In July, I had a second miscarriage.
After finding out I was pregnant again, I’d allowed myself to feel some guarded excitement. Shaken by my first experience in November 2019, I was determined to slow down and take it easy. I told myself that, when the boat left the dock, I would be on it this time. The baby wraps donated by a friend would be filled, a room would be converted and our bikes would be modified to convey a little person around the city. Until then, absolutely everything I did was by the book.
When I saw the first faint tinge of blood at seven weeks, I remember staring at myself in the mirror, defeated. I began to plunge back into a horribly familiar and lonely world, knowing deep down what was to come. It was confirmed the next day, when I began to bleed more and my own voice broke the unbearable silence of the ultrasound, at which we had been desperate to hear a heartbeat: “The sac is empty.” There it was, an inky black shape on the screen, devoid of life.
You’d think that having walked this path before, I would feel prepared, and I suppose on a practical level—being loaded up on maxi-strength pads, painkillers and junk food—I was. But every miscarriage is different. Each one feels like a terrifying step into the unknown. My first was intense, excruciating and thunderous; this one was slow and drawn out, and I needed to take medication a week in to force my body to expel the tissue. I didn’t leave bed for the first week. It’s now been nearly a month, and since it began, I have shut down on friends who tried to reach out. Unfortunately, the terror of miscarriage is something that can truly only be known and lamented between those who experience it, and it is okay to take the time you need to move through the grief.
Should I ever be lucky enough to have a successful pregnancy, I will be more than happy to have my obstetrician continue to provide care. But beyond advising me medically, he couldn’t tell me what miscarriage really feels like, physically or emotionally. And so I, like so many others, turned to the internet to seek out answers and feel less alone.
What follows are some resources that I have found helpful in terms of feeling connected, supported and understood regarding miscarriage. It is my hope that should you find yourself resonating with this story, these tools are within reach. Between ten and 20 percent of known pregnancies end in miscarriage—which is defined as the loss of a pregnancy before 20 weeks’ gestation—and there are a number of resources online that can help you navigate the trauma and grieve in your own time.
Named for the 1984 book What to Expect When You’re Expecting, this website and app provide a number of resources for expectant parents, as well as those trying to conceive. But if you’ve signed up to track a pregnancy, the mobile app version allows you to record a loss, which shifts it into a “healing mode,” providing a list of resources that can answer the common questions people have about miscarriage and beyond.
There’s also an incredibly helpful forum called “Miscarriage Support.” While it is heartbreaking to see how many people have to use it every day, it means there is usually someone else going through the same process as you who can provide support and advice, or just be present in the shared moment.
It is also beneficial to hear first-hand accounts from those who’ve miscarried either naturally, with medication or with a dilation and curettage (D&C) procedure. While no two experiences are the same, it’s a good place to get feedback on what each kind of miscarriage usually entails, and the sense of being in it together is comforting.
This U.K.-based charity focuses on researching and demystifying the different types of miscarriage and pregnancy loss, and its website is packed with information, including detailed videos and testimonials from people who have walked the path of pregnancy loss before.
The site is a fantastic resource if you are, like me, research- and detail-oriented and want to delve deeper into the causes of miscarriage and other related statistics.
Most importantly, Tommy’s provides insight from past and ongoing studies on a range of research topics that focus on different aspects of pregnancy loss. It feels reassuring to know that efforts are being made to better understand miscarriage.
This Ontario-based organization offers a range of online peer-support groups that serve a range of specific pregnancy and baby loss needs. These discussions are led by people who have experienced pregnancy or infant loss firsthand and have gone on to receive training in supporting others going through the same. Depending on your needs, you can receive online support in a group-like setting, or one-to-one with a peer support volunteer.
PAIL provides a platform for people to share their own stories of miscarriage and also organizes different events that help families commemorate their losses, including candle-lighting ceremonies on October 15, which is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day.
Each time I’ve miscarried, one of the first things I’ve done is go to YouTube and find connection in the stories of other women describing their miscarriages. And there are many. It helps form a sense of solidarity—a club that none of us wants membership to, but one that helps us prepare and reminds us that we are not alone and can get through what is to come. Some do show graphic imagery, but miscarriage is graphic—confronting, honest accounts like these help break the stigma of silence that continues to surround it, and helps soften the shock of the process.