October 20, 2010

Shame

When you have your first miscarriage you are surprised and saddened all at once.  “This happened to me?…..but I was so excited about this baby……but this happened to me.”  You learn soon enough that you are in “good” company because one in four pregnancies ends in a miscarriage.  

And so while you feel devastated and heartbroken, you find some small comfort in knowing that other women have walked this road and that you are not, by any stretch of the imagination, alone.  While others will have undoubtedly processed their loss and grief differently, you find solace in the sisterhood of those who have miscarried.  Friends and family will seek to comfort you, too, and you will be encouraged by the stories of so many who went through the same thing and went on to have babies who were born alive.

When you have your second consecutive miscarriage you are bewildered, on top of being deeply sad.  “But I was so careful…..I did everything I was supposed to…….why did this happen again?....and why to me?”  Losing two babies messes with your head and you begin to feel the scary idea that maybe you will never have a living baby set in.  

Medical people will begin to talk to you about testing you should look into doing and you will oblige because what’s eight of vials of blood if you think it might prevent this from happening again.  Friends and family will not know quite what to say because they have not really known anyone who has gone through two miscarriages in a row.  It’s not common…..but it’s really not all that rare either.  

And then the unthinkable happens.  You have a third miscarriage.

You are shocked.  You are angry.  You are lost.  You are crushed.  “No, please, not again……why again?......why me again?.....what the #&*@ is going on in there…..I feel like a freak show…….I can’t do this again.”  And you may even feel a little numb to it all.  Because somewhere inside of you- and maybe this is GOD’s grace- you shut down for a little while.  I think it’s because the pain is too much and if you feel it all at once you just might die. 

Friends and family will be speechless.  They won't have anything to say.  

Statistics show that only less than 1% of the population has three or more consecutive miscarriages.  After three miscarriages, you are officially deemed infertile and you are strongly advised to stop trying and meet first with a genetic counselor and then with specialized infertility/high risk pregnancy doctors.

Hi, my name is Justine and I have lost three babies.  My body, for whatever reason, could not sustain their tiny lives.  

I used to be like you and I assumed that when I wanted to start having babies I would.  But now I am benched- I am out of the game for the time being.  And instead of this part of my life being between just me and my husband, now we are joined by special doctors and counselors.  

And I feel shame.  I feel marked.

Yes, I know that there is no shame for me to carry in the loss of my three babies.  Yes, I know there is no visual mark on me.

But I feel shame.  And I feel marked.

And I am struggling with who I am as a woman.  And as a wife.  And as a daughter who cannot “deliver” a grandchild.

I feel like a freak show.  And even though my husband very much dislikes me saying this, I can’t deny that I feel that way.

My self-esteem, and sometimes my self-worth, are just two more casualties of this past year.  Right or wrong, they are. 

4 comments:

Elise said...

I just went through my third miscarriage. I am usually not good with putting my feelings to words, but your post is like you took it right out of my mouth.
I'm so sorry for your losses.

TVo said...

Hey friend! Praying for you from Scotland. I miss seeing you.
Tricia

The Woodards said...

Hi. I don't know you but came across your blog through kelly's korner. I had two consecutive miscarriages. I did alot of research and demanded to be tested for Antiphospholipid Antibody disorder (a blood clotting disorder) because for some reason (hmmm...GOD) I felt it was something to look into. My doctor (that I know VERY well) didn't really want to test me because you are suppose to have three miscarriages before they start testing but he agreed to test. Guess what?!? That's what I have...the great news is that my dr. sent me to a fertility specialist to get a plan together. We had a few other issues of not being able to get pregnant because of scar tissue from D&C...so we had to end up doing an IUI (simple proceedure). THEN, I had to have shots during my entire pregnancy. The shots keep the blood in the placenta from clotting so I can carry a pregnancy longer. I have had two successful pregnancies thanks to finding out diagnosis. I say all of this to say to not lose hope. The blood clotting disorder that I have is pretty rare and it isn't usually found as early as it was found in me. I will pray for you because I KNOW that ache you feel.

Anonymous said...

To: The Woodwards

Thank you so much for your comment and for sharing the good news that you went on to have children after your early losses. I had a full work-up of tests done after my second miscarriage. The doctors ruled out blood clotting and auto-immune disorders and then after my third miscarriage my husband and I did genetic testing and everything ame back fine. This has been the most heart-breaking journey to be on, but I have been so encouraged and blessed by the stories of those who have gone on to have children. Thank you!