Home > pregnancy, sleep deprivation > The guilt thing and pregnancies

The guilt thing and pregnancies

So I’m a little late blogging on this — and I can’t find the original item anywhere.  If someone does have a link, please help a mother out. But I’m talking aobut a study I read last week (I think, time blurs) about how moms who are stressed or anzxious about pregnancy are more likely to miscarry.

It actually ties into another similar study (with similar findings) that came out around the time I miscarried. (More on that below). What the early study said, though, was that women prone to miscarriage who had a doctor or midwife who was on call 24/7 to answer questions and had frequent, supportive visits with their doctor, were much less likely to miscarry.

Some history here. The Husband and I tried for two years to get pregnant. No joy. Eventually, one day, in a tearful heart-to-heart, we decided that if we couldn’t get pregnant mostly naturally, we wouldn’t get pregnant at all.  While we were willing to do some very basic stuff (there was the chance I had PCOS), IVF just didn’t seem like a good idea for us. It was emotionally exhausting but also a relief. There is little in this world as taxing to your soul as looking at that goddamn little white stick with its god-damned little pink window and seeing one line instead of two, or whatever.

Never mind the (by this point, relentless and debilitating) pressure from family.

Of course, I got pregnant the next month.

I was thrilled. The Husband was thrilled. I was due in July. The baby had probably been conceived the night the Red Sox won the world series! I was going to hit three months, the “safe to tell people” date, right around the end of December and we could tell our families at Christmas!

Late November, I had wacky pain in in my side, which, the midwife assured me, was probably just round ligament pain, but it was close enough that they double checked to make sure it wasn’t a tubal pregnancy. So I had an ultrasound and the doctors assured me all was well.

Two weeks before Christmas I started spotting. I called the nurses at the hospital. All was well. Don’t worry. It got heavier. I called again. All was well, don’t worry.

It got heavy enough that I knew something was wrong, for all that I really didn’t want to admit it. The Husband and I talked about it and decided to tell our families anyway.  We told them on Christmas and my dad cried. My dad cried. You don’t know my dad, so you don’t know how big that was, but it was huge.

We went in for our first official appointment on Jan 2. I was very concerned about the bleeding and wanted to do an ultrasound right away — but no, the midwife insisted on doing the whole “welcome to being pregnant” schtick. An hour and a half later, I finally got the ultrasound.

The baby was dead.

It was awful and I won’t describe the awfulness. They gave me a pill that would help my body “expel the unwanted material” and sent me home.

The following months were full of yet more awful: I sat on the couch and watched endless reruns of Judging Amy and ER. People kept assuring me that it wasn’t my fault and I was confused. Of course it wasn’t my fault. I had done every damned thing in the book. I know because I had read every damned book. In fact, I had a pretty good idea that it was due to what had to be an unnaturally high lead burden from my childhood in a Victorian under amateur reconstruction. But people kept reassuring me so much (and I had cleaned the tub that one time, hadn’t I?) that I started to wonder.

After two months of “vaginal rest” my husband and I had sex again.

And I got pregnant right away.

And then — while I was still secretly pregnant, still reeling from the emotional whip lash of the past five months — someone, feeling I’m sure that he was helping, sent me that study that I cited above. And I know that he felt it was helpful, reassuring, that I would feel better. But the implications are so obvious that I cried for a week.

Because clearly, if being reassured had prevented miscarriage, then being anxious would cause one. And of course I was a wreck with this pregnancy.

The Child was born 9 months later happy and healthy. She’s near perfect — she has a strawberry birthmark and a slightly curved breastbone — but is otherwise sweet, beautiful, and precocious. She’s happy, inquisitive, easily content, and high energy without being hyper.

But when I saw that study in Slate (?) last week, all of that awfulness came oozing back up from the pit in my stomach where it got buried. It got buried the avalanche of emotions that have crashed through me in the past three years. But I suspect, from the way it bit me on the ass, that the guilt and grief of that miscarriage is going to haunt me for a long time.

Of course, right this second, I’m too sleep deprived to feel much of anything. Who knew that would be a good thing?

  1. bianca bean
    September 29, 2007 at 5:13 pm

    Moms get hit from all angles all the time; we’re damned no matter what, and Slate, MSN etc are some of the worst places for it, imho. Just a bunch of hipsters trying to make headlines.

    I am very sorry you went through what you did.

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