Monday, August 19, 2013

Why Everyone Should Talk About Miscarriage

Once, I had a miscarriage.

And I will not stop talking about it. Ever.

Not in a creepy in-your-face way, of course, but when the subject of pregnancy loss comes up.

I will not stop talking about it because things will never stop reminding me of it.

The tired looking new mama pushing the double stroller. Randomly encountering the old ultrasound images of Baby A and Baby B in a desk drawer. Yet another friend revealing yet another twin pregnancy. Or worse, yet another friend having to tell the world that the happy announcement she made just a few weeks or months prior is now forfeit. 

I won't stop admitting that in a perfect world, I'd have them all...

talking about miscarriage - miscarriage support

The babies who died before they were ever mine, and Bo too, who wouldn't have been born if they'd made it.

I won't stop admitting I sometimes feel jealous - angrily jealous - of the people I really do care about who just get pregnant and stay pregnant, again and again, as if there actually isn't a near infinite number of things that can go wrong when egg meets sperm.

People like me should talk about miscarriage so that people like me don't find out just how common it is only after they go through it. I don't shy away from bringing it up in polite conversation so that anyone who has been through it but has never felt like they could talk to anyone will know that they can talk to me.

Years later, I will bring it up so those same people will know it's still okay to talk years later.

I'm not saying that anyone who isn't ready should be pressured into sharing their post-miscarriage feelings. Not everyone needs to write about pregnancy loss on their blogs. It's okay to want nothing less than to discuss your miscarriage in public or even in private. Talking isn't every woman's balm. And for some women, it's just not that big of a deal.

What I am saying is that if you feel like a mother of two or three or four when the world looks at you and sees a mother of two or one or even none, it's okay to correct people.

In 1988, President Ronald Reagan officially deemed October National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month and October 15 is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day, and it's okay to tell people that you're observing it and why. If the subject comes up, it's okay to say "I lost a pregnancy and it still hurts" and it's equally okay to say "I lost a pregnancy and it didn't bother me that much." And if the subject doesn't come up, if a different subject comes up, it's fine for you to put it on the table because pain is best shared and your pain is both like and unlike her pain and his pain - so you share what you can.

So share.

9 comments:

  1. I can't relate, but I can definitely understand how this would feel. I don't think you should ever stop talking about it, I think it's important for other women's awareness and understanding of it. I also think it's important for women who have shared the experience.
    Every experience we have makes us who we are and gives us a voice.

    Kate @ http://fattofitgeek.com/

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    1. Yes! When we don't share our experiences, it's so easy to feel like you're the only person on Earth going through the same thing.

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  2. Continuing sympathies and empathies, of course. (Never really sure what else to say, other than I'll let you hit me in the face if you ever think you need to. I'll even bring the cricket bat.)

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  3. Just having a safe space to talk about pregnancy loss (even if you don't choose it) is so important. That should never be underestimated.

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  4. Continued sympathies. I *do* know what you are talking about, and am glad that people like you are more willing to talk about miscarriage. For me, it was a brutal life experience. When I had my 2 miscarriages, I was shocked at how people acted like it was a dirty little secret that should be shoved under the carpet ... that this was not something to discuss in polite conversation. These were my babies! I had hopes and dreams for them! We had named them. It is the strangest grieving process that I have ever had to endure, because it seemed like nobody else really cared. (The babies were just fetuses, after all. One of them, I held her in my hands -- she looked like a little bird. I had to put it in a bag in the refrigerator so they could do chromosome testing on her -- which was the problem in both cases.) I was supposed to "just get over it," as if I had the flu. People really did not know what to say 12 years ago, so they said nothing when I was grieving. Between my career and not settling down until my late 30s, I also had no idea #1) how difficult it would be to conceive (after all those years of trying *not* to get pregnant!; and #2) how high the risks are for both baby and mother.
    The risk of having a miscarriage increases significantly with age. For women under 35, the risk is around 15%; over 35, the risk goes up to 25%; and at 40 years old (which was where I was when I was trying to get pregnant), the risk goes up to 50%. This is not to say it's impossible (We thankfully were blessed with a healthy baby when I was 42.) However, I also had significant problems with the pregnancy, including gestational diabetes and preeclampsia ... and with the delivery. I thoroughly enjoy my child (now 11) who is the apple of my eye ... but I also continue to feel the loss of my first two babies.

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  5. I'm sorry. I had a miscarriage last summer. It was tough.

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