My Fear Of Miscarrying Again Is Overriding My Desire For A Baby

dealing with miscarriageIn early July 2012, my husband and I decided to stop trying not to have a baby. At the end of July, right after my 29th birthday, I found out I was pregnant. I was not expecting a pregnancy to happen so quickly, although of course I knew it was possible. Then, just as quickly as it happened, it un-happened. I had a miscarriage a week before my eight-week ultrasound was scheduled — the appointment where I would have heard the baby’s heartbeat. Instead, I spent that eighth week in a hellish amount of pain; my miscarriage seemed to go on forever.

I didn’t mourn the loss of that baby, because for me, the baby didn’t really exist yet. I hadn’t seen any sonogram photo. I had just barely even started to get excited about the idea of being pregnant. I lost a teeny-tiny idea of a baby, not a human being. I know other women feel differently, but this is how I felt. How I feel, even now, six months later.

But although the miscarriage was more of a health scare than an emotional loss, something shifted in my mind afterward. The thought of getting pregnant became scarier, even scarier than it had been. Right now, my fear of miscarrying again is absolutely winning out over my desire to have a baby.

I’m not the kind of girl who has always dreamed about having a baby. For much of my life, I wasn’t sure I even wanted to carry my own child. I believe in adoption and foster care, that there are children who already exist that need homes. The whole growing-a-baby-in-my-belly thing has always freaked me out. I don’t see pregnant ladies and get jealous or want to touch their tummies. And the actual giving birth part? That’s the stuff horror movies are made of, if you ask me.

After a miscarriage, you’re advised to wait at least two cycles before trying to get pregnant again. That was totally cool with me. I’ve had six very regular cycles now, and I’m still waiting. But in the past few weeks, I’ve begun thinking about when I might want to stop waiting. And instead of the older fears of a difficult pregnancy and painful delivery, I have a new fear: that I’ll miscarry again.

For women my age, the chances of having a miscarriage can range from 12-15 percent, and for most healthy women of any age there is about a 15-20 percent chance of miscarriage. Them’s some high percentages! Reading about how common miscarrying is felt really comforting back when I was having my own miscarriage. I ingested statistics like the ones I just wrote down like they were pizza. Really delicious pizza. Now, those same statistics just make me wonder – could it happen again?

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  • nyssa23

    This is your body, and there’s no right or wrong way to feel about it.

    Someone dear to me was adopted after his mother suffered a miscarriage and didn’t want to “try again,” and he’s a great guy, very grateful for the happy childhood his parents provided him. There are lots of ways to have a family, and none of them are wrong either. Take care of you and the rest will sort itself out. <3

    • MarisaSays

      <3 Thank you.

      That's such a lovely story you shared. I wholly believe that adoption is a wonderful option, and one that I'd consider even if I can carry my own children. xx

  • Renee

    I lost my first pregnancy at 21 weeks and never thought I would try again. And, while I certainly haven’t gotten over that loss (and still think about my son daily), we did eventually try again. I was always told that you’d know when you were ready when your desire for a child overpowered your fear of another loss. I’m now pregnant again (27 weeks). There’s no timeline or expiration date on grief and fear. It’s something that takes time to work through and you should wait until you are ready, if you decide that you do want to try again.

    • MarisaSays

      I’m sorry for your loss. I imagine that I would have felt differently about the miscarriage had it happened later in the pregnancy.

      I really don’t feel grief though, just fear of going through the awfulness and pain again, and fear of finding out I will have long-term trouble conceiving. Given that I have lived with my Generalized Anxiety Disorder for years, I’m pretty sure that waiting until I feel fully ready would leave me waiting forever. But definitely there is no “appropriate” amount of time in which to experience grief, fear or any emotion that one is working through.

      Best of luck with this pregnancy! xx

  • Blabby

    The way you’re feeling is totally normal. When you’re ready to try again, you will know. There is no pre-set timetable for when that will happen. I had a very similar experience to yours– my husband and I finally decided to try for a baby after being married for over 6 years (we waited until we were in a good place financially, had traveled a bit, and felt “ready”). We got pregnant during our first month of trying, and within a week of finding out– and of course, telling our families in our excitement– I had a miscarriage. Mine too lasted FOREVER– and was emotionally draining. Afterwards, I had no interest in trying again. I even contemplated never trying again (but the prospect of not having a baby felt very sad). After a few months, though, we decided to give it another go, and we got pregnant after 5 months. I now have a beautiful 2 year old daughter who is the light of our lives. And you cannot imagine the number of women I know who have had miscarriages– in fact, of the women I know who have children, more have had miscarriages along the way than not. All of which is to say, it’s a painful possibility that comes with creating a family, but not a reason to NOT try, if that’s what you want. Trust your instincts and good luck!

    • MarisaSays

      Thank you for sharing your story! It does sound very similar to my own. The more I talk, online and IRL, with women about having had a miscarriage, the more evident it is to me just how common miscarrying is. It’s shocking to me that we don’t talk to girls and women about this as a common experience. I understand the need to be positive and focus on the good, but there’s no reason to hide us from realities that might be less awful for knowing about in advance.

  • Samantha Escobar

    Like @d40dc4ac4b96fffa227917e3fee1d589:disqus said, there isn’t an expiration date on grief. For some people, it hurts for a long time; for others, it’s something that is more easily gotten past. You’re allowed to be scared and you’re allowed to feel whatever you’re feeling, so try not to question it or second guess yourself too much. Keep going to therapy and see how things turn out, but try not to force them forward. This was a really beautiful piece, thanks for writing it.

    • MarisaSays

      Thanks for your kind words. As I wrote in the piece, I’m not really struggling with grief. It doesn’t feel (for me) like a baby was lost. But I had so many fears and anxieties around pregnancy already, adding on the fear of going through that pain and terrible awfulness of miscarrying again is a lot. And I’m a therapy lifer (! I’ll definitely keep talking about it, and at some point I’ll just push past the fear. xx

  • Blueathena623

    Did I write this in my sleep? Are you me? Because this is pretty much exactly what happened to me and what I felt about it. Eventually (after 6 months! So again, like you) I finally just told myself that I wanted a kid more than I wanted to worry. Still worried of course, but started trying again, and now my kid is celebrating his first birthday tomorrow.

    • MarisaSays

      Haha no, rest assured I am not you. But it is amazing how many women go through this! That’s why I think it’s so important to talk about — it might feel a little less overwhelming if we knew how common it was. And thanks for sharing your own story with me. xx

  • ashlec

    My first pregnancy ended in miscarriage and I went on to have a completely healthy second pregnancy. Of course, I worried myself to death the entire time, but I sort of think worrying is just the burden you take on when you enter the parenting realm. I still worry, now it’s just about if he’s healthy or developing the way he should or that he’ll somehow eat a rusty nail without my noticing because he likes to put everything he sees into his mouth. Worrying is completely normal in parenting, because you have something that you love and care for so much, but have minimal control over. You just have to get to the point where you can deal with that worry and uncertainty, because like you said, pregnancy and motherhood is basically just one big pile of ‘What if’s?’. If having a child is what you really want, you just have to do your best and try not to let that fear consume you

    • MarisaSays

      Thanks for sharing! Seriously, every time someone relays that they’ve gone through it and went on to have a healthy pregnancy I feel a little more reassured. And yes, I agree that worrying a lot is something you sign up for when entering the world of parenting. But as someone who struggles with anxiety, that in itself is so overwhelming. Ultimately you are right though; I have to stop the fear from directing my actions. xx

  • Sarah

    For what it’s worth, my OB told me that after one miscarriage your chances of it happening again actually go down a bit. Like, you’ve had your bad luck episode and now it’ll likely be smooth sailing. If you have two in a row, then your odds go up more than an average person of having repeated miscarriages, but having just one actually takes your miscarriage odds DOWN the next time. Don’t know where she got her info, and maybe she was just trying to be comforting, but just thought I’d pass that on to your “logical brain”. :) Good luck!

    • MarisaSays

      See, my “emotional brain” just took your whole comment and boiled it down to “If you have two in a row, then your odds go up more than an average person of having repeated miscarriages” and honed right in on the what-if-it-happens-twice. But my “logical brain” thanks you for passing along the info. ;)

  • J

    I don’t know if you’ll find this encouraging or not, but most miscarriages happen in weeks 1-2, before you even know you are pregnant. The chance drops to 10% by week 4 and 5% by week 6. So, 20% seems high but most miscarriages are happening before women even know. After a positive test your chances of carrying to term are higher than you think. I’m sorry you had to go through that.

    • MarisaSays

      There are SO MANY different statistics available around the Internet (and even from different doctors) regarding miscarriages. It does seem clear that chances of miscarrying drop significantly after the first trimester, although I’ve never seen numbers that suggest chances drop so low during the 4th-6th weeks. I’m inclined to add that because having miscarried at 8 weeks, and now knowing that this experience is SO common for women, suggesting there is only a 5% chance of miscarriage by week 6 seems a little dangerous. It also contradicts what my own OB/Gyn told me. But I appreciate your comment.

    • J

      My obgyn told me these statistics after hearing a heartbeat at 8 weeks. We hear so many tragedies onlinem but compared with healthy pregnancies, they are much fewer. I’m not sure if her statistics were based on my demographic or not, (under 35 with no miscarriages and one healthy baby) but she seemed pretty confident. Best of luck to you.

    • MarisaSays

      All I can say is that my own OB/Gyn (and online sources) told me that the 7th-8th week was the most common week to miscarry and that the stories I was referencing from other women are not from women online (where yes, certainly the tragedy narrative prevails), but from women in my own life who reached out to me after my miscarriage.

      My intention in speaking so publicly about the experience is to make other women feel less unusual when it happens to them. It’s actually kind of normal. It’s often our body’s way of ending an unviable pregnancy. But we (often) aren’t taught this when we are taught about pregnancy, and even with those women in my own life, they didn’t share that they’d miscarried with me until I had my own miscarriage. There is a silence around the experience that (I think) shouldn’t exist.

      Thanks again for your good wishes, and for your comments. I know that your intention was to reassure me, and I don’t mean to be argumentative. If anything, my argument would be with the doctor quoting that statistic, which again, I have not seen anywhere else.

      Best to you as wel!

  • SDA

    My husband and I have known that we are one and done. We decided to start trying Summer of 2011 and I actually ended up pregnant in April instead. I lost that pregnancy at 5-6 weekish. I was definitely heart-broken at first, but like you, I did not consider this a loss of a baby and was able to move on from the miscarriage, but not the fear. We did start trying that summer as planned and I was afraid to barely even move from mid-cycle until I got my period. I ended up pregnant in November 2011 and the worry of miscarriage haunted me the ENTIRE pregnancy. I was constantly going to the bathroom and checking for blood (this only became an exciting ritual when I hit week 38 & was hoping for bloody show). At every doctor’s appt until the very end I held my breath until I heard that heartbeat. My level of anxiety over the pregnancy consumed me! However, even if we had not known we were one and done after all of that, the fear of miscarriage would keep me from trying to get pregnant again. If the mood so strikes me to have more children later on, I will adopt

    • MarisaSays

      I hear you. I’m likely going to be a one and done too. Or if not, I will adopt a second child. This is both because of my fears around pregnancy/miscarriage and because I support the idea of adopting a child in need rather than creating a new child. Just my personal feeling; not saying there is anything wrong with having ten of one’s children!

      I also imagine that like you, I will be anxious throughout my pregnancy should I get pregnant again and carry to term. But congratulations on making it all the way through!

  • TheHappyPappy

    This may sound nuts to some people but not being able to carry a baby to term might actually turn out to be a good thing (not that you can’t. Like you said, %85 chance of success on the second try, statistically).
    I have a dear friend whose Grandma had several miscarriages in a row in the ’50′s and ’60′s. At the time she was devastated by the experiences, and even more devastated when her doctor advised her & hubby to stop trying (it was putting her health in danger).
    Ultimately though, they made peace with it and decided to adopt. One of the children they adopted turned out to be my buddy’s future dad. I was shocked when I talked to Granny about this and she said that in retrospect she was glad not only that she hadn’t been able to carry the pregnancies to term, but that the ART that exists now wasn’t around then. I guess she knew a friend’s granddaughter who was on the ART treadmill, up to her neck in debt and with no baby in sight. So Granny said if she had carried the pregnancies to term, or been able to “manipulate her body against nature” (her words) she wouldn’t have adopted her beautiful children, and wouldn’t have the wonderful family she’s so proud of now. She felt very strongly that many women would be happier if they just accepted their infertility and sought adoption, rather than wasting years and thousands of dollars to have “their” baby. I’ll never forget her saying “if you’re raising it, it’s your baby! Who cares where it came from?”
    I’ve known other people affected by unexplained infertility and/or miscarriage and as such I was incredibly impressed by her glass-half-full perspective. I’ve never miscarried and I can’t imagine how absolutely devastating it is. But I really wish I could introduce everyone considering fertility treatments to her. She is a great lady and we could all learn a thing or two from her.

    • MarisaSays

      I love this story; thank you for sharing! I haven’t been there yet, so I don’t speak from a place of experience, but I’ve already told my husband that if I can’t carry a baby to term naturally I’d likely rather adopt rather than explore medical avenues to try and force my body to carry to term. For me, it’s not an issue of what is natural so much as I’m not dedicated to the idea that my child has to be of my own flesh and blood. As I’ve said elsewhere in these comments and in the post, I wholly support adoption and might consider it in the future even if I can carry to term.

      There are so many different choices women can make, and what matters most to me is that we are all allowed to make those choices for ourselves!

  • Glow

    I too had a miscarriage last year, in June. After that we decided to not try again for a while because I felt very emotionally scarred. Lo and behold we had a “surprise” in December and found out I’m pregnant again. I’m now 12 weeks and everything seems to be going just great, but honestly the first 9 or so weeks were awful for me. I cried basically anytime I was alone. I cried while driving home from work. I cried in the shower. I cried when I was going to bed at night. Emotionally it took it’s toll on me in a huge way. Now that I’m 12 weeks I’m finally starting to relax a bit and the crying has subsided. I am most definitely excited for the future but it is a very scary thing.

    • MarisaSays

      I completely understand why you’d feel that way, and I imagine I’ll behave similarly for quite a while if/when I get pregnant again. BUT, congratulations on getting pregnant again and best of luck for a healthy pregnancy. It’s okay to be scared and excited at the same time! xx

  • Just a reader

    I truly hope you can get past your fear, and want to send you a virtual hug

    • MarisaSays

      Thank you! Virtual hug received. xx

  • Freela

    Unfortunately, trying again after a loss is scary. With my first pregnancy, I felt like the odds were on my side. We had been trying for awhile. I was on clomid because I didn’t ovulate on my own. When I finally got a positive test, I felt like we’d done it- the hard part was over now! Of course, I realized that miscarriage isn’t uncommon… but at the same time, I was in my earlier twenties, I was healthy, I didn’t smoke or drink, and I rationalized that the odds were very much in my favour. Unfortunately, at my first ultrasound just before 10 weeks, I found that I had had a missed miscarriage. I was heartbroken, and very scared when I started trying again. Suddenly it was like I couldn’t imagine a GOOD outcome to a pregnancy, and my heart was in my throat with every appointment and every ultrasound. I was three times lucky after my loss and have three wonderful children, but I would be lying if I said that I ever quite got back to that fearless place about pregnancy again. That being said, the outcome was more than worth the anxiety I went through. Good luck, whatever you decide!

    • MarisaSays

      Thank you for sharing your story with me. I’m so happy to hear that you went on to have 3 wonderful children and successful pregnancies. It really does help to hear these stories! And I imagine I will go into my next pregnancy with much more fear, and that each appointment and ultrasound will be nerve-wracking. I just need to get to a place where I feel that I’ll be able to handle that extra anxiety. xx

  • henson80

    I miscarried in March 2012 at 8 weeks (blighted Ovum, needed D&C) and then again in October 2012 (natural at 6 weeks). I am now Pregnant again and 11 weeks. I have finally seen s heartbeat and fingers are crossed this one goes well. I will say the first was the hardest becaase I just wasnt expecting it. The second, although tough, was easier because I was expecting the worst. I spoke with some specialists and my OBGYN who is amazing so I am on extra folic acid and have been taking progesterone from the beginning. I was feeling like you, I wanted to wait to try the 3rd time but I kept thinking tte older I get the higher my chances for miscarriage are. I wish you the best of the luck and honestly the odds are in your favor. I was one of the unlucky ones having more than one but most women go on to have a normal pregnancy after a miscarriage. Having a miscarriage really does take some of that intial excitement out but once you get pregs and see that little heartbeat the excitement comes right back! I mean of you course you still worry but I think that is probably the case if you had or miscarriage or not. I wish you the best of the luck!

    • MarisaSays

      I think I always plan for the worst in order to be slightly less terrified of the possible outcomes, and even more so in this case. Fingers crossed for you that this pregnancy goes well, and thank you for the good wishes. xx

  • Shannon Daniels

    I totally understand your fears…I had a miscarriage at 11 weeks in March 2005, got pregnant again in June of the same year, stillbirth in December, another stillbirth in April 2007, and 1 healthy baby(albeit 2 months early) in June of 2010. I was so terrified every time and that is one of the reasons why I got my tubes tied. Good luck on your decisions.

    • MarisaSays

      I’m so sorry to for your losses. I can’t even imagine going through all of that — I might have given up before getting to that healthy third pregnancy. I completely understand that this factored into the decision to get your tubes tied, and really appreciate your sharing your story with me. xx

  • allthebest

    I had two miscarriages over the last year, at six and eight weeks. I’m now 12 weeks pregnant. I’m still having a hard time grasping that things seem to actually be okay this time, but I wanted to weigh in as another person who has been through the same thing and on the third try was able to (fingers crossed, so far) have a normal third pregnancy. It’s hard to believe it will really be okay after it hasn’t been, but most of the time it really is.

    • MarisaSays

      Thank you for chiming in with your story. And fingers crossed for you that you will have a happy ending this time! xx

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  • Makabit

    My first pregnancy miscarried at nine weeks. My reaction was different…I wanted to get pregnant again right away, before I could think too hard about it. When I did, I had a very conditional feeling about the pregnancy well into second trimester. “So far, so good…we’ll see.” It took a long time.

    My daughter is eight weeks today, and we’re thinking about another child down the road. And I know that if we do, I’ll still fear miscarrying again.

  • sandy

    Here is my testimony on what i have been through within the past 6years of my marriage i lost my partner because i was unable to give him a child and my mother wants me out and i also try getting married for about a year i was still unable to get pregnant so a friend of my name lucy told me about pregnancy spell that she was also having the same problem that i am going to now, And when he had the pregnancy spell om her after one week she started seeing changes so i have to contact Dr Ekaka from the and immediately i contact him, he immediately respond to my email and told me what was going wrong in my life and what i need to do so that i can get pregnant which i did and is also two months now since i contacted him and i have started seeing changes in my life and i am two months pregnant now i am so happy and i want to show my appreciation by sharing this testimony with you all here….

  • angie

    I have a testimony to share,,My Name is Mrs Georgina Alexander am from the United State am now 54years old Am a Medical doctor in California,I married for about 24years ago without any child then me and my husband go for an adoption of 2kids male/female.

    Last years something wonderful and gracious happened to me i came across this witch doctor in the internet that promise to help me get pregnant which i totally disagree,,,How can i be pregnant looking my age he ask me not to worry that he only specialize on pregnancy no other. That after the job has been completed there is no any side effect,that was how he told me what to do which i did, could you believe i miss my periodical time that same Month and i was pregnant.Today am now the happiest woman on Earth,,While am i testify to this site i know there are a lot of people that are in this kind of trouble some will decide to commit suicide.

    please just do and contact him for help make him to understand that Mrs Georgina Alexander from USA directed you, his email

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