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Surviving the Un-Birthday and other Anniversary Dates of Miscarriage

By HERWriter
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Emotional Health related image Photo: Getty Images

One of the highlights of the movie Alice in Wonderland is Alice’s un-birthday party with the Mad Hatter. For many couples, however, an un-birthday is a time of grief and agony, instead of joy and happiness.

For parents of miscarried or stillborn babies, these pivotal dates can be a constant reminder of their loss. For some, the anniversary will be the date that they were told “There is no heartbeat” or the actual physical miscarriage or procedure to flush the baby out. For those who have gotten that far, the expected due date of the baby—what would have been that baby’s birthday—is a very poignant time. For others, it is the actual delivery date for those who have suffered the heartbreak of a stillborn birth.

My Story

I honestly don’t remember the date of the ultrasound in which the radiologist discovered my baby had no heartbeat. I don’t remember the date of the D&C. But I do remember the anticipated due date: March 16, 2008. Ironically, that was my boss’s birthday. I don’t really know if that’s why the date has stuck in my mind. Perhaps it’s because it’s the day before St. Patrick’s Day. I don’t have to struggle to remember the date in the midst of other things because St. Patty’s Day is right there next to it.

I can’t say that I get overly depressed or despondent or grumpy. It’s just every time that date rolls around, I think about that baby that was supposed to have been born on or around that date. It marks an anniversary of the day I was supposed to have brought that baby into the world; the day I was supposed to have held that baby and given him or her a name that was chosen especially for him or her.

Birthdays are usually marked by balloons and parties and cake and presents. There are no such things on this day. I don’t really do anything what I would call special on that day, either. Just a little time to remember that baby that I never held.

I also remember the gestational age at which my baby was determined to have died: 11 weeks 2 days.

Empty Arms Discussion

If you wish to share your miscarriage anniversary/birthday story, please join us in the Empty Arms community group. Let us know, too, how you observe or survive these anniversaries and birthdays. Everyone has their own way of working through it. Perhaps you can help someone else by sharing yours.

General comments are welcome in the comment section below this article, but our group is the best place for support and understanding from other moms who know what you’re going through.

You may be interested to know that October 15 is actually designated as National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day. So if you don’t have any specific dates that mark your baby’s life and death, and even if you do, mark this date on your calendar.

Sources: www.americanpregnancy.org; www.opendoors.com.au; Dr. Joanne Cacciatore, MISS Foundation (http://dying.lovetoknow.com)

Add a Comment3 Comments

EmpowHER Guest

I have gone threw 3 miscarrriages. the first one was planned, Tomorrow would have been babies first birthday. I cry all over February, leading up to the 26th. I was 8 weeks at first ultra sound, where my son and I seen the heartbeat on the ultra sound screen. he was almost 7. man was he ever happy. i started spotting at 12 weeks, the day after I posted my belly photo on social media and told the world because I had made it 12 weeks. That day I began spotting, i went to emerge, to see on the screen, this time there was no heartbeat. baby had stopped growing at 8 weeks and at 12 weeks it had no heartbeat. I've gone through 2 miscarriages since, so I constantly blame myself. I blame my body for letting me down constantly. I've been referred to a fertility clinic to find out why I can't seem to keep a pregnancy. Heres to hoping.

February 24, 2019 - 8:04pm
EmpowHER Guest

I was due in late February; I don't remember the exact day. Although I did think about it occasionally that month, it passed by without as much emotional turmoil as I expected. But now June 24th approaches and I am facing the first anniversary of the day I rushed to the emergency room already knowing in my heart that my pregnancy was over. And I am struggling. I think it is made worse because I am pregnant again and due July 3rd. It is entirely possible that this baby could be born on the same date that my last baby left me. I really don't know if I could handle that. It is such a roller coaster between anticipating the birth of my daughter, preparing my two-year-old to be a big sister, and remembering what was one of the worst days of my life. I know I will make it through, but it's still harder than I imagined. How does one mourn and celebrate at the same time?

May 24, 2012 - 10:47pm
HERWriter (reply to Anonymous)

Thank you for sharing your story.

I don't know that there is a definitive answer to that. Not sure you were actually looking for one.

Perhaps having birth dates that close together will help turn that time of hurt into a time of joy, instead. Nothing like a little bit of joy to help a painful time seem a little less painful.

May 25, 2012 - 6:36am
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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