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When you hear the term miscarriage, what do you think? My initial thought was the loss of an unborn child, but have you ever really wondered what truly happens when you are having a miscarriage? Our first miscarriage occurred immediately after our wedding in 2019, we had a chemical pregnancy after conceiving while on our honeymoon. This means we had a positive pregnancy test, but by the time we got to our OB/GYN, I had the heaviest period of my life, resulting in a negative serum pregnancy test. That was hard enough to go through but was nothing compared to what we went through during October 2021.

Four weeks after our first daughter turned one, I was truly living my biggest fear. I started spotting at 11-weeks pregnant, and when I went to my OB/GYN for an ultrasound, I saw the image that no parent should ever want to see . . . a black hole where the once beating heart of my unborn child had been. In that moment of disbelief, I was provided with two options, treating the miscarriage medically or surgically, and I had to make this decision right away after just learning that I was not going to give birth to a child in May 2022.

I chose the medical option in hopes of avoiding surgery with anesthesia, but in choosing this option, I had no idea what I was in for. I was given a medication by the name of cytotec, which is a vaginal suppository that is supposed to soften the cervix to help you get rid of the “fetal tissue” at home. Sounds easy right? What I endured the next four days was far worse than anything I had anticipated. I required two doses of this medication, which caused me to have intermittent bleeding over the next week.

RELATED: I Had a Miscarriage

During that time, there were two episodes when I was hemorrhaging as I was trying to expel my unborn child from my uterus. The first time was in the middle of the night and the second a few days later during the day. Both times, I was lucky enough to have my husband and my mother by my side. Both episodes lasted about an hour and the scene in the bathroom was something one might see in a horror film. In those moments, I remember being terrified. When should I be concerned? When should I seek help? What happens to me if I pass out from the blood loss? And the worst thought possible, what if I don’t survive this and do not get to watch my little girl grow up, or get to grow old with my husband?

After these episodes, one might think, okay, the worst is over. I notified my OB/GYN of the significant bleeding, and she had me come in for two separate ultrasounds to determine if I did, in fact, pass everything I needed to. Both times, I remember thinking, this has to be it, there can’t be anything left. And both times, I was told that it wasn’t over. All that bleeding helped loosen everything, but I was not able to pass it all on my own, and I would require a D&C.

To be honest, I was terrified. I had never had surgery and had never had any type of anesthesia. My instant thought was what happens if I do not wake up and what will happen to my family without me. Every roadblock I had, caused me to imagine my family’s life without me in it, and it was all more than I could handle. However, when I woke up in recovery, my first thought was one of relief. This nightmare was finally over, and I could begin to finally heal. Except what I experienced in the weeks to come was more than my broken self could handle.

I consider myself one of the lucky ones, I work for an amazing boss who I have known my whole life and who allowed me to have eight days off work during this horrible process. At that time, I truly believed that getting back into a routine would help me heal, and I was desperate for some “normalcy.” After I started getting back into my routine, I quickly learned that there would be no “getting back to normal.”

In a society that truly does not understand or know how to act around those who have suffered this type of loss, I was treated as if I were a leper. I felt as though people were avoiding eye contact with me, and even worse, not once was I asked how I was doing. As the weeks went on, I slowly started talking about the fact that I was no longer pregnant, and every time I would mention my unborn child, the subject would be changed and the individual would walk away.

I truly had no idea how to react, but to be honest, talking about what I had been through was what I needed to heal. It was when I started seeing a therapist that I realized these may not have been malicious actionspeople have no idea how to be around someone who has had a miscarriage.

RELATED: 5 Things to Say to a Woman After a Miscarriage

After going through this experience there are a few thoughts I would like to share with this world that has no idea how to react to a woman who has a miscarriage. When you have a miscarriage you are not just having a heavy period, you are losing a child. The moment you pee on that stick and get a positive pregnancy test you start dreaming about your life nine months from that moment. You start planning your future as a growing family and have so many hopes and dreams, only to have them ripped away from you in an instant.

So for those who do not know how to react around someone who has a miscarriage. Treat it like they lost a family member. Say you are sorry and let them know you are there for them. They may not be ready to talk at that instant, but they will eventually need people to talk to, and when that time comes, it’s comforting to know who you can confide in.

Secondly, having a miscarriage is not your fault. It may feel like your body has failed you at that time, but I promise you, you have not failed. You have gone through hell and are still here. You are so much stronger than you think and then you give yourself credit for.

Lastly, please do not tell someone “everything happens for a reason” or “at least you got pregnant” or even worse “at least you have one child.” These are all comments I heard from individuals who meant well, but I promise you these comments cut you straight to your core. It does not matter if you got pregnant or have another child, you lost a child. You lost your hopes and dreams. This loss deserves to be validated by those around you.

In conclusion, I am sharing my story not for pity or validation, but to let you know that you are not alone. In fact, 10-20 percent of pregnancies end in miscarriage before 20 weeks. You deserve to know that others have been there and have felt exactly how you feel at this very moment. During those sleepless nights, I would search the internet longing to find more people like me. More people who knew what I was feeling. It is time that we as a society start talking about miscarriage. Not only to learn how to talk about it but also to learn how to be around someone who has gone through this experience.

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Lindsay Broman

Lindsay Broman has many titles, nurse practitioner, daughter, sister, friend . . . but most importantly mom and wife. She has been married to the love of her life since 2019. They have built a beautiful life together that revolves around their family of five including two toddler daughters and one puppy brother. Lindsay has a passion for talking and learning about all things motherhood: the good, the bad, the ugly, and the messy. Lindsay continues to work as a nurse practitioner, providing care for elderly, sick patients, but she truly has a passion for parenting and is hoping to help others know that they are not alone in their parenting/fertility journey.

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