2 weeks time) within 30 mins of getting home the bleeding started, we went to A&E were I lost so much blood I ended up in the resuss unit with all the machines bleeping and a very worried looking DH. No one spoke straight to us, right until I saw a consultant yesterday afternoon. I never knew how painful, traumatic or lengthy a MC was. One of the nurses summed it up to me when I asked her why no one spoke about it, if it was so common she said, "British people feel uncomfortable talking about death and this falls into that category". I'm going to return to work next week, and part of me thinks that if people ask me why I've been off work, I'm going to tell them I had a MC. As if it’s that common, then there is nothing "wrong" with me and I've got nothing to be ashamed of, and maybe that means more people will feel comfortable talking about it.

Chevre Thu 30-Jul-09 09:05:54

sorry to hear of your experience.

i don't talk about mine as it is too sad tbh. i am not ashamed but it is too painful. i do know what you mean.

take care of yourself. i think you are returning to work too early and maybe you should consider another week or so.

Neeko Thu 30-Jul-09 09:15:10

I'm so sorry to hear about your awful experience. Miscarriage is heartbreaking (I had a MMC in March at 12 weeks and it was without a doubt the worst experience of my life) and it sounds like you've had it harder than most. Remember that you are possibly still in the shock phase and it will take a while to come to terms with it or find some way to deal with what has happened to you.

I found after mine that I wanted to talk to everyone about it as that was the way I could process it. As soon as I opened up it seemed that everyone had had one. That made me sad but I still wouldn't tell someone who is newly pregnant how common they are. I had a very innocent and happy pregnancy with my DD and now that I'm pregnant again (5+2) I'm pertified. I wish all women could enjoy their pregnancies the way I did with DD. Maybe that's why no one tells you. Turn the statistics on their heads and you have a 75-80% chance of a successful pregnancy - why cause all those women to worry?

I hope that in the future, if and when you're ready you go on to have a trouble-free pregnancy and a wonderful baby. In the meantime be kind to yourself and allow yourself to grieve. Rememeber to keep the lines of communication open especially with your DH and don't be afraid to seek professional help if you need it.

Lastly, please don't rush back to work. you've had a horrific experience and recovery takes time.(please also consider iron tablets for the blood loss) Yes the world goes on, but you don't need to be part of that until you're ready.

I hope this helps and that oneday soon you'll see sunshine again.

SixtyFootDoll Thu 30-Jul-09 09:16:02

I dont talk about mine unless it specifically comes up in conversation.
I wouldnt mention it to someone newly pg as although 1 in 4 pgs end in mc 3 in 4 dont, so you are mor likely to have a healthy pg than a mc, why worry people unnecessarily?
After it happened too me, like you said so many people came forwrd and told me it had happened to them, I couldnt believe how commmon it was.
Sorry to hear it happened to you though.

Twig79 Thu 30-Jul-09 09:20:48

one of the worst things as because it was my first pregnancy, its hard not to do all that stuff when you find out, like talking about names, and starting in your head to think about mat leave, and what you need to rearrange in the house and what you need to buy. 10 weeks is a long time, as i'm sure all newly pregnant women can't help but think about it most of the time. I kind of want to go back to work as what good can it do to stay at home and feel sad? am i not better being busy? also while i know we are going to try again, i'm already petrified.

lal123 Thu 30-Jul-09 09:23:08

I don't talk about mine - except on here, before this pregnancy I had 2 mcs. My Mum had multiple mcs and my MIL had one too. With both my mcs my GP offered to write something vague on my sick line - I asked him to put miscarriage (mostly because I didn't want work to think I was malingering!)

Like Neeko says once you've had a mc and subsequent pregnancy is never the same - I'll worry about this one til I have baby in my arms. I never really had that overjoyed "I'm pregnant" feeling - just worry. I would never want to put a newly pregnant woman in that position - even if the worst does happen then at least you've had the early weeks of joy.

flier Thu 30-Jul-09 09:24:32

So sorry to hear of your experience. Its worth pointing out that yes 1 in 4 pg end in misscarriage, but not all of those pgs are ones that the women knew about.
If you feel that you can tell people you were off because you had a miscarriage, then that is great for you.

all the best

Neeko Thu 30-Jul-09 09:27:14

Those are all perfectly normal thoughts and feelings and I would think most women who've miscarried have had them. Miscarriage is about the loss of your future and that's hard to deal with. It's also hard to grieve as you're grieving someone who you loved and wanted but very few people knew about. I know it seems desperate right now but eventually you'll realise that you haven't thought about it for a minute/ten minutes/an hour and in a few months the good days will outnumber the bad.

I hope this next part isn't out of place here. I completely understand your need to try again. Just in case that is soon remember you'll have HCG in your system for a few weeks so HPTs and OPKs will come up positive for a few weeks. it can be worthwhile waiting until you have a negative HPT before trying again to avoid giving yourself false hope.

EldonAve Thu 30-Jul-09 09:29:42

Sorry to hear you've had such a rough time. I would suggest you see how you feel over the weekend before committing to returning to work on Monday.

I think people do talk about it
I already knew lots of people who had experienced mc before I got pg

I wouldn't expect a mw to discuss it at an appt though unless you'd had previous issues. Here you don't tend to see a mw until 14 weeks so the risk of mc has reduced by then

spongebrainmaternitypants Thu 30-Jul-09 09:42:12

Twig, so sorry to hear about your traumatic experience.

I would agree with others that telling a newly pg that m/c is very common could be counter-productive, as most pgs don't end in m/c.

My first two pgs ended in m/c and it was an utterly devastating experience. While I do talk about, I don't always open up to people and have been extremely hurt by people's comments in the past, along the lines of "it's not really a proper bereavement" etc. This hurt me so much and I learnt to only open up to people who I knew had been through similar experiences and who would not compound my grief with their crassness.

Please take time to go back to work - you have been through a massive physical and psychological trauma. Be gentle with yourself.

juuule Thu 30-Jul-09 09:42:14

Sorry to hear that you are going through this.

Give yourself time to recover physically before you return to work. You sound as though you have had quite a bad time with a lot of blood loss. This isn't true of every m/c. Give yourself time to at least 'get your breath back' mentally too.

Don't be ashamed of saying you've had a m/c but also don't be surprised or upset if people don't know what to say to you.

With my first m/c I felt like a failure and was reluctant to tell people about it. I didn't know anyone else who had had a mc apart from my mum. It took me a while to find out more and realise that it wasn't my fault.
Also, whenever I mentioned it to people they either tried to jolly me or looked embarrassed. Neither of which reaction helped so I didn't speak of it to just anyone until I'd got my upset under control.

Neeko, after my m/cs HPT showed -ve within a couple of days. After one m/c I tested +ve around 6 weeks after erpc for mmc and it was a new pregnancy. I had had a -ve hpt just a few days after the erpc. So HCG levels can go quickly after m/c.

jambutty Thu 30-Jul-09 09:46:32

So sorry to hear about your miscarriage and I can understand the way you're feeling.
I miscarried at 12 weeks (11 weeks and 5 days, actually) ten years ago, and I can still remember when my baby would have been due (wow today, actually - complete coincidence, just thought about it as I was writing this - 30th July 1999, that just made me cry).
I now have a dd of 9 and another of 5, btw.
I also found lots of women who had had miscarriages, but they only told me when they knew I'd had one. I thought it was 1 in 6, maybe it's gone up. I think people don't talk about it because it's a painful thing to talk about - it's not shameful, it bloody hurts. I only talk about it to Dh and if I think it might help someone else. Do whatever makes you feel better about this horrid situation. If you want to tell people, do so.
I think it is made clear that pregnancies before 12 weeks are vulnerable, hence the unspoken rule that you try really hard (almost impossible!) not to tell people until 12 weeks.
The doctor who saw us told us to grieve, then to move on. Easier said than done but i remembered what he'd said. We made a small box, DH wrote a poem and we put it in.
Hope this helps. Look after yourself.

lazylion Thu 30-Jul-09 10:33:25

I agree with you Twig. People don't talk about it and that includes midwives / doctors. When I had mine (last October) even the sonographer couldn't tell me straight. It is ridiculous, miscarriage is not a shameful secret and we should know how much it hurts. Mine was agony for a week and I was not warned. The secrecy and the lack of knowledge really doesn't help.
I tell people now very openly, and when they ask how many children I have I include the miscarriage.
You will get through it Twig, I know how dark everything looks now but you will be fine in time. I went straight back to work and I don't think I did the wrong thing - but you will probably get howling and crying fits creeping up on you - so be prepared to find somewhere private.
Best of luck to you.

juuule Thu 30-Jul-09 10:40:08

The Miscarriage Association gives information, advice and support for anyone who needs it. I found the information reassuring.

timmette Thu 30-Jul-09 10:45:43

Sorry to hear about your loss Twig.
But for me it is very painful to talk about it, and didn't want to deal with reaction of other people the look of sadness on their faces, or the oh crap I don't know what to say look, etc. But to the few people I have mentioned it to many have a miscarriage or more and they are not all English or British so I don't think it is that reserve thing - I think maybe because it is such a private thing - who knows it is different for everyone.

Twig79 Thu 30-Jul-09 10:51:42

thanks for all yr messages. my mum is travelling 300 miles to come and see me today, which is great, as everyone needs a hug from their mum sometimes. i agree with lazylin, the sonographer wouldn't tell us either. we've not done anything wrong so we should'nt be ashamed. juule, i'll have a look at the MC association, thanks. for the next couple fo days i'm going to let myself be looked after

dol1y Thu 30-Jul-09 11:04:03

Hi there - I know what you mean about staying busy but I'd think about having another week off to get your head together. After my first MC I didn't dare tell work what had happened as I work in a very male environment and didn't want to be excluded on the basis that they knew I was planning to start a family. I only took a few days off afterwards and it was a mistake. As they thought I'd been off with a tummy bug when I got back I was thrown into very long hours and had masses of work waiting for me to deal with. I barely coped and spent time in the ladies in tears and heading home late at night exhausted and emotionally overwhelmed. When it happened a second time and like you I ended up hospitalised due to heavy blood loss and on a drip for two days to try and bring my blood pressure back within a normal range I though 'f**k it' and my husband called them and said that I was in hosp and what had happened. GP signed me off for two weeks and I was glad of the time to get my head together. Work sent flowers and were actually quite gentle with me for a few weeks when I got back.

People are strange when it comes to MC and don't like to talk about it but when I was in hospital a very kind consultant told me straight but was very sympathetic and the nurse who discharged me was very kind. I remember that she said people don't realise the loss that women feel when they MC and to try and forgive people if they are embarrassed and don't get it. She said 'once hurts but the second time cuts though you like a knife' at which point I had a good old cry - good release though. Anyway - the point is do have a good old cry - its cathartic, be kind to yourself and go back to work when you are ready. And stay hopeful - I thought I was doomed to fail at pregnancy but I now have the most beautiful little 6 month old girl and feel so blessed.

PracticalCat Thu 30-Jul-09 12:12:47

I think most people don't really understand miscarriage. I didn't, until it happened to me. I mean, I had sympathy for people who had miscarried, but I couldn't quite comprehend the loss until I had experienced it.

I think this is one of the things that prevents me from talking about it much - people just don't get it. It gutted me to lose my 8 week baby two years ago but saying "I had a missed miscarriage" could never quite communicate what I had gone through, unless talking to people who had experienced it too.

beanieb Thu 30-Jul-09 12:15:53

Sorry to hear about your miscarriage.

I had one but only really talked about it here and to close family/friends who knew I was TTC.

If someone else talked to me about their miscarriage then I would be open about mine in return as I think it can help support people but generally I don't want to be telling everyone I see about it as it was a few weeks ago and I am trying to be positive about getting pregnant again.

Have to say, when they couldn't find the heartbeat I was very pissed off with the nurse who scanned me for not being straight and to the point at the time.

Twig79 Thu 30-Jul-09 12:27:09

i agree beanieb, they saw no heart beat on my scan but booked me for another one in 1 days time and told me that bleeding in early pregnancy was very coomon. 45 minutes later i was back in a&e losing pints of blood. my doctor says that the sonographer was "just covering their back"- we really left the early prgcy centre thinking there was hope. i'd rather they would have done something then and admitted me, than having to sit bleeding and crying in a&e for an hour.

Twig79 Thu 30-Jul-09 12:31:53

to add insult to injury i've just had a letter for them with a12 wk scan appt.
also thinking about the stats. if its 1/4 and everyone thinks its not right to tell newly pregnant mums, what about if your nuchal scan results showed a 1 in 4 chance of having a downs syndrome baby - surely you would consider that to be very very high. so i don't see how 1 in 4 can carry different weight depending on the aspect of pregnancy it is being used to describe.

beanieb Thu 30-Jul-09 12:33:52

I think that sometimes nurses think they have to be sensitive but really when it's a situation where the baby is just not viable and never will be, I think it's just better for them to be straight. I was told 'I'm not seeing the heartbeat very well' when what they actually meant was 'there is no hearbeat at all'.

Try not to be too pettrified Twig, about trying again. It is scary but you will get through it. I think we just have to try to abandon ourselves to fate and hope for the best. Mine was a first pregnancy too, after many months of trying, and it's been hard to get back on the bike and start trying again but we're trying to be as chilled out as we can.

Really do wish you all the best. I was back in work fairly soon after the miscarriage as I felt it was better to just get on with things but I did have ups and downs so don't be hard on yourself if you do feel emotional for a while.

juuule Thu 30-Jul-09 12:36:38

Twig79 - it is true that bleeding in early pregnancy is common with no adverse effects to the developing baby. At the point you left the scan their would have been hope. It might not have been a huge amount of hope but it's good that they were checking again and not just deciding the pregnancy was over.

Sadly it wasn't to be. But not the hospital's fault in giving it a chance.

Sometimes if dates are wrong or if baby developing slower then a day or a weeks delay before the next scan might show up a heartbeat.

Try not to be miffed at the sonographer.

juuule Thu 30-Jul-09 12:42:57


juuule Thu 30-Jul-09 12:47:39

The letter was probably computer generated and sent out while you were in hospital so there would have been no time to cancel it.

Very painful to receive it though, I agree, particularly as you probably didn't expect it. I don't know why they don't join up m/c and antenatal care records.

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