There is a little-known, totally strange thing that happens after having a miscarriage: Even if you aren’t remotely thinking of trying to get pregnant again and have taken every precaution known on Earth to avoid it, you will still wonder every single month if you are pregnant.
Despite the fact that my husband and I aren’t even considering trying again, every month, approximately one week before my period is due, my brain betrays me. Logically, I know I am not pregnant. But illogically? The part of me that was affected by my loss is hell-bent on proving me wrong.
OMG, are your boobs sore?!
Wow, you sure are eating more than normal!
Was that a twinge of nausea? That was definitely a twinge of nausea.
When is the last time you craved pickles, Chaunie? Seems suspicious …
Every single month, since my second loss at the beginning of the year, I obsess over whether or not I could be pregnant. Every single month, I have taken pregnancy test after pregnancy test. I was spending so much on Amazon Prime pregnancy tests that I finally had to curb it in and slink away to my dollar store to get some cheaper ones. I don’t even really want to be pregnant right now, but it’s like I am a woman possessed.
I had been hiding my secret obsession in shame until, one day, when I was due to welcome my monthly visitor, I realized I couldn’t even focus at all on anything because I couldn’t stop wondering whether or not I was pregnant. I became completely unproductive and basically battled with myself all day long until I finally broke down and tested. Of course, it was negative. I felt so ashamed and foolish for testing yet again that I reached out some fellow loss mamas to see if anyone else has ever struggled with the same issue. And can you guess what the response was?
Every single one of them did it too.
Every single woman in the group who has had a miscarriage knew exactly what I was talking about. Some had taken tests for months after, even while still bleeding. Some had taken tests despite their husbands getting vasectomies. Some had continued testing for years and years after their miscarriages.
Lauren Ramirez, a writer and mom of one, explains that her first pregnancy and subsequent loss has caused her to have a lot of anxiety, which leads to the inevitable monthly testing.
“Pregnancy made me so, so anxious, so I keep wanting to be not pregnant while simultaneously feeling the pull of second baby syndrome,” she says. “My first has been the most joyous thing but I’m also terrified of pregnancy again because of the PPA.”
Melissa Cohen, who miscarried her first pregnancy while carrying twins at 11 and twelve 12 along tells Babble that she tested off and on for years after her loss, even as recently as a few months ago.
“I’m 16 years past my miscarriage, and it took a good 10 years before I stopped thinking about it every single month,” she adds. “It just becomes part of who you are. My husband says I successfully predicted 87 of my last three pregnancies.”
When I heard from moms who were basically living my same life, I was immediately flooded with relief.
I was not alone. I was not losing my mind. I was normal.
There is so much information about miscarriage out there, but this is a topic I haven’t seen discussed yet and honestly, it is one that has deeply affected me. I was truly reaching a point of self-loathing over why I couldn’t seem to “get a grip” and stop obsessing over pregnancy, even if I don’t actually want to be pregnant right now.
But after realizing that I was not alone in struggling with this, and thanks to some brave mamas who were willing to share their own experiences with me, I know now that I will probably struggle with this every single month and that it’s just another way miscarriage has changed my everyday life.
Because as Cohen says: “I think a miscarriage is one of those things you never really ‘get over.’ You just get better at dealing with it.”
Even if your way of dealing with it happens to be taking a pregnancy test every month.