Guest blogger Jessica Katz: The other day, a group of us moms were out to lunch with our babies. It was a normal playdate ... until I realized they were carrying dark secrets with them.
I am the only one pregnant again, and when another mom asked if anyone else wanted another baby, the vault was infiltrated. Three out of the five moms there admitted that they'd had miscarriages prior to their first pregnancies. They expressed how traumatic it had been, and how painful the D&C (dilation and curettage) was. (D&C's are often performed after first-trimester miscarriages.)
Two moms tried again right away and successfully had their babies. Another mom had waited months, too scared to go through the experience again. She didn't tell anyone, and when she finally broke down to her mom, her mother confessed that she had experienced a miscarriage as well. (My own mom had had a miscarriage between her third and fourth pregnancies, and I always imagined how hard that must have been. But then I realized that my brother -- whom I loved so much -- wouldn't be here if the other baby was, so it was a bittersweet situation.)
Suddenly the fourth mom confessed that she was scared to try again because her baby'd had colic for four months. It was so bad that she would have to put him down and just walk out of the house. She said she could see how people shook their babies to death. She went crazy and felt like she was a prisoner to her home and her baby. She said she would have traded her easy five-hour labor for one of our horrific labors (29 hours and a C-section) in a heartbeat, rather than have a colicky baby.
I was astonished. How had these women -- who had all become so close -- held these secrets in for so long? I tell everybody everything. How could they have gone through all of this alone without asking for help? "I was embarrassed," one mom confessed. "People make miscarriage sound like I did something wrong. I didn't want people judging me. And I figured people only want to hear about the joy of pregnancy, not the sadness associated with it."
"No one understands colic unless they've experienced it," said another mom. "They just thought I had a cranky baby and that I am a complainer. No one wanted to be around the screaming. I just prayed it would pass."
When I got pregnant, I told everyone at four weeks because I knew that if I lost the baby, I would tell those same people -- I wouldn't want to go through it alone. Colic and miscarriage can both cause severe depression and anxiety, so women should feel like they can ask for help, because they need it. It is a serious loss; you're losing both the actual baby and the cute, quiet baby you thought you would have. And speaking of that, if you envision your baby being one way and he or she turns out totally different, that can also cause depression. In any case, one in five women miscarry, so if you have miscarried, you should never feel like you are alone.
You can have some mommy secrets (such as skipping the bath or not changing your baby as often as you should). But if you have bigger issues, talk to your mom friends. Chances are, they've gone through the same thing.