Recovering From Pregnancy Loss
Kelly Fitzgerald Junco | SHE RECOVERS® Foundation
My name is Kelly and I am in recovery from pregnancy loss. I am 1 in 4. We do not have to recover alone.
We are all recovering from something. Many of us are recovering from pregnancy loss.
I say many because about 10 to 20 percent of known pregnancies end in miscarriage. Although experts believe the actual number to be higher since many people do not know they are pregnant early on and mos early losses occur before 12 weeks.
The term “miscarriage,” itself is complicated. This language implies that something was “amiss,” in the carrying of the pregnancy but this isn’t true.
Like any type of recovery, I encourage any person experiencing a pregnancy loss to find the language that feels right to them and use it to tell their story in a way that feels empowering and healing. For me personally, I prefer to call my personal experience an early pregnancy loss. I do not feel as though I lost a child or a baby, however, that doesn’t change the fact that I grieved and was in deep emotional and physical pain.
I truly believe sharing my story and allowing my pain to feel the light and love of others has helped me heal in every way and this was no different.
My pregnancy loss happened early on in my trying to conceive journey. I decided to take a pregnancy test in October 2019 after experiencing some mild symptoms – exhaustion, sore breasts, bloating, and a missed period. The test turned up positive and I was shocked – in the best way possible. My husband and I had chosen to embark on this journey to parenthood just months prior and I couldn’t believe it was already happening. I told him right away and we immediately began planning.
I called the doctor to make an appointment and they asked me how far along I thought I was. It was tough to calculate but I gave them an estimate. For the next few days leading up to my appointment, my husband and I were so excited. We chatted about how to give the news to our families, names, dates, etc.
Our first ultrasound did not go as planned. We were told that they could not see a sac or pregnancy on the ultrasound. It was explained to us this could be a number of different things, one of those being a non-viable pregnancy. We left the office with no real answers and more anxiety. A few days after this appointment we received our answer. My body went through the process of losing the nonviable pregnancy. It was physically and emotionally painful, and it was just like I said – a process. It was several days before I felt physically ok again. It would be months before I felt emotionally ok.
After the loss I experienced I thought there would be follow-up care from the doctor, but there wasn’t any. The only thing they wanted me to do was to get bloodwork done to test my hormone levels to make sure the pregnancy was totally gone from my body. They didn’t really care if I was ok emotionally. They didn’t have a recommended course of action following a pregnancy loss. The only words I was offered were “this is very common,” and “we’ll never know exactly why it happened.”
This made recovering from my pregnancy loss even more difficult. In addition, I felt like my loss was “too early,” to be feeling so much grief. Through my research and experience with talking to people about this was that this was just a common event that happened often and that I just needed to accept it. I learned that many people felt like they needed to be silent about their own experiences.
But the truth was I was hurting. Within a matter of two weeks, I thought I was expecting my first child. I was planning the future and excited beyond belief. Within that same time period that dream was swiftly taken from me with no reason as to why. After my pregnancy loss it was incredibly difficult to look at social media and see pregnancy announcements, ultrasounds, and baby showers taking place. I actually had to decline attending one close friend’s shower. She understood why because she had been through a pregnancy loss herself. Seeing others with the happiness that I briefly had and thought I would have, was painful..and on top of that, I felt guilty for being jealous and triggered by other people’s happy pregnancies.
My husband and I took a few months off from actively trying to get pregnant again so I could heal. In this time I spoke with my therapist, reached out to friends and heard their stories about their own pregnancy losses, and found support in communities like SHE RECOVERS.
My pregnancy loss and subsequent anxiety then shaped my trying to conceive journey. After beginning to try again in 2020, I met with my OBGYN because I wanted to make sure there wasn’t something wrong, or if we should be aware we might not be able to get pregnant on our own. A month after meeting with my doctor, I became pregnant with my rainbow baby. I endured significant anxiety throughout my pregnancy, especially before ultrasounds because of the previous trauma associated with our last pregnancy. Even after most of the ultrasounds were done, later in my pregnancy, I was worried about my baby not moving enough.
On January 18, 2021, our healthy baby boy joined us Earthside and I am so grateful for that.
I still think about my pregnancy loss and what that subsequent journey and child might have been like. When would their birthday be and how would they have looked? How would my experience with pregnancy trauma be different today?
Through my experience, I’ve learned 1 in 4 pregnancies will end in pregnancy loss. I am 1 in 4. This is a common and painful experience that many people don’t talk about. On Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day, I want to give voice to this common experience and normalize any pain you might feel. No matter when your loss occurred – it mattered. Your baby mattered. Your joy mattered. You’re entitled to your feelings and your grief.
By talking about our experiences we normalize these events and we allow others to feel normal in their grief and anxiety. We do not have to just go about our lives acting as nothing happened. We can acknowledge these losses.
“We are all recovering from something”. – SHE RECOVERS Intention & Guiding Principle. If you are a woman recovering from grief and loss we encourage you to join the SHE RECOVERS Together Facebook Group. You are welcome here.