Miscarriage is the most common fertility complication that can happen to a woman in early pregnancy.
Numerous studies reported by the National Institute of Health indicate that roughly 43% of women report having one or more spontaneous miscarriages in the first trimester. Roughly half of these were women that experienced miscarriage in the first trimester during their first pregnancy.
Time for the truth
Truth is, we don’t talk about miscarriage enough as a society. While these women would most likely be left feeling hopeless and filled with guilt due to their loss either way, an open dialogue and education on the matter could help.
It could not only show these women that they are not alone, but also teach society how to approach this situation appropriately (read the things that I want women who miscarry to know here).
By talking about miscarriage sparingly and quietly, we are keeping women in the dark about a possible step in their journey to becoming a mother.
By withholding this truth, we possibly aid in their decreased mental health following their miscarriage. This poses serious consequences both psychologically and physically.
Personally, my husband and I had tried to conceive for a little over a year (miniscule compared to so many couples in the world that have fertility issues). In that year, we saw negative pregnancy test after negative pregnancy test.
About six months into trying, I had been late for a period by a week but was afraid to take, yet another, pregnancy test. I was ALWAYS on time. Though, I didn’t want to get my hopes up.
Then, I got into a car accident.
In the days following the accident, I experienced heavy bleeding. A close friend, and physician, concluded that I most likely had an early miscarriage due to the stress of the accident. That is, the psychological stress of the accident.
Miscarriages can occur for a multitude of reasons.
These reasons can include:
- Chromosomal abnormalities
- Hormonal irregularities
- Improper implantation of the egg into the uterine wall
- Maternal age
- Exposure to toxins
- Uterine abnormalities
- Smoking, drinking, or use of drugs
- Psychological stress before and during pregnancy (the most likely cause of my miscarriage)
Miscarriages can cause psychological stress and psychological stress can cause miscarriages
Months after this accident, I had extreme heartache and jealousy toward any woman that was pregnant. I was mad that my chance at having that baby was ripped away from me. I never wanted anything more than to be a mother and it seemed that it was overwhelmingly difficult to achieve.
Finally, after around a year of trying after my accident, my husband and I were pregnant with our beautiful son. It took a whole other year before becoming pregnant again and I attribute this to the mental stress I held after that accident.
The time period after miscarriage, unfortunately, is when anxiety and depression can become a consuming cycle. (Jess’s Anxiety Workbook could help with this). This cycle can also happen with fertility problems other than miscarriages.
Couples that have fertility issues (far past the issues that my husband and I had experienced) seek numerous routes for conception. These routes, while initially promising, can actually increase stress.
Treatments for infertility range from simple suggestions of timing intercourse or drug therapy to surgery to repair reproductive organs. All of which can provoke distressing emotions for those experiencing these complications.
Stress that occurs due to these therapies can arise due to side effects experienced through numerous outlets. These can include drug therapies, financial worries related to treatment, and unexpected outcomes following treatment.
Common fertility medications may cause anxiety, mood swings, depression, mania, and irritability. Due to the stress of the situation, physicians are often unsure if these symptoms are related to the circumstance rather than the medication.
Either way, the stress that may occur can interfere with the end goal of conception. Therefore, close monitoring of these symptoms and considering other options may be best for the patient’s treatment.
Coverage of fertility treatments vary among different insurance companies and states (far fewer than there should be). Harvard reports that the average IVF cycle using fresh embryos is $8,158.
This doesn’t include the thousands of dollars for fertility medications associated with IVF. The cost of such treatments may leave many (insured or not) feeling helpless due to the inability to make that financial commitment.
In the end, these treatments do not guarantee conception. While many may be blessed with a successful pregnancy after undergoing treatment, some will not. Experiencing failed treatment may worsen the psychological conditions couples endure.
Whether you are lucky enough to win the battle of infertility or not, it is crucial that couples experiencing fertility issues seek help for the psychological stresses that accompany such struggles.
Red flags that you should look for after miscarriage and should alert you to seek professional attention include symptoms of depression and isolation.
Symptoms of depression can include:
- loss of interest or pleasure in activities that use to bring you joy
- social isolation
- excessive sleepiness
- restless sleep
- lack of concentration
There are so many signs and symptoms to look for related to depression all of which can become consuming.
It is important that you (and possibly a partner or close friend) look out for these symptoms. If ever they reach a point that you begin having thoughts of self-harm or extreme thoughts of worthlessness, it is important to know that you can reach out to a professional for help.
An aspect of depression that is highly likely with those that experience a miscarriage or fertility issues is isolation.
Fertility issues can be very isolating. Even when someone else confides in you that they, too, have had a miscarriage or problems conceiving. Often times, when someone tries to relate to you in this time, it can make it more difficult.
So, sometimes it feels like it is easier to be alone. However, odds are you already feel quite alone in this experience.
Try your hardest to keep a mental note of when you interact with people. If it has been awhile, try to engage in a conversation with a few people. A small amount of interaction can go a long way for your mental health and outlook.
Cameryn Vonbargen is the owner of blog Multitasking Motherhood, a full-time student, and stay-at-home mother to her four-month-old son Nolan. Cameryn created Multitasking Motherhood in holds of providing mothers an environment with discussion of both difficult and fun topics in a real light. Cameryn has her degree in psychology and will soon have her degree in nursing. She brings passion to writing about parenting, pregnancy, and marriage. She is dedicated in providing information and relatable stories to her readers. You can find her on her blog at http://multitaskingmotherhood.com/ , on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/multitaskingmotherhood/ , and on Twitter at https://twitter.com/MultitaskingMo2