This Silent Loss Affects More Women Than You Know

When a woman finds out she is pregnant, it is an emotional time full of joy…and worry.

There is always a concern for moms the first few weeks of pregnancy, as we pray for the health of the baby and take in the huge change going on in our lives.

Sadly, about one in four pregnancies ends in miscarriage, and one type of these is a silent loss that brings with it a different set of emotions.

Physicians say there are several “types” of miscarriage, but all bring devastation to an expectant couple.

The so-called “classic” miscarriage most often occurs in the first trimester and is accompanied by heavy bleeding and cramping.  This is when a new mom knows something is terribly wrong, and her body miscarries on its own.

There are also what are referred to as “biochemical” miscarriages where a woman was pregnant and never knew it.  When she miscarries, she may just think she is having her regular period.

But then there is the “silent” or “missed” miscarriage.

This occurs when a woman finds out she is pregnant with a hormonal (home) pregnancy test, but when she goes to her first doctor’s appointment to confirm with an ultrasound, the baby has no heartbeat.

Unlike a “classic” miscarriage, this tragic experience is so shocking to the expectant couple because there are often no symptoms that anything is wrong.

Moms may have light spotting or twinges, but those can all be normal symptoms of pregnancy.

And while it is devastating to find you are heavily bleeding and know you are losing your baby, the silent death presented at a doctor’s office when you are expecting to see those first beautiful heartbeats bring a new type of heartache.

“Everything seems fine and the sonographer will be looking and looking and not seeing the heartbeat, and the patient goes in with high expectations,” says Dr. S. Zev Williams, according to U.S. News and World Report. “It’s a very tough situation for the woman and the couple to go through.”

Going into the appointment expecting to confirm a beginning and learning it is the end brings sadness that cannot be expressed.

And unlike a “classic” miscarriage where the body goes through the process on its own, a “silent” miscarriage usually requires medical intervention, increasing the stress and anxiety on the mother.

Patients, in this case, can wait for the pregnancy to pass naturally, but this is a horrific situation for a mom who knows she is carrying her dead child inside of her – and it can take several weeks.

The other options include medication and surgical scraping of the uterus, which are both fairly immediate but are traumatic for moms who know that these procedures are associated with abortion-on-demand.

There are no good outcomes, and the loss is always there.

Many women never know why they miscarry, but in many cases, it occurs due to chromosomal abnormalities, fibroids in the uterus, or an undiscovered physical condition in the mother.

Physicians do not distinguish between “types” of miscarriage, but often moms who have a “silent” miscarriage have to wait for medical input.

Women who are bleeding heavily and in obvious physical distress will be seen in the office or emergency room before a mom who is only lightly spotting.

Dr. Sarah Prager and OB-GYN says, “Whether a miscarriage is associated with symptoms or not, it is still a non-viable pregnancy. How a provider manages the miscarriage depends a lot more on whether or not the patient is stable, not what type of miscarriage it is,” according to U.S. News.

This common triage practice only adds to the fear and anxiety of a woman who needs answers – now —  but has to wait for them.

The range and intensity of emotions couples go through after a miscarriage are typically the same, no matter the type.

If a pregnancy hasn’t been announced yet, women may feel completely alone in her loss.

If she is further into her first trimester and has shared her good news, she may feel shame or a sense of failure, completely unjustified but common emotions, nonetheless.

Moms who have experienced a silent miscarriage can also have the surreal feeling of it all being a dream of sorts.  What just happened, and why?

With such a shocking end to such hopes and dreams, it is important to connect with other moms who have been there.  No one else can understand better than someone who has been there.

One mom who had a silent miscarriage says,

“You wake up and you’re in the shower and you still have physical signs of being pregnant, but it’s not there anymore – it’s not something you can ignore; you can’t not think about it.

I remember thinking I had these tools to take care of a baby that was just no longer there, and to me, that was the saddest thought. I just wanted recognition that this baby was a person…it was something that was a part of me that no longer is,” according to U.S. News.

October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month, first established by President Ronald Reagan in 1988.

If you have suffered the tragedy of miscarriage, no matter what “type,” you are not alone.

Ask for support.  Reach out to other moms who you know have been there.

Or, because many women don’t discuss their miscarriage experience, start a discussion with any group of women you spend time with.  You may be surprised to find who has gone through the same tragedy.

We at Mommy Underground send our thoughts and prayers to any mom who has experienced this loss.  We know your pain.  We are praying for you and stand by your side.

Have you or someone you know suffered a “silent” miscarriage?  What are your words of comfort or advice?  Leave us your thoughts.

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