The stigma of miscarriage

In my experience, miscarriage is often a silent grief. It’s almost an embarrassment to admit to having a miscarriage. Or three.

It was only when I experienced my first one (and since then two more) that I realised how many women there are who have gone through this kind of loss. They simply crawl out of the woodwork. There seems to be a stigma attached to confessing that you ‘lost it’. When it happens, you start to ask yourself questions like: ‘What’s wrong with me? Why can’t my body carry a baby?’ Perhaps you even start to doubt whether you’ll ever bear a child.  

Actually, in reality, miscarriage is so common that it’s almost like a rite of passage for anyone wanting to have a child. Yet, and let me be clear here: the fact that it is common does not make it any less painful.

It’s a loss of a vision of the future, the sudden disappearance of a longing hope and a deep wish. No matter whether you lose the baby in the early stages, or at 6 months, it’s still a terrible disappointment which needs to be mourned. Also remember that during a miscarriage or even after the foetus dies, a woman may still feel and look pregnant for a while as the pregnancy hormone may still be present in her body.

Miscarriage happened to me

My first miscarriage was a huge shock, a loss of innocence. Although I knew that 1 in 3 first pregnancies result in miscarriage, I never thought it would happen to me. Even with my fertility issues, I assumed I would be okay.

The terrible shock of having your ultimate joy converted to horror when you start to bleed cannot be underestimated. At about 7 weeks, I started to spot. The doctor detected a faint heartbeat, diagnosed a threatened miscarriage and told me to rest and come back in two days for a scan. I continued to bleed slightly and by the fourth scan and multiple blood tests week or so later, the heartbeat had gone.

Since the foetus didn’t seem to want to expel on its own, I had a D&C. I remember waking up sobbing. The worst part was going from feeling and being pregnant to not being pregnant anymore within a day. You feel completely bereft and I was very down about it for a long time afterwards.

The second miscarriage a few years later happened on fertility treatment, after I’d given birth to my daughter. That it happened then made it worse because of the time and money spent on falling pregnant in the first place. This time, at about 7 weeks, I felt my pregnancy symptoms begin to dissipate and suspecting that all was not well went for blood tests. It didn’t bode well.

The doctor scanned and diagnosed a blighted ovum, which meant that the gestational sac was empty because the embryo hadn’t developed properly. He didn’t want to do another D&C so he gave me some medication to expel it. It didn’t work and a week later I had more inserted. Ten days of bed rest and painkillers later, I eventually passed a gestational sac.

The time in bed gave me the opportunity to mourn. And with an older child, you don’t really have time to feel sorry for yourself; you have to sort of pull yourself together. I also recovered more quickly this time because I have a child and I know my body can do it. Still, it was a pretty awful experience, as any miscarriage is.  

Share your experience of miscarriage below, or mail your story to

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24
Show Comments ()
Voting Booth
What do you think about the SA government investigating Chinese online fashion retailer Shein over its business practices?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
It’s a waste of resources that should go to local trade
30% - 1192 votes
I think Shein is being unfairly targeted
10% - 412 votes
Dig up the dirt! We must look out for SA retailers
43% - 1727 votes
I don’t mind, as long as the customer doesn’t suffer
18% - 709 votes
Rand - Dollar
Rand - Pound
Rand - Euro
Rand - Aus dollar
Rand - Yen
Brent Crude
Top 40
All Share
Resource 10
Industrial 25
Financial 15
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.