As the title suggests, I want to talk about some of the triggers that can occur after a miscarriage. Sure, there are the obvious ones, such as pregnant friends or family. But there are also all the little unexpected things that pop up, too. All together, they can be exhausting. My hope with this blog is to let you know that someone cares and is thinking about you, but also to help us grow in our sensitivity towards those who are struggling with miscarriage. It is a difficult journey, and one that many of us live through silently.
I have experienced the pain of loss several times, the most difficult one coming last year, when we lost what would have been number four. Below are some of the triggers I experienced after them. I offer them here as a way to perhaps help you feel a little more understood in your own journey.
Pregnant friends and family
This is probably the most obvious and difficult one. If you have lost a baby, seeing that friend’s sonogram pic on Facebook is crushing. Or, watching other bumps grow, celebrating baby showers, meeting the new baby, smiling and saying how happy you are for them—it’s all so painful and triggering. You are probably genuinely happy, but it’s still really hard. And then afterwards, feeling annoyed when they talk about the hard stuff—you even want that. Bring on the pregnancy vomiting, bring on the mastitis, if it means you have a baby.
This one surprised me a bit. After my second miscarriage, when we were trying to fall pregnant again, I was really focussed on charting, looking for the perfect window to conceive. We were having no success, but what made it worse was that, every time I had my period, it would feel like I was miscarrying again. The loss of blood was like the loss of a baby. It was a really terrible time.
When you are pregnant, you really notice all the baby ads. The pamphlets in the mail seem to come more often and baby commercials seem to be on more frequently. After your miscarriage, you still notice them just as much, only now they come with a sting. I don’t want to know about the latest pram sale on the Baby Bunting pamphlet, even though I can’t stop looking at it.
When you fall pregnant, you tend to start Googling stuff. For example, ‘am I pregnant?’ or ‘local maternity care’. It’s really exciting when you’re pregnant, the world of information that turns up in your search. But those damn Google and Facebook algorithms. Now, all your feeds are filled with ads and suggestions—again, really exciting, when you’re pregnant. Unfortunately, Google and Facebook don’t know that you had a miscarriage, they just keep feeding you that information, one trigger after another.
This is one that can happen after you miscarry and are trying to conceive again. You really need a new pair of jeans or a new bra but don’t want to buy anything, in case you fall pregnant again. Or you might be thinking of a new dress to lift your spirits. Are they worth getting if you are going to fall pregnant again next month? So, you put them off. But then months pass, years pass; you’re still not pregnant, and now you’re living in clothes that need replacing. The conflict of shopping for clothes just becomes a trigger.
Due Dates, Loss Dates
For some more than others, these dates can stick, and hurt. What would have been your baby’s due date coming and going is an obvious trigger. A reminder of what could have been. But, so can your miscarriage date, another reminder of the pain.
‘When are you having a baby?’
This question is always well-meaning. You meet someone and they ask you the question, assuming it is part of your planning. They obviously don’t realise what happened. Or, once you’ve had a baby, it’s, ‘when are having another?’ ‘How many do you think you’ll have?’ These questions are hard to answer when you are grieving, confused, and feel like you have no control over the answers.
Nine months is a long time and there are usually a lot of events throughout. When you find out you’re pregnant, you think ahead to them, consider what size you’ll be, start planning what you’ll wear, etc. After the miscarriage, though, these events take on new significance. You had already planned to attend them, only now, you are attending in your regular size. That maternity dress you pictured but are not wearing is just another trigger. Alternatively, you weren’t going to host Christmas or another event because you would have had a newborn. Again, maybe you turned down an opportunity in advance because you were going to be pregnant and it just wouldn’t work. Add this to the dates that come and go.
These are some that I’ve experienced; no doubt you can add more of your own. For anyone reading this who is struggling with miscarriage, I am so, so sorry. Even reading this might be triggering. It can be so hard, so lonely, so discouraging. Knowing others have gone through it doesn’t take away the pain, but maybe it can help. At the very least, know that I’m thinking of you and feeling what you’re feeling.
Something I have made on the site is a ‘Forever Loved Wall’. There, you’ll find some support and resources that might help, as well as a Remembrance Wall where you can honour the little life you carried. It’s a place to acknowledge that they were here. It would be my honour to remember them with you.
As always, don’t hesitate to reach out. If I can help or support in any way, I’ll certainly try.