In this powerful and emotional talk, Cassandra Blomberg combines her personal journey through pregnancy loss with research on miscarriage and stillbirth to explain why we need to break the silence surrounding this topic. She explains the emotions women and men
may experience during pregnancy loss, how the loss can impact mental health and future children, and what we need to do to better support those going through it.
Cassandra Blomberg earned her elementary education teaching credential and B.A. in Diversified Liberal Arts from the University of San Diego and earned her M.S. from San Diego State University where she studied child and family development. Her passion is supporting
children and their families from pregnancy through early childhood. She has taught first grade, opened a State-funded preschool for low-income children in San Diego, and currently is an adjunct child development instructor in the San Diego Community College District and a parent coach.
Cassandra and her husband, Ryan, have three young sons, but their journey to parenthood has not been easy. Between their first and second sons, Cassandra suffered three miscarriages and the stillbirth of their daughter, Violet. She now dedicates much of her time supporting others who have experienced pregnancy loss. This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at www.ted.com/tedx
If you were born in July August or September, raise your hand, July, August and September birthdays.
Everybody look around whenever to look it around to add those who have their hands raised.
This is about 25% of our audience.
Well, the invisible reality for 25% of women who become pregnant is that they will lose their babies to miscarriage or stillbirth.
Many of these women won't even be aware of this shocking statistic until they become a part of it.
Because unfortunately, in our society, pregnancy loss is a taboo subject.
This lack of discussion surrounding pregnancy loss, leaves couples suffering in silence and here's.
The thing when we have other deaths in our lives, whether it be a friend, a family member, a co-worker a pet, we share that loss with others.
We talk about it.
We post about it on social media.
This results in an outpouring of support.
And this support is wonderful and necessary for us to heal and move forward.
However, for many couples who are dealing with pregnancy lost that loss since just as devastating as other losses in our lives, but they're not receiving the same type of support that they need to move forward because it's not beautifu.
We need to do better I'm, an early childhood, a specialist and a Child and Family Development instructor.
But my most important job is being mommy to these three amazing little boys Mason is 6 Cyrus is 2 and Beckett is 1 hashtag boy ball.
My husband and I had a fairly uneventful pregnancy.
And by the time ASA was just a few months old.
We knew we wanted more children.
Mason desperately wanted a little sister.
When I found out I was pregnant with Cyrus.
He would beg and plead and wish and hope that the baby would be a girl.
He would grow up with lists of girls names like rosebud and rainbow anytime.
He passed girls clothing section at the story.
He'd pick up the dresses that he wanted for his future.
So I'll, never forget what I found out what I was having and I came down.
And then I sat Mason down on the couch and I, very excitedly told him me stand the baby's a boy he looked at me a little cockeyed and asked it, is it a girl? Boy, no he's, a boy.
Boy, what Mason didn't understand because he was too young at the time is that you did have a sister.
Her name was violet.
And she was stillborn.
In fact, between the time that Mason is 1 and I became pregnant Osiris.
My husband and I had for pregnancy losses.
We lost one baby at five weeks when maybe at nine weeks when at 12 and a half weeks and violet, who is stillborn, I, I haven't had months.
We went through two and a half years of hell after those losses, I knew that in order to heal and move forward I had to do something so I did two things.
One I, threw myself into researching everything I could about pregnancy loss at a time when I felt so out of control.
It felt like researching and learning about it was one thing I had control of and two I began sharing my experience and I realized that not only was I receiving support, but I was giving support to other women too.
And it was through this journey of sharing my experience that I realized we need to break the silence surrounding pregnancy loss.
So that we can better support the couples who are going through it during my losses.
When I was in the thick of it I felt very isolated and unsupported.
In fact, after every one of my losses, I was back at work at that time.
I really should have been grieving.
I didn't, tell anyone at work about my miscarriages because I just didn't feel comfortable talking about them.
I was ashamed.
No one else talked about their miscarriages.
Why is that? Anyway, after I had piloted my stillborn I ever networked, New, Era's perimeter.
So far long so I had to tell that I have lost the baby and I'll.
Never forget I delivered her on a Saturday side.
Now, there's, nothing quite like the feeling of walking into a hospital pregnant and leaving the hospital empty without your baby, but I delivered her on a Saturday.
And the following Tuesday I was teaching an infant toddler development class, I'll, never forget that night because the topic that I was covering was pregnancy.
That was rough for a long time.
I would talk about violet.
But not my other losses.
I just I was so ashamed and I.
Didn't want people to know how many times I had failed.
It also felt like if I only talked about violet and not the other ones I could pretend like they didn't happen.
And my mind could not process losing four babies I, just wanted it to all go away.
But it did it if you're not convinced the society in general in the United States it's, unsupportive of pregnancy loss, I want you to think about a common practice.
We have here waiting until you're past the first trimester or around 12 or 13 weeks to announce your pregnancy, trust me, what a woman who has been trying to get pregnant.
Finally gets that positive test.
She wants to shout it to the world I'm having a baby.
It is so difficult to wait to share this news, but we do and that's because the majority of miscarriages happen in the first trimester.
So kind of feels like after that point you're out of the danger zone.
So if a woman miscarries and she hasn't announced her pregnancy, then she also doesn't have to tell anyone about the miscarriage think about it.
Women are preparing ahead of time to mourn in silence, isolated if they lose their babies isn't this ludicrous, there also seems to be a misconception that an earlier loss, isn't as big of a deal as a later loss.
And this isn't true research shows that there's no connection between the gestation, which is how far long my and the amount of grief that a woman feels what I finally started talking about.
My experiences I was shocked to discover some women in my life that had miscarriages that I was completely unaware of I had no idea.
And it was through these conversations with these women that I realized they had also had to silently process, the same emotions that I had these emotions that many women and men experienced when going through pregnancy loss are guilt with fear confusion, heartbreak and isolation.
The guilts what did I do wrong? Maybe I shouldn't have lifted me swing to the shopping cart that day.
Maybe it was that cheese I ate at the dinner party.
Last week that cramp I felt I knew I should have gone to the doctor.
Maybe I didn't drink enough water, maybe I drink too much.
But what is Cudas widows and should'ves are overwhelming? And the reality is that the vast majority of pregnancy losses are out of a woman's control with 90% of first trimester losses, being caused by chromosomal issues.
But that didn't stop me from wondering what I could've done differently and it's this guilt that leads to the shame that surrounds pregnancy loss, the fear will I ever be able to have another baby what's wrong with my body will I ever be happy.
Again, the confusion, what what went wrong? What do I do now what test should I read what can I do differently in the future to keep happy? Where is God I? Remember, one question that I kept asking myself over and over it was by me I wanted to be a mom since I was a baby myself I, never played with Barbies I would spend my days taking care of baby dolls, I, babysat and I was a teacher and I opened a preschool for low-income kids and I taught future teachers, I dedicated my life to taking care of other people's children.
Why couldn't I take care of my own the heartbreak.
My baby is gone.
And with her remain hopes and dreams everywhere I looked I, saw pregnant women and babies.
And every time I saw a pregnant woman or baby.
My heart shattered into a million pieces all over again.
An isolation is there enough table to have a healthy baby? Why does anyone seem to understand what I'm going through I fell into a dark hole and isolated myself from many of my family and friends for a while it just felt like no one understood the depth of my pain.
And so it was easier to just not talk to anyone that it was a big smile and pretend like everything was okay.
And that wasn't okay, me isolating myself was not okay and that's because potentially severe and long-term consequences can occur when we fail to acknowledge and discuss these emotions, the men and women are going through.
For example, the depression and anxiety rates among those have had a pregnancy loss are staggering one year after a loss, 35 percent of women are clinically depressed.
Three years after the loss, 15 percent of women still are you compare this to the five percent of general female population with clinical depression, and it becomes apparent that more needs to be done to support them.
One of the most devastating consequences of this depression, the anxiety actually affects a woman's future children.
So many people believe and will tell the grieving mother that if she has another baby she'll just get over it, I hope that was true I hope that would be the the magic here that would make all my pain go away.
But research shows, in fact that having another baby does not make the loss of a previous pregnancy, feel any better and I learned that firsthand when I had Cyrus.
Finally, having him after four losses, proved to be a double-edged sword on the one hand, I was so grateful for him.
So when I was up for the 50th time in the middle of the night and so tired, I couldn't, see, straight I, didn't, mind, myself, I'd, rather be awake right rocking my living, oh, wait crying because I had lost another one on the other hand.
Every first with him was a painful reminder that these were experiences and moments that I would never have with violet or my other angel.
Baby that was hard research has been done on women who have delivered a healthy baby within 19 months of a pregnancy loss has discovered that 45% almost half of these infants develop the disorganized attachment.
And this is a really big deal.
So in a normal healthy relationship, a baby develops, a secure attachment with their mother I, miss ackers from the natural ebb and flow of a responsive caregiver who is emotionally available to meet their baby's needs.
So the baby cries and the mother comforts him and the baby's hungry of the mother feeds him.
And the baby gets into something that he's not supposed to be the mother responds in a calm and developmentally appropriate way.
The baby start to learn like the world is safe.
They have a secure foundation from which to grow and learn and develop other healthy relationships in the future.
On the other hand with a disorganized attachment, the caregiver responds in very unpredictable ways, especially in stressful situations.
So when the baby's been up all night crying or getting into something they're, not supposed to sometimes the mother responds appropriately, but often times of other responses, frightening or frightened ways.
And then the baby doesn't really know what to expect.
They don't feel very safe.
You don't have a secure foundation in which to grow and develop other healthy relationships, many children and adults with the disorganized attachment have externalizing behaviors.
So they'll deal with stress in their life with violence and aggression.
You know, research has shown that this disorganized attachment occurs when a mother has a trauma or a loss that has been unresolved.
So when you think about it that way it makes sense that a mother who has a pregnancy, Lawson didn't, receive the support she needed to heal him forward, but then has another baby could potentially result in a organize attachment.
We need to do more to support these folks and I know it can be difficult to find the right words to say to someone who's going through a pregnancy last bit.
There is a short list of things that are definitely not helpful.
So I'm going to give a quick crash course in phrases to avoid we're talking to somebody well, at least, you know, you can get pregnant.
Now you can always have another baby can I can I really have another baby.
You know that I don't know that remember that fear I was talking about earlier more than ever now I know that there's no guarantees, unless you have a crystal ball, something must have been wrong with the pregnancy.
You know, so it's probably for the best.
And how does this help my kills by the way I'd rather have my baby with something wrong than not my baby at all? You know, miscarriage is pretty common.
You know, it happens.
It's kind of part of the process that happens, sometimes 25% and all yeah.
And a hundred percent of people die.
But that doesn't make it any easier.
Does it needed another angel and I would have happily handed my child over to him in another hundred.
And ten years, really any silver lining on the Brightside type of comment should be avoided.
Because, however, well-intentioned all these thing is is that it feels like they trivialize.
The loss and therein lies the problem because there's nothing trivial about miscarriage or stillbirth.
So do those of you who have not had a loss that may be supporting someone through it? Remember, this could be your mother's story.
It could be your grandmother's story.
This could happen to your daughter, your sister, your friend, your coworker, maybe it already has and you're just not aware.
Please know that the pain someone's feeling we partially mitigated with empathy and support treat that lost the same way you would treat any other loss in your life.
Don't be afraid to ask them at how they're feeling, or let them know that you're thinking about them or their baby.
Trust me, baby's, not far from their minds.
So bringing it up will not cause them more pain instead, it will let them know that you recognize their grief is real and give them the opportunity to talk.
And they want to those of you who are going through your loss or have gone to your loss.
I'm sorry, I know, it's hard and I know, you won't always want to but talk about your loss, keeping that grief, hidden is it healthy for you or your future? Children? You are not alone.
And once you start sharing your experience, you'll find others who have gone through some other thing.
You can be each other's support connecting with others who have had a similar experience can be powerful and healing, join support groups online and in-person go to a therapist don't ever question.
Why you're feeling so much pain over the loss of someone you never knew your loss was real.
And so is your pain.
This may be one of the most difficult things you go through, but you will regain a sense of normalcy for me.
I have learned that the four babies I've lost is part of my story.
And well, it is the most difficult thing that I've ever had to endure I was able to heal and move forward by finally, finding the strength to make my reality, visible to help myself heal and help others as well I choose to share my experience whenever appropriate in whatever way possible when I went in person and in online support groups.
And by being today, I hope, others who are suffering in silence will benefit by doing the same.
And because of what we've gone through my husband and I are so grateful for the three boys that we do have.
And we Church are days that are filled with stinky feet wrestling and new song, renditions like twinkle, twinkle little part, but are also some bugs.
Sometimes the emotional impact is felt immediately after the miscarriage, whereas in other cases it can take several weeks. Many people affected by a miscarriage go through a bereavement period. It's common to feel tired, lose your appetite and have difficulty sleeping after a miscarriage.How does miscarriage affect a man? ›
Biologically, men will not experience the full physical impact of a miscarriage like women who was carrying but men can suffer mentally and emotionally. Men may carry guilt as they are not able to understand the true pain and physical discomfort their partner may have experienced.How do you comfort a woman who has been miscarried? ›
- 1) Acknowledge their loss. ...
- 2) Listen and let them grieve. ...
- 3) Encourage them to talk to other women who've had a miscarriage. ...
- 4) Offer practical support. ...
- 5) End the silence around miscarriage. ...
- 1) Avoid clichéd comments. ...
- 2) Avoid blaming and offering unsolicited advice. ...
- 3) Recognise grief doesn't have a time limit.
You might feel a sense of relief or acceptance. You might also have physical symptoms including trouble sleeping, difficulty concentrating, loss of appetite, headaches or find that you cry a lot. Many people say they feel guilty when they lose a baby, or they feel jealous and bitter.Can a miscarriage traumatize you? ›
Pregnancy loss leads to post-traumatic stress in one in three women. Almost one in three women develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after early pregnancy loss, a new study shows. For some, signs of PTSD, anxiety and depression are still evident nine months later.What happens to a woman after a miscarriage mentally? ›
Depression and anxiety are common after pregnancy loss. Often there is an “appropriate sadness,” said Reedy, and anxiety that persists for up to a year is not uncommon for either partner. These feelings can be especially intense if the pregnancy was long-awaited.Do men mourn miscarriages? ›
But the studies available indicate that men often report the same feelings as women after a pregnancy loss. Like my husband, many men experience sadness, grief, stress, anxiety, and depression after their partner miscarries.What is the trauma of a miscarriage? ›
Miscarriage often is a traumatic experience with serious mental health implications. Friends and family members are often uncomfortable with and avoid discussing the topic with bereaved individuals, potentially making them feel ostracized (i.e., being ignored and excluded), contributing to their mental health concerns.How do dads feel after a miscarriage? ›
It is important to remember that the physical aspect of miscarriage can be distressing for men as well. Whilst they will not personally suffer the physical pain, many fathers feel frustrated, angry and powerless to help their partner.What not to do after miscarriage? ›
No sex, tampons, or douching for 2 weeks.
We recommend waiting until after 2 normal periods to attempt pregnancy again.
"At least you weren't further along."
It's true that the further along you are in your pregnancy, the more complications can happen during the loss—but this phrase tries to diminish the pain felt, perpetuating the idea that a baby lost in the first trimester doesn't necessitate any grief.
This event is often considered to be identical to the death of a child and has been described as traumatic. But the vast majority of those who have suffered both have said they are nothing alike. They describe losing a child as being in a category of its own when it comes to grief.How do you say goodbye to a miscarried baby? ›
Gathering around a fire with a close circle of friends and family can be a beautiful way to say goodbye to your baby. You might want to say some words, play a meaningful song or take a moment of silence. You could also write and then burn a letter to your baby during a fire ceremony, as a private way to say goodbye.What do you name a miscarried baby? ›
Come up with a new nickname. You could use the nursery room theme you planned/imagined for your baby. For example, Baby Owl, Teddy Bear, Cherry, Little Duckling, Chevy, or Dot.What are the symptoms of PTSD after a miscarriage? ›
A study published online in December 2019 in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology showed that miscarriage and ectopic pregnancy can lead to enduring post-traumatic stress symptoms, including intrusive or unwanted thoughts about the pregnancy loss, nightmares or flashbacks, hyperarousal, and avoidance of ...Why is it so hard to get over a miscarriage? ›
Your hormone levels are rapidly changing after a miscarriage, and mood swings and tears are normal. It may take a bit of time before your body feels normal again. The mind can affect the body and vice versa. Try to take care of your physical and emotional health as best you can.Are miscarriages hard on the body? ›
Your body will go through the same changes as you would with a full-term delivery. You may have mood swings, difficulty concentrating and sleeping, tire more easily than usual, and/or feel irritable. Your appetite and energy levels may change.What is a good Bible verse for miscarriage? ›
The Lord is near to the brokenhearted, and saves the crushed in spirit. He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.How long are your hormones crazy after miscarriage? ›
It typically takes from one to nine weeks for hCG levels to return to zero following a miscarriage (or delivery). 1 Once levels zero out, this indicates that the body has readjusted to its pre-pregnancy state—and is likely primed for conception to occur again.Why do couples break up after a miscarriage? ›
It's not unusual to drift apart after a miscarriage because grief is complicated. If it's the first time you and your partner are grieving together, you're learning about yourself and each other at the same time. Some people isolate themselves to work through their feelings.
Even though you lost your child during pregnancy or soon after, you are still a parent. Take care of yourself. Eat well, get good sleep, and pay attention to your thoughts and feelings. Choose healthy distractions, such as talking with a friend, going for a walk, or reading your favorite book.How a husband should treat his wife after miscarriage? ›
Support your partner.
Your partner will often feel the loss of a child more keenly that you will. So take the time to sit with her, hold her, listen to her express herself. Just being there and supporting her through her grief will really help her process the experience.
- Exposure to TORCH diseases.
- Hormonal imbalances.
- Improper implantation of fertilized egg in your uterine lining.
- How old you are.
- Uterine abnormalities.
- Incompetent cervix (your cervix begins to open too early in pregnancy).
A miscarriage can be traumatic for an expecting parent. After a miscarriage, it takes about a month for your body to adjust back to its normal state. During that time, you may experience an unusual first period, which is rarely a sign of a problem. It often takes the body less time to heal than the mind.Can miscarriage lead to long term post-traumatic stress? ›
The study revealed that one month following pregnancy loss, nearly a third of women (29 per cent) suffered post-traumatic stress while one in four (24 per cent) experienced moderate to severe anxiety, and one in ten (11 per cent) had moderate to severe depression.Can recurrent miscarriage cause PTSD? ›
Introduction Recurrent pregnancy loss is usually associated with significant psychological distress for both partners of the couple. It may act as a traumatic experience resulting in a posttraumatic stress disorder.Can a miscarriage bring a couple closer? ›
You will have all sorts of feelings and emotions after a miscarriage and so will your partner. Some couples find that going through a miscarriage brings them closer together. Others may find it more difficult. Even though you have both lost a baby, you may have very different feelings and ways of coping.What do you say to a man after a miscarriage? ›
It can be hard to find the right words to comfort someone who is experiencing this type of grief, but many people say that just having their loss acknowledged is helpful. You might want to say: “I'm very sorry that you have lost your baby.” “This must be really difficult for you.”What is the most common week to miscarry? ›
Most miscarriages - 8 out of 10 (80 percent) - happen in the first trimester before the 12th week of pregnancy. Miscarriage in the second trimester (between 13 and 19 weeks) happens in 1 to 5 in 100 (1 to 5 percent) pregnancies. Pregnancy loss that happens after 20 weeks is called stillbirth.How do I stop obsessing over a miscarriage? ›
Easing Your Miscarriage Fears
Try to remember that your fears are normal, but that this phase will pass. Take time to practice mindfulness, meditation, and take some time for yourself. This could include any stress-reducing activities you enjoy like yoga or going for a walk.
There is no reason to avoid having a bath or shower on the day following a miscarriage. It is advised to use warm water rather than very hot water. You can resume swimming as soon as you feel fit enough to do so although it is advisable to wait until any vaginal bleeding or discharge has stopped.Why wait 3 months after miscarriage? ›
In the United States, the most common recommendation was to wait three months for the uterus to heal and cycles to get back to normal. The World Health Organization has recommended six months, again to let the body heal.What are nice things to do after a miscarriage? ›
- Provide food and nourishment. ...
- Take chores off their list. ...
- Send flowers and plants. ...
- Give them time, but check in. ...
- Give comfort. ...
- Provide a keepsake. ...
- Offer to babysit. ...
- Send books and journals.
For example, one 2005 study1 by British researchers found that the "time to pregnancy" was longer after a miscarriage, meaning it took longer for people who had a miscarriage to conceive again. In contrast, a 2003 study2 found higher odds of conception in the cycle immediately following an early pregnancy loss.What color flowers for miscarriage? ›
Type of flowers: White orchids, daisies and other white blooms mixed with greens are common flowers people send to someone who miscarried.How do you honor an early miscarriage? ›
- Name Your Baby. MachineHeadz. ...
- Wear or Make Memorial Jewelry. Tim Robberts. ...
- Write About Your Baby. ...
- Plant a Memorial Tree or Garden. ...
- Display an Angel Statuette. ...
- Order a Memorial Plaque or Crystal. ...
- Get a Special Teddy Bear or Pillow. ...
- Donate to a Charitable Organization.
The pink and blue ribbon is a symbol for promoting: Baby loss awareness, including loss during and after pregnancy, stillbirth, miscarriage, termination for medical reasons, neonatal death and SIDS.What plant represents miscarriage? ›
One popular flower that symbolizes miscarriage is the white lily.How do you say you had a miscarriage professionally? ›
A few examples: I wanted to let you know that I recently had a miscarriage. I'm understandably upset and think I'll need some time to work through my emotions. If you could share this information with the team on my behalf, I'd really appreciate it.What is sunshine baby? ›
"Angel Baby," "Sunshine Baby," and "Rainbow Baby" are terms that refer to babies born just before or after another baby is lost due to a variety of reasons. They help immediate family members move through the grieving process and find meaning in the loss.
If a pregnancy ends before 24 weeks, it is known as a miscarriage. Miscarriages are quite common in the first three months of pregnancy. At least one in six confirmed pregnancies end in miscarriage. Many miscarriages which occur early in pregnancy (before 14 weeks) are a result if developmental problems with the baby.How does a miscarriage affect you emotionally? ›
What are emotions I might feel after a miscarriage? Women may experience a roller coaster of emotions such as numbness, disbelief, anger, guilt, sadness, depression, and difficulty concentrating. Even if the pregnancy ended very early, the sense of bonding between a mother and her baby can be strong.Why is miscarriage emotionally painful? ›
Yet many women still blame themselves. In the weeks after a miscarriage, many women experience a roller coaster of emotions. At the same time, a woman who has just miscarried is going through hormonal shifts as her body readjusts to not being pregnant. Her changing hormones may intensify the emotions she's feeling.What to do after a miscarriage mentally? ›
- Give Yourself Permission to Grieve. No matter what anyone says, miscarriage is a real loss that can feel devastating—and even traumatic—for those who are going through it. ...
- Talk It Out. ...
- Share with Your Partner. ...
- Let Go of Guilt. ...
- Ease Back in When You're Ready.
Your hormone levels are rapidly changing after a miscarriage, and mood swings and tears are normal. It may take a bit of time before your body feels normal again. The mind can affect the body and vice versa. Try to take care of your physical and emotional health as best you can.What not to say to someone who miscarried? ›
- "It wasn't a real baby." ...
- "At least you weren't further along." ...
- "It wasn't meant to be." ...
- "Well, at least you can get pregnant." ...
- "This happens to everyone; it's not a big deal." ...
- "Maybe you should have/shouldn't have..." ...
- "You'll be fine in a few days."
Research shows that miscarriage and ectopic pregnancy can lead to lingering post-traumatic stress symptoms, anxiety, and depression — sometimes in male partners, too. It's increasingly recognized that losing a pregnancy can be a heartbreaking event, sometimes leading to depression.Is a miscarriage pain similar to labor? ›
If you miscarry naturally, even in the early weeks of pregnancy, you are likely to have period-like cramps that can be extremely painful. This is because the uterus is tightly squeezing to push its contents out, like it does in labour – and some women do experience contractions not unlike labour.Am I still a mom after miscarriage? ›
Even though you lost your child during pregnancy or soon after, you are still a parent. Take care of yourself. Eat well, get good sleep, and pay attention to your thoughts and feelings. Choose healthy distractions, such as talking with a friend, going for a walk, or reading your favorite book.