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Questions After Miscarriage: When do we try again?

It was a long cold winter and everyone must have been baby-dancing at the same time because there are pregnant women everywhere! And Facebook posts and e-mails announcing pregnancies. And baby showers (I personally witnessed three in the past week). It’s an epidemic.

There are reminders everywhere of what we’ve lost. The reality of miscarriage is that even after the physical process ends, the emotional recovery goes on. Every time I see a pregnant woman, or hear a commercial on the radio for daycare, or read an e-mail from a friend announcing her pregnancy, I’m sad. I think, “That should be me.”

I’ve erased what milestones I had marked in pencil on my calendars and scratched through the ones in pen. Remarkably, the dates are still in my head. I wish my brain were like a VCR tape so I could take a gigantic magnet to my head and erase my memory from the past couple of months.

My mom suggested I set new milestones even if they’re just daily or weekly ones like one week without crying or two weeks without bleeding. In case you’re curious, I’ve only ever made it to three days without crying. Happily though, I’ve graduated to panty-liners instead of pads so I think I’m on my way to reaching at least one milestone.

Then there are the milestones set by my doctor: “We always recommend you have three normal cycles before trying again.” Note she didn’t say three months. It could be four or five or six months before I have three normal cycles.

From chatting with women on pregnancy loss message boards, opinions on when to conceive after a miscarriage are varied and dependent on each woman’s unique loss experience. The reason my doctor recommended waiting three months is to give my body time to reset its hormones and to allow my uterus to fully recover. She said there is a slightly higher risk of a miscarriage because of my last experience and that waiting will give me a better chance of having an uncomplicated pregnancy the next time.

So when should we try again? We’re undecided about whether to take the doctor’s advice or throw caution to the wind and see what happens. It’s an impossible choice really. If we take the doctor’s advice and I have another miscarriage, I’ll think, “We waited and it happened again. What was the point?” And if we don’t wait and have another miscarriage I’ll think, “We should have waited! We ignored the doctor’s advice and look what happened!”

Yes, a truly impossible choice and one I hope I won’t dwell on. I hope that when the time is right, we’ll know in our hearts. That means I’m going to have to turn off my brain and trust my body, trust God, and trust the process. It’s like contemporary philosopher Alexandra Stoddard says, “Slow down; calm down. Don’t worry. Don’t hurry. Trust the process.”

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