Miscarriage, a spontaneous process occurring prior to about 20 weeks gestation is the end result of about ¼ of all pregnancies but strangely enough, I don’t I hear about it all that often. We are all bound by this invisible cone of silence until 12 weeks or so ‘just in case something happens’.
But if something does 'happen', that is precisely when we need the most support.
Because I was charting my cycles, I knew I was pregnant before I tested. I had no blood tests or dating scan, I already knew my nutrient status was fine and I knew when the baby was conceived. One morning during week 8 I noticed the faintest brown tinge to my cervical mucous. I knew that spotting during pregnancy can be perfectly normal but I hadn’t had any at all in my last pregnancy. The first thing I did was message a wise friend for some reassurance. Reassurance that whatever was happening was ok.
My body knew what it was doing.
The brown tinged mucous continued for 5 days, gradually turning into pink and then red blood. By this point I knew what was happening but I had so much support and reassurance that I felt complete trust in my body’s ability and I decided to just let my body go through the process.
Whatever the outcome I would find out sooner or later and I felt that sitting with the natural process was much more in alignment with how I lived the rest of my life.
I felt that entering into the medical system at this point offered no advantages and, if anything, would just create distress at a time that required calm. So I waited. In addition to that, if there was a living baby, I didn’t want to have had an unnecessary ultrasound.
On the night of day 5, I went to bed with slight cramping. By 11pm it had turned into ‘labour’. I had already had one baby so was well acquainted with these sensations. The familiar feeling of surges coming and going intensified over the next 4 hours so I went out to the kitchen, boiled up a heat pack and curled up on the living room floor. The surges eventually subsided and I went back to bed to my sleeping husband and toddler. It wasn’t until I got out of bed in the morning that I felt the mass of fetal tissue pass. By the end of that day I was confident that everything had passed and felt no need for any of the medical procedures that I’d read about. I kept and eye on blood loss, temperature and other signs of retained tissue or infection over the next few days and took some herbs and vitamins for immune and uterine support.
The pregnancy fatigue disappeared quite quickly and I started feeling my nonpregnant self again within a few days. This was quite interesting to observe, it made me realise just how much of an impact even early pregnancy has on a woman’s body. I took this opportunity to go gently on myself and take things slowly. I took time for self care, reflection and rest.
I had a renewed trust in my capable body.
I had a renewed trust in my ability to move with the ebb and flow of life smoothly, calmly and with immense belief in my body’s ability to govern itself with sovereignty.
I was disappointed, but I didn’t grieve a lost baby.
I felt empowered by the fact that my body was wise and did what it needed to do without any issues. I feel very strongly that allowing the 10 day process to unfold naturally without intervention was a healing process in itself that allowed me to move on and refocus my attention to my own health and fertility, ready for whatever the future had in store.
I believe everyone experiences miscarriage differently and that there is no right or wrong way to feel. There are so many factors that come into play; our age, whether we have had a successful pregnancy in the past, how long we have been trying to conceive for, whether we have preexisting conditions, the list goes on.
I have learned that every pregnancy is a journey and an opportunity for empowerment and learning about ourselves.
The support from my friends was key to my ability to transition so calmly from my pregnant state. I have since realised that solid support from close friends, a doula or other wise woman experienced in the childbearing cycle is important throughout the entire childbearing year, not just for the birth. You never know when you are going to need that nurturance and support.
I’ve also learned that in a world where we have the potential to know nearly every little detail about nearly everything, sometimes not knowing serves us better. Had I had ultrasounds in the early stages of those short pregnancies, had I had ultrasounds to confirm the losses, had I undergone D&C’s as a hospital patient, I feel it would have been a significantly different experience. While it can be hard not knowing and hard to own and just sit with the truth of what is going on in your body, it can also be incredibly healing and powerful.
Since I wrote this, I have had a second full term pregnancy, a third miscarriage and am now 30 weeks pregnant with my third baby. 6 pregnancies. 6 journeys. 6 important opportunities for growth and learning about my body and myself. And have I ever learned about myself. I have come to view pregnancy, of any length, as an amazing opportunity for personal and spiritual growth. I feel incredibly blessed to have experienced each pregnancy, each birth, each child that calls me Mum, and whatever the future brings.
My hope is that women reading this will be inspired to ponder early miscarriage in their own unique way rather than following the expected cultural narrative of early pregnancy loss, although, please know I am in no way minimising the pain and grief that many women feel when they experience early miscarriage. I also want to acknowledge that in my eyes, early miscarriage is a very different variation of loss to late term pregnancy loss, still birth or newborn loss.
If you are afraid of miscarriage, experiencing miscarriage or have miscarried in the past and need to gain some tools to calm your fear, work through your options or debrief your experience, I am always available to speak to.
I live in Darwin in Australia's Tropical North and am the mother of three beautiful children. I am blessed with working with women through their fertility, preconception, pregnancy, birth and early parenting journeys. I am committed to lifelong learning and am interested in nutrition and natural health, the childbearing cycle, natural parenting philosophy and practice and the spiritual journey of motherhood.