05/15/2007DEAR ABBY: After reading the letter from "Anonymous in the North" (March 12), I had to write. I, too, have suffered a miscarriage. Not only did I mourn the loss of my pregnancy, but I was also afraid I'd never be able to have any children.
"Anonymous" should know that one in four pregnancies ends in miscarriage. If she talks with other women, she'll see she's not alone in her suffering. Sharing her story with others who have been through the same thing may help her ease the pain she's feeling.
Nine months after my miscarriage I became pregnant again with my son. The happiest moment of my life was when I saw his heartbeat on an ultrasound and was later able to hold him in my arms. I am now the happy mother of three.
Please extend my sympathies to "Anonymous," and tell her not to give up hope. -- ANOTHER MOM IN THE NORTH
DEAR MOM: I was touched by the number of women who wrote to support "Anonymous in the North," and amazed at how many of them said that they had had miscarriages, too. One reader suggested that "Anonymous" contact area hospitals to see if there is a local support group for parents who have suffered infant loss, explaining that it helped her cope with her own grief.
A national group that has helped many people is Share: Pregnancy and Infant Loss Support Inc. Founded in 1977, it has 80 chapters and offers mutual support for bereaved parents and families who have suffered a loss due to miscarriage, stillbirth or neonatal death. It provides a monitored interactive Web site that includes chat rooms and message boards. Its toll-free number is (800) 821-6819, and its Web site is www.nationalshareoffice.com. Read on:
DEAR ABBY: "Anonymous in the North" needs to realize that her anger and bitterness are normal. You don't get "over" a miscarriage, but you do get through it -- and life does get better.
What she needs to do is take care of herself, be gentle with herself. If that means avoiding or limiting her time with her brother and pregnant sister-in-law, or friends and family with babies, so be it! They need to understand that it isn't about them. It's a self-care issue. Unfortunately, family and friends can be a part of the problem.
Things not to say to someone who has miscarried:
1. "You'll get pregnant again." (Not everyone does.)
2. "You can always adopt." (That's a personal decision and should not be rushed into as second best.)
3. "It was for the best because it was defective, it was God's will, etc." (Unforgivable, even if it were true.)
I will never forget my disbelief and rage when a "friend" who knew of my miscarriage, and the emotionally and financially exhausting fertility treatments I was undergoing at the time, complained of her morning sickness and said, "Aren't you glad you're not going through this?"
If you don't know what to say about a friend's miscarriage, say "I'm so sorry," and then shut up. Don't try to "fix it," any more than you'd try to "fix" a widow by fixing her up. -- DANA IN SPRINGFIELD, MO.
DEAR ABBY: After my miscarriage it was hard for me to see a pregnant woman or baby. My doctor gave me a book that helped me understand and deal with my feelings. I hope "Anonymous" can get a similar reference from her doctor. -- BEEN THERE AND GOT THROUGH IT
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.
Good advice for everyone -- teens to seniors -- is in "The Anger in All of Us and How to Deal With It." To order, send a business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $6 (U.S. funds only) to: Dear Abby, Anger Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)