You’re Young. You have Plenty of Time to get Pregnant Again.

I miscarried at age 22. It was my first pregnancy and losing our baby was the last thing I expected to happen. Things went perfectly for the first 11 weeks: each visit to the obstetrician had been positive. Then -- wham -- my miscarriage came out of the blue – I just went ‘numb’.

I phoned my obstetrician, who ordered blood and urine tests. When the results came back, I got a clean bill of health. She gently told me it’s hard to determine the cause of a miscarriage because there’s little to examine. Since I was healthy, she wrote down ‘cause: unknown’. My obstetrician then said, “You’re lucky you’re young. You have plenty of time to get pregnant again.”

I left her office, thinking her words should’ve made me feel better. But they didn’t: I know she meant well, but I was angry. I felt cheated. Maybe I had good odds to have a healthy baby in the future, but I felt cheated because all I wanted was the baby I’d just lost. A new baby doesn’t replace one we’ve lost. It just doesn’t work that way.

I was angry for months and it was affecting my marriage. My husband wasn’t happy with my continuing anger and irritability. Also, I was so scared of miscarrying again that I avoided making love. Needless to say, this was putting a lot of strain on our marriage too.

Finally, we decided to see a marriage counselor, Carol. She asked me what the obstetrician had said about my miscarriage.

Carol then asked me something neither of us had even thought about: “When the doctor said you were young and had plenty of time to try again, did it make you feel any better?” I answered “no”.

Carol then asked: “Did it make you feel ready to try again?” Again, I answered “no”.

Carol then asked: “Did it make you feel like your emotional pain was dismissed?” I blurted out “Yes!!”

I finally realized that – despite her good intentions -- my obstetrician hadn’t made the pain any less – completely without meaning to, she’d actually made it worse!!!

Carol was great. She helped us work through our grief, and our marriage got stronger. She gave us ‘permission’ to feel the grief and move through it. Society tells us we should get over the pain more quickly, but it just doesn’t work that way. It takes a long time.

15 years (and three healthy children) later, this is the message my husband and I want to give to doctors, psychologists, even family and friends: it might seem that words like these will be of comfort, but they’re not. Bottom line: being young is simply not the only thing that goes into being ready to try again.

Please, just tell your patient you’re sorry she’s gone through this, and let her know of resources that might help: such as a support group at your local hospital, community centre, church, etc. If there are no support groups in your area (or if she’s just shy) invite her to join one of our pregnancy and infant loss blog boards online. We'll help her! And we'll help her husband too.

What grieving parents need more than anything is to know they’re not alone: and to be able to bounce their feelings and thoughts off of other people in the exact same boat. Once my husband and I had this community in our lives, we began to get over our grief so much faster.

Whether you’re a doctor, psychologist, counselor or social worker, thank you for reading my article. I’m glad you’re here on this website, finding out more about how you can help. I hope this article has been helpful to you.

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