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“Miscarriage” is a word that is often only whispered.


But that doesn’t mean it isn’t common. Millions of women around us today have experienced pregnancy loss. Our friends and sisters are experiencing them now, and our mothers and grandmothers went through them before us. Yet each generation has dealt with silence surrounding the topic.

Women experiencing miscarriage need information and support. Every woman is different, but many of the basics remain the same.

Heres what you need to know about miscarriage.

1. Many women experience miscarriage.

Many women will experience at least one miscarriage in their lifetimes. By one estimate, one in four women will miscarry.

Most miscarriages may actually go undetected by the mother. Fifty to 75% of them occur even before a woman has missed her period (called “chemical pregnancy”).

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Ten to 25% of all clinically recognized pregnancies will end in miscarriage, and most happen before 13 weeks.

Second-trimester miscarriages happen in 1 to 5% of pregnancies.

While miscarriages may be relatively common, that doesn’t soften the loss. Women who have miscarriages, at least one study shows, are at risk for depression and anxiety. It’s also important for women to keep in mind the physical reality of experiencing miscarriage: The American Psychological Association notes that “pregnancy hormones can continue to cause emotional turbulence” for women who miscarry.

Every woman’s experience of miscarriage is personal to her. As Kate Kripke at Postpartum Progress explains:

Some women who lose babies through miscarriage are able to move through this loss freely, while others feel deep despair at this loss. There are no shouldsin this. No right way to feel. If you feel strong and grounded and ready to move forward after a miscarriage that is totally valid. If you feel deep loss and grief then that, too, is appropriate. No one gets to tell you how you feel except you.

2. We havent been talking enough about miscarriage.

When Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, pediatrician and philanthropist Priscilla Chan, announced that they were expecting a baby girl, they also shared that they had experienced three miscarriages along the way.

In their statement, they shared how lonely they felt experiencing repeat miscarriages, noting that many people don’t often discuss the topic:

“Most people don’t discuss miscarriages because you worry your problems will distance you or reflect upon you—as if you’re defective or did something to cause this. In today’s open and connected world, discussing these issues doesn’t distance us; it brings us together. It creates understanding and tolerance, and it gives us hope.”

Speaking up about our miscarriage experiences is one way we can strip away the stigma in our society. Motherly reader Angela, who experienced a miscarriage at 12.5 weeks, said that the more she spoke with friends about her miscarriage, the more she realized how common it was.

“Sharing the experience made the burden of the loss easier,” she told us.

3. Most miscarriages cannot be prevented.

Chromosomal abnormalities are at the root of most miscarriages, the American Pregnancy Association notes. Causes of miscarriage include:

  • Hormonal problems, infections or maternal health problems
  • Implantation of the egg into the uterine lining does not occur properly
  • Maternal age
  • Maternal trauma
  • Lifestyle (e.g., smoking, drug use, malnutrition, excessive caffeine and exposure to radiation or toxic substances)

Dr. John Zhang, medical director of New Hope Fertility Center in New York City explains that there are many different reasons why women miscarry and that “these reasons could differ from woman to woman and from pregnancy to pregnancy.”

Resolve: The National Infertility Association says that additional potential causes for miscarriages including abnormal hormone levels, cervical issues, infections, environmental factors and immunologic causes. Your doctor can help you identify any underlying issues as you receive medical care for miscarriage.

4. Miscarriage is a process.

If you start bleeding or experience heavy cramping while pregnant, call your doctor. He or she can assess whether you need to be seen immediately. If you are feeling faint or are experiencing heavy bleeding, call 911.

Columbia University’s OB-GYN experts note that doctors usually diagnose a miscarriage with ultrasound, though pregnancy blood tests for the hormone human chorionic gonadotrophin (hCG) may be used as well. “If the fetus is no longer in the uterus, or there is no longer a fetal heartbeat, miscarriage is diagnosed.”

There are a few ways to remove fetal and pregnancy tissue after a miscarriage is confirmed.

Your doctor may advise you to let the fetal and pregnancy tissue pass naturally if there is no sign of infection, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. This could take up to two weeks or more. You could also take medication that will cause bleeding and possible cramping, diarrhea and nausea, or have a surgical procedure. Procedures include a vacuum aspiration where your health care provider inserts an instrument or suction device into the uterus to remove the tissue, or a dilation and curettage (D&C)—dilation refers to opening the cervix; curettage refers to removing the contents of the uterus.

You will likely bleed for sometime afterward, usually for one to two weeks.

5. Women (and men) may be emotionally affected.

“No matter how often a person miscarries, the news is never an easy thing to accept. From the moment a woman sees a plus sign on a pregnancy test, they connect with the baby they have conceived and begin to dream for their baby’s future,” says Amanda Kern, a blogger and photographer who has written about her three miscarriages.

Many women depend on love and support from their partners and family members when going through the loss of a miscarriage. “My husband could not have been a better source of support, emotionally, mentally or physically,” says Angela, who was 30 at the time of her miscarriage. “And my son, who was around 18 months at the time, made it a little easier.”

Others turn to their faith or trust in a higher power. You might try connecting to whatever gives you a deep source of strength to find purpose in your experience.

Sometimes women need professional support. Don’t be afraid to reach out to a qualified therapist or doctor who can help you work through your experience. Organizations like Resolve offer support in the form of online or in-person groups, along with many different resources.

6. Most women who experience miscarriage can go on to have healthy pregnancies.

The sense of loss after miscarriage is real. Still, there is hope that future pregnancies will be healthy ones. The Mayo Clinic notes:

“Miscarriage is usually a one-time occurrence. Most women who miscarry go on to have healthy pregnancies after a miscarriage.”

7. You might have an easier time getting pregnant again soon after a miscarriage.

New research suggests that while women should give themselves time to heal emotionally and mentally after a miscarriage, they have a great shot at a healthy pregnancy if they try again soon. As a Health.com/CNN report notes:

“Women who conceive within six months of a miscarriage instead of waiting up to a year reduce their risk of another miscarriage by one-third, and they also increase their chances of a healthy and successful pregnancy.”

8. Its time to lift the stigma.

One Motherly reader says how she’s “grateful to have had that experience in order to help others through it.”

Barbara Collura, president and CEO of Resolve, agrees with the value in sharing your story, even if only with a small network of trusted friends.

“There is not enough awareness or information regarding miscarriage, how common it is and the emotional toll it places on women, couples and families,” she says. “As with many public health issues, we tend to see real awareness and understanding when people share their personal stories. While this is incredibly difficult to do, it helps normalize it and provides greater compassion and understanding.”

One reader tells Motherly that she dealt with her loss with by focusing on the positive. “[I felt] gratitude knowing that pregnancy was possible for me—it really lifted my spirits,” she says.

Dr. Zhang stresses that there is life after miscarriage. “Positivity is so important to success,” he says. “It is critical to look at what we do as a full body, holistic approach—mind, heart, brain, body.”

Miscarriage is common, but it’s always deeply personal. It’s a difference experience and situation from couple to couple, and as Dr. Zhang added, “it’s important to understand you aren’t alone in this.”

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When it comes to holiday gifts, we know what you really want, mama. A full night's sleep. Privacy in the bathroom. The opportunity to eat your dinner while it's still hot. Time to wash—and dry!—your hair. A complete wardrobe refresh.


While we can't help with everything on your list (we're still trying to figure out how to get some extra zzz's ourselves), here are 14 gift ideas that'll make you look, if not feel, like a whole new woman. Even when you're sleep deprived.

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Gap Cigarette Jeans

These high-waisted straight-leg jeans have secret smoothing panels to hide any lumps and bumps (because really, we've all got 'em).

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Tiny Tags Gold Skinny Bar Necklace

Whether engraved with a child's name or date of birth, this personalized necklace will become your go-to piece of everyday jewelry.

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Gap Brushed Pointelle Crew

This wear-with-anything soft pink sweater with delicate eyelet details can be dressed up for work or dressed down for weekend time with the family. Versatility for the win!

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Gap Flannel Pajama Set

For mamas who sleep warm, this PJ set offers the best of both worlds: cozy flannel and comfy shorts. Plus, it comes with a coordinating eye mask for a blissed-out slumber.

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Spafinder Gift Card

You can't give the gift of relaxation, per say, but you can give a gift certificate for a massage or spa service, and that's close enough!

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Gap Stripe Long Sleeve Crewneck

This featherweight long-sleeve tee is the perfect layering piece under hoodies, cardigans, and blazers.

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Gap Chenille Smartphone Gloves

Gone are the days of removing toasty gloves before accessing our touchscreen devices—thank goodness!

$9.95

Ember Temperature Control Smart Mug

Make multiple trips to the microwave a thing of the past with a app-controlled smart mug that'll keep your coffee or tea at the exact temperature you prefer for up to an hour.

$79.95

Gap Flannel Shirt

Our new favorite flannel boasts an easy-to-wear drapey fit and a flattering curved shirttail hem.

$59.95

Gap Sherpa-Lined Denim Jacket

Stay warm while looking cool in this iconic jean jacket, featuring teddy bear-soft fleece lining and a trendy oversized fit.

$98.00

Gap Crazy Stripe Scarf

Practical and stylish, this cozy scarf adds a pop of color—well, colors—to any winter ensemble.

$39.95

Nixplay Seed Frame

This digital picture frame is perfect for mamas who stay up late scrolling through their phone's photo album to glimpse their kiddos being adorable. By sending them to this smart frame to view throughout the day, you can get a few extra minutes of sleep at night!

$165.00

Gap Crewneck Sweater

Busy mamas will appreciate that this supersoft, super versatile Merino wool sweater is machine washable.

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This article was sponsored by GAP. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and Mamas.

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There's a lot of discussion about the importance of early education—but what about soft skills like respect and kindness? How can mamas teach children important values like cooperation, gratitude, empathy or politeness?

These values are basic, foundational beliefs that help us know right from wrong, that give balance and meaning to life and that enable us to form community bonds with one another. These soft skills are crucial for kids to learn at any age, and it's important for them to be reinforced, both in the classroom and at home, throughout their childhood.

Here are fundamental ways to build character in your young children:

Kindness

Performing random acts of kindness can have a positive influence on both the individual showing and receiving the kindness. As a family, think of ways that each one of you can show kindness to others. Some ideas may include baking cookies for the mail carrier, donating an unopened toy to a local charity, purchasing canned goods for a homeless shelter or leaving notes and drawings for the neighbors. Include your child in the process so they can see firsthand the joy that kindness can bring to others.

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Responsibility

Children have a strong desire to mimic adult family members. Encourage your child to help complete simple chores in and around the house. Children feel a great sense of accomplishment when they can do their share and feel that sense of responsibility. Two-year-olds will enjoy folding towels, putting books away, putting paper in the recycling box and tending to the garden. Older children may enjoy helping out in the kitchen or with yard work.

Patience

Patience is the ability to demonstrate self-control while waiting for an event to occur. It also refers to the ability to remain calm in the face of frustration. This is a skill which develops in children as they mature. While it is important to practice patience, adults should also be realistic in their expectations, evaluate daily routines and eliminate long periods of wait time from the schedule.

Politeness

Schedule a time when the whole family can sit down together for dinner. Model good manners and encourage older siblings and other members of the family to do the same. Use phrases such as, "Can you please pass the potatoes?" or "Thank you." Be sure to provide your child with guidance, by explaining what to do as opposed to what not to do.

Flexibility

Change your routines at home to encourage children to be flexible in their thinking and to try new things. Try being flexible in the small things: enjoy breakfast for dinner, eat ice cream with a fork, have your child read a bedtime story to you or have a picnic in the living room. Let your child know it is okay to do things in a different way.

Empathy

Children are beginning to understand different emotions and that others have feelings. Throughout their childhood, talk about their feelings and share one's own feeling with them as well. By taking the time to listen to how children are feeling, you will demonstrate to them that you care and reinforce with them that you fully understand how they are feeling.

Cooperation

Coordinate playdates or take your children to events where they can practice introducing themselves to other children, and potentially with adults. Find games and other activities that require turn-taking and sharing.

Gratitude

Encourage your child to spend five minutes every day listing the things they are grateful for. This could be done together just before bedtime or after dinner.

Respect

As parents, our goal is to teach children to recognize that even though people have different likes and dislikes or beliefs and ideas, they must treat each other with manners and positivity. Respect should be shown when sharing, cleaning up, and listening to others. Always teach and model the Golden Rule: treat others the way you would like to be treated. Also remind children that respect can be shown towards things in the classroom. Treating materials and toys correctly shows appreciation for the things we have.
Learn + Play

Medical researchers and providers consider a woman's postpartum period to be up to 12 months after the delivery of baby, but too often, health insurance doesn't see it the same way. Nearly half of the births in the United States are covered by Medicaid or the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and while the babies who are born during these births are eligible for Medicaid or CHIP for a year, their mothers often lose their coverage 60 days after delivering their child. There is clear data showing 70% of new moms will have at least one health complication within a year of giving birth.

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This week, members of Congress' Subcommittee on Health met to mark up H.R. 4996, the "Helping Medicaid Offer Maternity Services (MOMS) Act of 2019, and it was favorably forwarded to the full Committee.

What does this mean? It means that while this bill still has a ways to go before it potentially becomes law, its success would see states get the option to provide 12 months of continuous coverage postpartum coverage to mothers on Medicaid. This would save lives.

As we at Motherly have said many times, it takes a considerable amount of time and energy to heal from birth. A mother may not be healed 60 days out from delivering. She may still require medical care for perinatal mood disorders, breast issues like thrush and mastitis, diabetes, and the consequences of traumatic births, like severe vaginal tearing.

Cutting off Medicaid when her baby is only 2 months old makes mom and baby vulnerable, and the Helping Moms Act could protect families from dire consequences.

The United States has the highest rate of maternal deaths in the developed world, and according to the CDC, "about 700 women die each year in the United States as a result of pregnancy or delivery complications." This is not okay, and while H.R. 4996 is not yet signed into law this bill could help change this. It could help address the racial disparities that see so many Black mothers and Native American mothers dying from preventable causes in the first year of motherhood.

A report from nine American maternal mortality review committees found that there were three leading causes of death that occurred between 43 days and one year postpartum: cardiomyopathy (32.4%), mental health conditions (16.2%), and embolism (10.8%) and multiple state maternal mortality review committees have recommended extending Medicaid coverage to one year postpartum in order to prevent these deaths.

Basically, making sure that moms have have continuous access to health care the year after a birth means doctors can spot issues with things like depression, heart disease and high blood pressure at regular check-ups and treat these conditions before they become fatal.

The Helping Moms Act is a step forward in the fight for maternal health and it proves that maternal health is truly a bipartisan issue. Republicans and Democrats alike recognize the value in providing support for mothers during the postpartum period.

The Helping MOMS Act was was introduced by Democratic Congresswoman Robin Kelly of Illinois, chair of the Congressional Black Caucus Health Braintrust. It was co-lead by Texas Republican Michael Burgess (who is also a medical doctor), as well as Georgia Republican Buddy Carter, Washington Republicans Jaime Herrera Beutler and Cathy McMorris Rodgers and Ayanna Pressley from Massachusettes and Lauren Underwood of Illinois (both Democrats).

"Incentivizing postpartum Medicaid expansion is a critical first step in preventing maternal deaths by ensuring new moms can see their doctor. I'm proud that my colleagues, on both sides of the aisle, came together to put an end to the sad reality of American moms dying while growing their families," said Kelly. "We can't allow the perfect to be the enemy of the good. This is a good, bipartisan first step, but it must be the first of many."

It doesn't matter what your political stripes, reducing America's maternal mortality stats should be a priority.

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Whether you're having a low-key Friendsgiving with your closest friends or prepping to host your first big Thanksgiving dinner with both families, figuring out all of the menu details can be the most overwhelming step. How much should I cook? What ingredients do I need? How does one actually cook a turkey this big?

But, don't worry, mama—HelloFresh is lending a helping hand this year with their Thanksgiving box in collaboration with Jessica Alba. Because you already have enough on your plate (and we're not talking stuffing).


Here are the details. You can choose from two Thanksgiving boxes: Turkey ($152) or beef tenderloin ($132). The turkey box serves 8-10 people while the beef one will serve 4-6 and both are $6.99 to ship. We got to try both and they're equally delicious so you can't go wrong with either one, but the turkey does require a 4-day thaw period so keep that in mind. And if you're wondering what the sides are, here's a sneak peek:

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  • Garlic mashed potatoes
  • Green bean casserole with crispy onions
  • Ciabatta stuffing with chick sausage and cranberries
  • Cranberry sauce with orange, ginger and cinnamon
  • Apple ginger crisp with cinnamon pecan crumble

While someone still has to do the actual cooking, it's designed to take the stress out of Thanksgiving dinner so you can focus on spending time with your loved ones (or watching Hallmark Christmas movies). You don't have to worry about grocery shopping, portion sizes, recipe curation or forgetting that essential thing you needed to make the meal perfect. Everything is super simple to make from start to finish—it even comes with a cooking timeline.

Orders are open through November 21 and can be delivered anytime through November 24. Even better? You don't need a subscription to order.


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My mother's death propelled me to start the process of becoming a parent as a 43-year-old single woman. As my connection to her remained strong in spirit after her death, I was ready to experience the same bond with my own child. I began the journey with Intra Uterine Insemination (IUI), and after three failed attempts at getting pregnant, I decided to adopt.

The adoption process is a lengthy and humbling one—one that includes fingerprints, background checks, references, classes, doing a profile of yourself and your life that birth parents eventually use to choose adoptive families.

After my application was approved, a young couple chose me just a month later. I couldn't believe my fortune. But I had to get to work and prepare the house for my baby's arrival. I bought the best of everything—bassinets, clothes, diapers, car seats… the list goes on. I told close friends and family that it was finally happening.

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But all of this was in vain. The day I was supposed to pick my daughter up, I learned that the birth parents had changed their minds. They no longer wanted to give their daughter up for adoption. As time passed, it was difficult to endure no interest from potential parents but the faith in believing what is meant to be continued. To increase my potential, I enrolled with a second adoption agency.

A few months later, as I was getting ready to try IVF for the first time, I received a phone call to let me know that a woman had selected me to adopt her child. So I opted out of IVF and found myself in a hospital delivery room with the birth mother, assisting her in the delivery of MY child. It was a boy! I was so thrilled, and he was just adorable.

After six years of losses and disappointments, I was able to bring him home and awaited the final word that the mother and father have given the needed consent. I was getting ready to watch the Super Bowl with him dressed in football gear, I got a phone call.

Once again, the adoption agency informed me that the birth mother had changed her mind. That evening, I had to return the baby to his birth mom. I was heartbroken, and my hopes were shattered.

What now? Going back to IVF meant starting from scratch, and that would take a minimum of six months before being able to really start getting pregnant. I was 49 years old, and the clock was ticking. I really wanted to be a mom by the age of 50.

I was in Chicago, recovering from a collapsed lung, when I received yet another phone call from the adoption agency. An expecting mom had chosen me and had already signed over all of her rights. This little girl was mine. For real, this time. But I had to get to Southern New Jersey by Thursday to pick her up from the hospital.

After negotiating with my doctor to give me the green light to leave while recovering from my condition, I hopped on a train, and 22 hours later, I arrived to New York City in a massive snow storm. I took longer than expected to get to her, but after navigating the icy roads of New Jersey, I met my daughter!

She is now 2 years old, and she has changed my life in ways that just can't be fully described. What I can say is that I now understand my mother's love even more and her devotion to me and my siblings, and as I am sharing the same with my daughter, my bond to my mother keeps on growing.

Becoming a mom at 49 was never what I had envisioned. But whether you are trying to conceive or have decided to adopt a child, the road to becoming a parent is rarely easy. I know that inner strength and believing in what was meant to be kept me moving forward.

Life
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