Pregnancy loss in your 40s
Gail reflects on the difficulties facing older women who miscarry, when others don’t understand.
I’m a health care professional so I know the risks. I know about chromosomal abnormalities. I know my chances are fading and my risk of further miscarriage is high. That doesn’t mean doctors can look at me without compassion and pretty much ask me, “Well what do you expect? You are over 40”.
I recently came across the Miscarriage Association Facebook page and found comfort in reading some of the posts of women who have sadly experienced miscarriage. But there was something that didn’t quite match my own circumstance. I reflected for a while and worked out what it was. Not only had I experienced two miscarriages over the last 14 months, I am also 44 years old. I have no children, I divorced my first husband (who didn’t want kids) aged 40 and I’m trying to conceive (before the clock stops ticking) with my amazing soul mate who I married last year.
I’m a health care professional so I know the risks. I know about chromosomal abnormalities. I know my chances are fading and my risk of further miscarriage is high. That doesn’t mean doctors can look at me without compassion and pretty much ask me, “Well what do you expect? You are over 40”. My last miscarriage, though early, was made doubly traumatic by the attitudes I came across. A close friend of mine of the same age is in a similar situation. She has experienced the same attitudes.
Not everyone follows the perfect path in life or finds the perfect partner first time around. I can rationalize the risks and statistics, but it still hurts to the core when it happens. An overwhelming sense of failure as a woman.
Friends keep asking when I am going to see a specialist, but to be honest, I’m frightened. I’ve put the shutters up to protect my emotions and I don’t want to put myself in front of a doctor who will treat me the same way. I can’t expose myself willingly. Crazy, considering my strength in other areas of my life.
To cut a long tale short, how do we address the stigma and attitudes towards older women experiencing miscarriage? Believe me, it’s there. All women who experience pregnancy loss should be treated with compassion, but absence of judgement would go a long way for women over 40.