The Freshman 15 Grows Up: The Miscarriage 20

So my friend and fellow blogger Real Mom Nutrition posted this week about her “Freshman 15.”  It was a good post, kind of a weight gain memory lane, and brought me back to the days when I worried about things like five extra pounds and wondering if I should switch to skim milk (I did and still drink two glasses a day). 

And then the thought “Miscarriage 20” popped into my head.  I’ve had four miscarriages now.  There won’t be another.  My uterus is closed for business.  I am done, which is a shame, as Mary Tyler Dad and I make exceptional kids.   Six pregnancies, two babies, and one child.  Not a great track record. 

With each miscarriage (all in their first trimester) I put on 15-20 pounds.  That makes sense, as with both of my babies I put on 38 pounds, 15-20 of which were in the first trimester.  With the earlier pregnancies, the weight came off quickly.  I would indulge in some Portillo’s and chocolate for a few weeks afterwards, licking my wounds along with my french fries, and then I would get it together.  The weight would fall off. 

After this spring’s miscarriage, the weight did not fall off.  It’s tenacious, this particular Miscarriage 20.  The Universe’s latest laugh.  “Ha,” it chuckles at me, the cruel Universe, reminding me of who is boss.  Not me.  I get it, Universe.  You win. 

I shared the post on my facebook page with the tag, “I am struggling with the ‘Miscarriage 20.’  Are you struggling too?  Can we struggle together?”  The responses were sobering:

  • Stillbirth 50
  • Miscarriage 45
  • Infertility 60
  • Four Pregnancies, One Baby 40
  • Three Pregnancies in Two Years, Two Babies, One Miscarriage 30
  • Putting Self Last 60
  • Single Mom 60
  • Bipolar 50
  • Annual Holiday 15
  • Dysfunctional Family/Grad School/Two Major Depression/Marriage 30
  • Self Esteem Issues from Teenagedom 25

That’s a lot of weight.  And a lot of sadness.  And a lot of french fries.

More than a few comments expressed gratitude about the honest discussion of miscarriage and what it does to us who have experienced it.  Honestly, I am not a good person to ask about this, despite my obvious familiarity with it.  For me, miscarriage does not equal the loss of my daughter.  Four year old Donna that I helped lower into the ground. 

After my third miscarriage, my OB called me at home one day and gently asked if we would try to conceive again.  She expressed concern about my “psyche.”  Now that is good practice — a doc to call you at home just to see how you are — but I didn’t need her to worry about my psyche.  I needed her to worry about my uterus, and leave my psyche to me.  I tried to explain to her that, for better or worse, my husband and I simply have a different continuum of sadness, pain, and loss.  YES, miscarriage is awful and sad, but we’ve known deeper sadness.  Our perspective is inalterably changed.  Sigh.  We gave it one more shot this spring after six months of uber-expensive out-of-pocket acupuncture.  No luck.  Another miscarriage.  Another ultrasound with bad news.  Another D and C.  Another Miscarriage 20.

I am tired of it.  I am tired of looking in the mirror and not liking what I see.  I am tired of the science of “strategic dressing.”  I am tired of the up, down, up, down, up, up, up on the scale. 

Seeing all the empathy shared on yesterday’s facebook thread was a good wake up call for me.  The Universe can have its laughs with us, but there is something mighty powerful about universal experience.  One of the commenters discussed her own recent weight loss, the work of it, but the joy of it, too.  “Self-forgiveness is golden.  Self-loathing must go,” she wrote.  Word. 

I am all about the Transcendentalists.  Have been since I first discovered them in college.  Walt Whitman and Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau are prophets to me.  I will work to remember Emerson’s Self-Reliance in the coming days.  Ain’t nothing gonna change until I do, so it looks like it is time to change. 

Wish me luck.

18 Replies to “The Freshman 15 Grows Up: The Miscarriage 20”

  1. For me it was the 45-25, or maybe that was the Sister-in-Law’s Leukemia 45. In which case the 25 pounds was the better outcome that the sister-in-law’s. At this age the pounds don’t really go away, and I’m not really trying to make them go. It’s okay.


  2. I really love you Donna, but I say Brava to Julie. I am personally grateful that after YEARS of self-loathing and beating myself up, I have finally learned to accept my body and love my body no matter what. I’ve been pregnant 4 times in my life and have 2 living children, one of whom is severely disabled (cerebral palsy, mentally challenged, doesn’t talk or walk or able to care for himself, etc) and I was up and down on the scale before and during and after all of it. Self-acceptance and self-love are two of the most important gifts I’ve given myself. I am not saying that using food as a bandage for our sorrows and disappointments in life is necessarily the best response; however I am more concerned with accepting myself as-is and giving myself a break.


  3. Oh wow. Foot in mouth. I’m so sorry and such an idiot. I know you’re not Donna. She must have been on my mind when I wrote the post above. This is my first post here but I read through her story and have been following you on FB since. My apologies.


    1. No worries, Allyson, at all. You would be surprised how many people call me Donna. Truth be told, I like it, sometimes even love it.

      When I hear the story that you share, your story, I just send you massive amounts of kraft och omtanke. It takes a special kind of person to do what you do.

      Thank you for reading and commenting. MTM.


  4. ((hugs)) Good luck on your journey, MTM. Strength and consideration to you. It’s amazing how much we comfort ourselves with food. Food is good, but not when it causes us to feel self-loathing when we look in the mirror or at the scale. I’m working on accepting and loving myself, and transcending my past.

    Also, my thoughts are with you as you and MTD begin the adoption journey.


  5. Mine is: Pregnancy just 2 months after kicking meth followed by my grandma (who pretty much raised me) suffering from dementia and passing away + 2.5 years TTC 100. I wish you strength and warmth on your journey through adoption.


    1. Shauna, all I know of meth is from watching Breaking Bad with Mary Tyler Dad, usually on the edge of our seats. Major kudos to you for kicking it. Nothing but respect for you. Thank you for your wishes. MTM.


  6. I feel guilty, as I’m dealing with 1 pregnancy and 2 living children (twins). I can’t have anymore because I almost died with the twins. I am merely dealing with the “stressed 10”, a real, but not suffering group. We are a very happy family, but dealing with two kids going through terrible twos and terrorist threes. We’ll see how four goes. That being said, I fell in love with your Donna. I miss her. I know that sounds weird, but I do. I miss the daily posts so much that I re-read the cancer stories even though they break my heart. You are an amazing woman. You make me hold my girls so much tighter. Thank you for that, and for sharing Donna.


    1. Pipster, I read your comment about missing Donna and it brought me much comfort. I posted something about it on the MTM facebook page and over 100 folks feel the same way you do, which brought even more comfort. So thank you for that. MTM.

      Oh, and nix the guilt. That alone weighs ten pounds!


  7. Mine was a loss of many pounds after my brother died of aids and subsequently, years later, the 7 years of fertility treatment 50 (or so). I have a gorgeous 7 year old son and could stand to lose 30-50 of those pounds …. but as long as I’m relatively healthy those pounds don’t matter. I have people who love me for who I am, not how I look.


  8. I am so continually floored and grateful for the community of amazing people that have found Mary Tyler Mom and keep me company on a regular basis. You all don’t know how much I enjoy you. For reals.

    Thank you for reading and commenting.


  9. I LOST my freshman 15 (courtesy of a really bad suicidal depression my first year of university – this also put me at 115lbs at 5’11”.) I just wasn’t HUNGRY and would forget to eat on a regular basis. Or I’d eat and food would sit on my stomach like a lump of lead making me queasy.

    Didn’t start comfort eating until I got pregnant with baby #4 (my only living child). During previous pregnancies, I ate, I gave into my cravings, gained some weight but kept losing my babies around 10 weeks. With my daughter, though, I had such intense food cravings and I was hungry ALL the fricking time. Gained about 90 lbs that pregnancy (most of which I lost through breastfeeding)

    Now I’m struggling to lose the 20-30 extra lbs that my antidepressants have caused me to gain.


  10. I am just going to throw this out there for anyone. I suffered numerous miscarriages, and was finally given a blood test to check for possible causes.

    We found that I had the MTHFR gene mutation. This condition means that my body does not efficiently, if at all, metabolize folic acid.

    I highly recommend to anyone who has incurred multiple miscarriages in the early stages of pregnancy discuss this simple blood test with your doctor.

    Also, I have been prescribed folic acid supplements for life (a high dose in hopes I can absorb just a fraction of what I ingest) because there is emerging evidence that this gene mutation might be linked to heart disease.


  11. Thank you for this, Sheila. I’m on my own journey lately of being healthier, and with that losing weight. The weight I have carried around with me (literally & figuratively) for my whole life now, has shaped me for sure. But I’m determined to RE-shape me in all ways. And I’m on my way, and wish you all the luck in the world with your RE-shaping too… and all that entails! ❤


  12. I also have had a copule miscarriages. One early on and my last one was about 5 months ago. I was 4 months along and my due date was actually the day of this post. 11/11/11. I deleiverd the baby in my home. I went through all of post partum symptoms and my milk even came in. It was crazy. I still haven’t lost all of the weight. I work out and eat healthy enough. it’s tough. TOUGH TOUGH TOUGH for many woman to have to either work really hard or forget about it. However, I was miserable having that extra 20 lbs on my body. I wasn’t small to begin with. Anyway, I started taking this pill called A.C.E. it’s an “appetite control and energy” pill. I still eat healthy, just probably half as much. I am just not hungry all the time. Actually pretty full, so it stops the munching. I don’t feel like I am starving myself or taking something that makes me jittery at all. I have NEVER taken anything for weight loss. So I was totally sketched out about it at first. However, gradually, in 2 months, I have already lost about 12 lbs. I feel great and can really tell the difference. I could have lost more in this time, I am sure, but I like my social life too much to be completely devoted to a “diet”. . Look into it if you wish. Good luck!


  13. I was just flipping through a few things and I stumbled across the Thanksgiving blog, BTW loved it. Then I saw this. As a mother of 3, I know the struggles of infertility issues and miscarriages. My husband and I didn’t have to ‘try’ to have our 18 yr old, he just kinda came about while I was on the pill, right after we got married and we were pretty young. When he turned 3 we discussed having another baby. We tried for 10 yrs to have another baby. One of the docs I saw said that I probably had more than the 3 documented miscarriages because 2 out of my 3 were within the first 9 weeks of pregnancy. I was like wow really doc? Don’t give me a bit of hope here. Then I got pregnant with twins I was like YAY! Oh crap what am I in for. 12 weeks miscarriage, with DNC. I got so much crap for that DNC, because it was a choice I had to make, save my life or take the risk of dying with one of the babies being partially in my tube and the other being molar. I told my husband NO MORE, NEVER AGAIN. 7 months later I got sick, went to the doc she said no meds till she ran a pregnancy test. She noticed I was 3 weeks late not me. I had just lost my grandma I wasn’t paying attention to details. She calls me 5 hrs later Hey you’re pregnant. Of course bedrest and all sorts of other stuff happened, It was a very complicated pregnancy. He was born 3 weeks early. I went to my follow up, all went great. Doc tells me that, that pregnancy was a fluke, a miracle wont happen again. 7 months later on my 14 yr anniversary I found out I was pregnant AGAIN. I was like crap do these OB/GYN docs know anything?!?!?! HAPPY ANNIVERSARY HONEY, you’re going to be deployed again when this baby is born too. 9 months later our daughter was born. Not all the time do the docs know everything and sometimes mother nature will take a course it sees fit. I went through so much depression, even thought about killing myself at one point during the infertility issues. I wanted to be able to give my husband the big family he wanted, the daughter he wanted. Seeing a woman in the middle of Target, smack her 2 yr old when she was pregnant and had 4 other kids just made it worse one day for me. I gave up trying, and bam it just kinda happened. Docs told me conception was impossible, that if I were to conceive I’d NEVER carry to term due to a major hormonal imbalance I have. And of course with depression comes emotional eating and weight gain. …Best of luck to you in your journeys.


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