My mam had a miscarriage a short time before she became pregnant with me and I found out when I was in my early teens. When she explained the timeline to me, I realised that had the baby gone to fullterm, I would not be here today. I think she told me at a perfect age as I was old enough to appreciate what had happened and that it was extremely sad for her but I was young enough to see the other side and realise that I was lucky to be around.
I remember around All Souls Day when you put an envelope in a box at the church with a list of the names of those who had died and who you wished to pray for, mam would always put a little X for that baby along side her own parents name and it used to comfort her that he/she was up there with them.
I think it probably depends on the manner in which it's told and talked about.
I don't remember ever not knowing about the four babies that my mother lost. However we were never told in a grieving manner, it was all quite matter of fact so any sense of loss that my parents felt wasn't transfered onto us. It was more a case of things like "imagine if there were 7 of you like there should have been!" even though I know it wouldn't have worked out like that.
The details of the loss were spared when we were young but when we asked questions later on we were told. One of them I did used to think about as a child simply because she was the only one born after me so had she lived I wouldn't have been the youngest. In later years I have thought about her more because the circumstances of her birth were almost identical to my own except I survived and she didn't However, again my mother handled that well, I was little over a year old when the last baby was born so My mother often told me how when she came home she still had a baby (ie me) so that I made her feel better. The focus was always on how lucky she was to have her surviving children as opposed to openly grieving for those that didn't make it... which I think made it easier for us to digest.
From a medical perspective I do now feel that my children will need to know at some stage. I am thrilled with the children that I have and nothing will change that. I do not want it to be a shock for them but at the same time I do not want to upset them. At least 2 of my aunts had miscarriages that I know of but one only came forward when I had experienced mine. Again, I will do whatever I can for my children.
All I can do is relate my own experience - I was adopted at birth, because my Mum couldn't have children of her own - she had 8 miscarriages before adopting me (and one after), and I've known that since forever (ie, they must have told me when I was tiny). It's never bothered me other than a realisation when I got older of how much my Mum had gone through, and how loved and wanted I was as a result. I don't know if I'd feel any differently if the lost babies had been my blood relatives - I just know how I feel - and that's all about my Mum's experience. I can't really see a reason for not telling your kids - the earlier they know the more it becomes a part of them and their life story, and not something to be traumatised about. Just how I see it.
Going unreg for this one...
I'm the eldest child in a family of 2, but my mum had a miscarriage before I came along. I think she had gone about 7 months before the baby died, so it must have been so distressing mum and dad.
I remember being told from a young age about my 'sister in heaven' who had died before I was born. I think I must have been 3 or 4. Obviously I wasn't able to grasp the full grevity and seriousness and sadness of the situation, but I was able to understand the fact that I had an older sister who had died.
They didn't talk about it much (or maybe that was just when I was around), and even though they still don't mention her much, I think it may have been due to the time that it happened. In the late 70s/early 80s people didn't discuss it much, and couples weren't given time with the baby or advised to have their own burial for the baby. Thankfully things are different now, and people can discuss miscarriages without a stigma or awkwardness, which probably makes it that little bit easier for people to deal with and a topic which they can appraoch more openly with their children (and I say that without meaning to belittle the sadness and sense of loss of a miscarriage).
Obvouisly you know your children best, but I would have no problem beginning to mention your miscarriages to my children from about 3 or 4 (when they're old enough to understand death). For me, I think my mum's way of introducing me to the situation was ideal, because she didn't go into any details. She just told me about my older sister who had gone to heaven because God wanted her up there rather than down here. So it was something I just accepted and grew up with. It didn't freak me out or upset me. It's only in my adult life, from abot 25 onwards, that I really started to think about it more and more, and actually want to visit the grave. Even though it only began to really sink in then, I'm still glad my mum told me about my sister, and it was nice to know I had a sister, even if she wasn't around.
I would hate to have been told when I was older, especially in my late teens or early 20s. Life around that age can be difficult enough to handle without learning about siblings who hadn't survived.
Children are very resiliant and it's often only when they're young that they would ask you questions about what happened. I know now (I'm 32) that I wouldn't ask mum and dad any questions about what happened as I don't want to upset them as they've gone through enough and I don't want to open a healing wound again.
Obviously you and your husband know your children best, and will know the best time/way to approach the topic, but I feel the way my mum handled it with me was great, and I definitely would tell your children about their siblings who are no longer with you.
I'm so sorry for your loss, Cathy, and congratulations on the birth of your two healthy children. I know whatever you decide to do will be the best for them! Take care.
My sister had a twin that was miscarried (unsure of the appropriate terminology - apologies) and we always knew about it growing up. It wasn't talked about terribly regularly but I have to say hand on heart that if I had the choice I would not have wanted to know as a child. Now that I'm an adult I can process it properly but it was difficult for us to deal with as children. It's not just 'there was another baby' it's 'it was my sister' (it was never presented to us in that way but that's how we dealt with it) and it was at times traumatic in that we'd think to ourselves what they were missing and how it wasn't fair (much like children react when they encounter their first death of a relative/friend) and not just that but it was even more unfair because it was a baby and it was our sister etc.
Children are resilient but having the choice and knowing about the upset it may bring to them because they can't process the information and loss in the same way as adults can (and even as adults it's an immensely difficult thing to handle) I wouldn't be inclined to tell children when they are young.
I am so glad things worked out for you though Cathy I have to say
I'm not sure what "can't process the information and loss in the same way as adults " means.
As part of a family, my view is that it's wrong not to be open and honest with each other. Death is part of life, whether or not it's granny or a sibling or a stillbirth. What is more important is to face issues together as a family, and not take on responsibility for the reaction of others.
It's infinitely better to be open and honest, and discuss these issues as a normal part of life, rather than being secretive and keeping things from other family members.
How these things are discussed is important, and we should all remember that death is a normal part of life, and should be treated as such.
It means that as children their reaction is naturally different to an adult's - I'm not sure which part of that is difficult to comprehend. Recognising that and tailoring your parenting accordingly doesn't make you closed or dishonest.
My post was based on my own experience having been in that situation, as were the posts of others who suggested it was better to tell the children. The decision is the OP's to make with her family and I'm sure when the time comes it will be done carefully and with nothing but the best interests of their children at heart.
I don't think any of us are under any illusions about the nature of death given the topic under discussion.
I'm not sure there is one adult reaction and one children's reaction. From my experience adults react differently from each other in how they cope and deal with death. So it is with children too.
I am aware that the decision is the OP's to make, and would hate to live in a world where the OP was forced to take a decision which he or she didn't want to take. I assume we all believe that.
My point was simple, and it's just that I can't understand what the benefit is to be secretive about the information. ironically, the very secrecy can become the issue in later life, and to me there is no benefit from withholding the information.
From re-reading my posts I didn't suggest that all adults handle loss a certain way and that all children do it in another way. However children do handle it differently to adults, because they're children. It's not necessarily any better or any worse.
As for your views on the 'secrecy' of not telling a child about a miscarriage, well they're your own.
Of course, I am not here giving someone elses's views! I sort of assumed your views are also your own views and not someone elses's!
I dunno, i know my mum told me about hers and tbh, it freaked me out a little.. Not sure why but it did.
i think if you miscarried while trying for a baby at an early stage - 6 weeks, 8 weeks there is a difference if you miscarry at 14 weeks or 20 weeks.
My partner and I lost our son as she went pre term at 26 weeks and after a week he didnt make it.
She had miscarried before at 6 weeks a year or two before
we will tell our future children when they are older, or old enough to process and understand what happened about their big bro who watches over them
i can't see the miscarriage at 6 weeks coming into anything other than a completely adult conversation with our kids as it is a different level of grief and pregnancy and i would feel would require a certain amount of emotional adult intelligence to process - teenagers at the youngest, i don't think our hurt at that early loss should be something for them to try process until they are old enough to understand everything in an adult fashion
does that make any sense ?
It, of course, makes perfect sense.
In our family, my brother died when he was just over a year old, and he was the first child. My parents had, and still have, a picture of him as a baby in their sitting room, and we all knew about him as it was never a secret. My Mum also had at least one miscarriage, and again that was never a secret, as such. We were lucky as from an early age we were told that babies were born "because daddy plants a seed in mummys tummy".
Children can understand most things perfectly well, so long as they are put in a way they can understand. My preference is to tell children and not keep secrets, but also to be careful how to tell them, and to tell them is a way which they understand. Others may prefer to keep things from children, but as a child I was grateful to be important enough to be told about my family history, which not only included Granny & Grandpa, but also about my brother Stephen.
My mother lost a child when I was 7. She was 7months.
My sister came along a year later. She was told about her other sister from the beginning and I thought this wasn't right even at a young age.
She was curious and wanted to know more about her. But there wasn't anything to know. Which made my sister very confused.
My mother was just holding on and trying to portray her love of her unborn child onto my sister which never happened.