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I Don’t Feel Grief Over My Miscarriage, I Feel Guilt

Feb 9, 2018

“I’m pregnant,” I said, trying to convince myself of the validity of the statement.

A smile briefly flashed across my husband’s lips, immediately replaced by a stoic, “Let’s see what the doctor says.”

Five home tests and a blood test confirmed the incredible, but my joy was overshadowed by terror at the idea of losing the pregnancy.

I just know that while I will forever remember that this little life existed, however briefly, I do not find myself grieving.

Punctuating my fear, I began to spot in week five and did not stop until week 15. Through 10 weeks of modified bed rest, I tried to breathe through the worry and begged my unborn child to stay in there. The day after our week 12 ultrasound, I began bleeding heavily, and I was sure this was it.

But, my tough little guy and my body had other plans, and I went on to have a normal (if nerve-wracking) pregnancy, followed by the birth of a healthy baby boy.

While pregnant with our second surprise, we had a scare partway into the first trimester. I crouched in the ER washroom, talking to this little dot of a person, telling him all about how many people loved him already and pleading with him to stay in there and meet his big brother.

Two healthy sons later, these incidents far behind us, I can still conjure the fear of those moments. They were traumatic despite their happy outcomes.


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When two lines appeared again a few years later, I did not feel the elation or cautious excitement I had with the prior pregnancies. “No,” I panicked. “No, I can’t be pregnant. I don’t want this.” I was blindsided by the lack of joy I felt at this news of a child growing within me.

My self-professed forever-a-father-of-two husband was surprisingly unfazed. “It is what it is, we’ll make it work.”

Maybe I just felt in my heart from the beginning that we would never hold this baby in our arms, and my instincts sheltered me with emotional distance.

I lacked his cool. I had desperately prayed for my first two children to stay in there, and this time I found myself rooting for a test error. I genuinely hoped this child did not actually exist.

Despite these feelings of panic and doom, I never wished for a miscarriage. I got one anyway. What I had believed was light spotting due to implantation bleeding turned into a full period, and a blood test confirmed that I was probably already losing the baby when I found out I was carrying it. My most unimaginable fear during my first two pregnancies was realized during my third.

I cried. I hadn’t wanted this pregnancy, but losing a baby is never easy, no matter the circumstances. But then I was fine.

This real miscarriage did not have the lasting effect on me that the threatened ones had, and that makes me feel like a terrible person and mother. Not only had I not wanted this baby, I was not greatly impacted by its loss.


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I have supported friends though pregnancy loss. I applaud the efforts to end the stigma and open the dialogue so the suffering in silence can be mitigated. Miscarriage is traumatic and heartbreaking. It forever changes the woman who lives through it.

So why not me?

I cried. I hadn’t wanted this pregnancy, but losing a baby is never easy, no matter the circumstances. But then I was fine.

I don’t have an answer for why my miscarriage did not devastate me. Maybe it was the panic at being pregnant when I felt unprepared. Maybe it was the short time frame of being knowingly pregnant for less than a day before I no longer was. If I hadn’t tested right then, I never would have known at all. Maybe I just felt in my heart from the beginning that we would never hold this baby in our arms, and my instincts sheltered me with emotional distance.

I just know that while I will forever remember that this little life existed, however briefly, I do not find myself grieving. I deal with the guilt of that each time I think back on this pregnancy, dry-eyed. My heart breaks for others who have suffered such loss. I weep for them. I know the weight they carry. I try to acknowledge that I am not a horrible person despite my lighter load and that everyone is affected differently.

Though I carry more guilt than grief, I will remember the fleeting moment there was the promise of a new life. I do not carry the pain, but I will always wonder what might have been.

Article Author Heather M. Jones
Heather M. Jones

Heather M. Jones is a mom of two, wife of one and writer of humour, biting social commentary and everything in between. She lives in Toronto with her family, and two cats who are decidedly not friends.

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