Shelby was relieved. At first. After all, she had not wanted to be pregnant.
When her period was late, she was worried.
When she took a test, she was scared. When the test was positive, she was terrified. Her mom would be devastated. And her dad!
She had overheard him tell her mom once that he would never be able to bear the shame if one of his little girls got pregnant. Even her younger sister who looked up to her would be disappointed. How could she finish high school with a baby? What about her boyfriend, Eric? Should she just get an abortion? She could go on with her life then with no one the wiser.
Suddenly none of that mattered when, in the middle of the night, bad cramping woke her. She was bleeding! She was stunned at first, and then she realized she must be miscarrying. Should she call her mom? No, she couldn’t! If it didn’t get too bad, she would just tough it out. Alone.
Yes, she was relieved. At first. Then she felt sad. Yeah, she hadn’t wanted a baby, but now she felt sad that it had died. She even felt a little guilty. Had she “wished it away” somehow? Was she being punished for getting pregnant? Or for not wanting it? She didn’t go to the doctor. Was she going to be okay physically? She didn’t know, and she had no one to ask. More than anything else, she felt alone.
She told Eric and he was happy. “That was a close one”, he had said! He didn’t care about the pain and the fear she had gone through. He was just glad it was over. They had a huge fight and would probably never speak to each other again. She felt even more sure that she was alone.
Yesterday, her homeroom teacher, Ms. Bronson, had pulled Shelby aside and asked if she needed to talk about anything, saying she was concerned for her. She had come close to telling her, but as much as she liked Ms. Bronson, it was too risky. It was nice that her teacher cared, but somehow being asked and not being able to tell had made Shelby feel more alone than ever.
Everything just kept circling through her mind over and over, but she never seemed to work it out. She didn’t think she would ever again feel anything but miserable. Miserable and alone. She didn’t know what to do.
Shelby felt scared, worried, sad, guilty. She felt angry and abandoned by Eric. She felt alone even when her teacher showed her concern.
But Shelby didn’t have to feel alone.
Let’s explore some of the things someone in Shelby’s circumstances can do.
- First, while it is possible to miscarry “on your own”, you must seek medical care if the bleeding is more severe than a period, you have fever, strong pain, or abnormal discharge (especially if it’s smelly) as these can be signs of infection or that tissue has not been expelled.
- Consider confiding in your parent(s). Yes, they will be disappointed. They may even be angry at first. Be brave. Be patient and give them a chance to get used to the idea of what has happened. Once they have had the chance to process their feelings, they will most likely come around to their concern for you. Be prepared for them to curtail your freedom somewhat but remember that it will be their way of trying to protect you from future pain.
- If your circumstances make talking to a parent impossible, go to your school counselor or a trusted teacher or minister.
- Call your local pregnancy center. They will listen with compassion, and if needed, can refer you to a professional therapist.
- Don’t do this alone. Someone who cares is waiting to help!