Why a chemical pregnancy or early miscarriage is still a loss, and why you need to mourn it

Why a chemical pregnancy or early miscarriage is still a loss, and why you need to mourn it

What is a chemical Pregnancy/Early Miscarriage?

“A Loss is Still a loss, and you need to mourn.” is what my doctor said to me when I burst into tears in her office.

I’d had a chemical pregnancy, which is a very early pregnancy loss (before or around 5 weeks).

Often times, a chemical pregnancy can have almost no symptoms. Sometimes it can be particularly bad period pains, and a heavy period. They also have no real cause. The majority of the time it’s problems with the embryo due to low quality sperm/egg, but other times it can be anything from abnormal hormones to implantation issues. It is never anything that could have been prevented.

Many people have a chemical pregnancy without even realizing it. However, if you, like me, have fertility issues, then this is unlikely to happen. If you’re having IVF, taking fertility drugs, or even if you’ve just been trying to get pregnant for a long time, you know how it goes. The minute your period is due (or even a few days before) you’re testing. So unfortunately, that means that you’ll find out sooner than most.

Why it’s important to treat this as a loss, and why you have to mourn

For us, after 2.5 years of “on and off” trying, we finally got that little line on the test again.

The next day we had a phone call with our fertility specialist about beginning treatment. I couldn’t wait to tell our doctor “Don’t worry! We don’t need your help! We did it ourselves!”

Then I went to get all the blood tests. The hormone numbers weren’t doubling.

I was told this was a non-viable pregnancy. A chemical pregnancy. And now I had to wait for nature to take its course.

This took over two weeks. Two weeks from knowing I was pregnant to knowing I wasn’t anymore.

The way we got through this was to begin to mourn the person we never met, but loved.

We didn’t keep a secret: We’re lucky we had people to talk to. I had a small group of people I told, friends who had been through this themselves. Talking to them and understanding what they went through helped us to accept what had happened to us.

We talked to each other: I’m lucky to be married to someone who is open to talking about how he’s feeling. We talked, we hugged, we cried. We checked in on each other frequently.

We allowed ourselves to feel the loss: We do already have a wonderful 5 year old, and my husband has two lovely daughters who are in their 20s. However, we still lost a much wanted baby, and although people go through worse things, we did still lose a person who was very real to us. Although I was only 5 weeks (and nearly 8 weeks once everything had finished), we had already started planning everything from names to birth announcements to figuring out approximate due dates.

Being kind to ourselves and mourning that person we never met helped us get through it all. Remembering you are not alone, and that there are people and resources to help can be what gets you through. And when you are ready, you can begin to move on.

Recent blog posts

Excerpt from the memoir “How to Get a Girl Pregnant”

Waiting. Waiting. Waiting. Can I fill up the day with 16 separate tasks so that I don’t think about waiting?

Just Adopt

There’s really no escaping it. When you’re facing infertility, other people getting into your business begins to feel pretty routine.

Four things I’ve learned about having a baby in my 40s

As many of us that have struggled to get pregnant know, life doesn’t always go the way you expect it to.