Miscarriage – Why Don’t We Talk About It?

The statistics are sad: 1 out of every 4 women will have a miscarriage. Maybe it was you. Maybe it was someone, or several people, that you know.

No one talks about it.

We all suffer alone.

Of course, I didn’t tell anyone I was pregnant except my boyfriend, my mum and a couple of close friends. I planned to wait out the 12 weeks and then share the news. Miscarriages often happen in the first trimester so no one knows you are pregnant therefore no one knows you miscarried. You suffer the physical and mental anguish alone. I did.

Now a couple of months on from the miscarriage, I have got around to telling friends. There is just never a good time to say the words: “I had a miscarriage”. When do you bring it up? At a dinner party? A birthday? A weekend trip away?

One of my girlfriends I told at my birthday because we never have alone time. I figured it was my part so if it was a downer then it was only on me. We were standing on the verandah watching her son play outside. I had a few too many drinks. She asked me where I got my necklace – the one with the angel wing and birthstone from the month my baby was due. I told her.

She was pregnant at the time and couldn’t bring herself to share that news as I told her about my miscarriage. A week later she text me from hospital as she was losing her baby. She asked for details. I relived my miscarriage for her. When we met for coffee a few days later, she was grey and miserable. We cried together and laughed and hugged each other and cried some more. If I hadn’t told her, she wouldn’t have reached out to me; she would have suffered in silence.

I finally told 2 colleagues at work. They were shocked and saddened. I told them that when it happened, I could barely function. I didn’t have the strength to talk about it 2 months ago without having a breakdown. In hindsight, a few strategic people at work knowing might have saved me a lot of angst. I was emotional and distressed and anxious. I was dealing with pregnancy hormones, lactating and feeling physically weak after the miscarriage. I kept my mouth shut and suffered alone at work. I closed my office door and sobbed in between ballet classes. I was dizzy from blood loss, in pain from contractions and on edge the whole time. I struggled to balance work stress without losing my mind. I couldn’t find a way to balance work and my mum’s visit at the same time. Had I told someone, there might have been some support or understanding. I wish now that I had done that.

I wish more women talked about it. When I finally decided to talk about it instead of treating it like a shameful secret, I heard the same refrain over and over: “me too” or “my sister had one” or “my friend just miscarried”. Then I found there was no judgement  – only tears and strength found in solidarity.

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6 thoughts on “Miscarriage – Why Don’t We Talk About It?

  1. amagove says:

    Honest post. Sad how we keep things to ourselves.

  2. It’s more common and you’re right…it carries so much stigma.

    What’s even crazier, is that more women are pregnant and miscarry before they realize they are pregnant. I was like whoa

  3. stephrader says:

    Our secret sisterhood. Sending love your way this remembrance month and every day.

  4. rainingviolets says:

    I grew up in a dysfunctional, abusive home. It was also horrifically competitive. Life was a daily contest (with my parents as the judges) as to which of their five daughters was the thinnest, the most beautiful, the most intelligent, and eventually who married the most handsome, highest-earning, most-successful husband and had the highest achieving and most attractive children. It was a contest that no matter how hard I tried, I just could never win. By the age of 18, I was an anorexic who was convinced I was and always would be fat, dumb, and ugly. I have struggled with anorexia for over 36 years. It’s a battle I have always referred to as Dancing With the Dragon. The Dragon entered my life as an almost fairy-like entity with tempting promises of how easy and wonderful life could be if I dropped a few pounds. She quickly morphed into a fire-breathing Dragon whose promises chained me to a never-ending dance of torment.

    My dance has included the loss of two precious children. The length of a child’s life does not determine the size of the loss. There was absolutely no validation for the pain and emptiness I was feeling. Since my babies never took their first breath, people acted as if there shouldn’t be any grief. I didn’t deserve any. There was no emotional support from anyone. It’s difficult to openly grieve as a mother when the rest of the world is ignoring you. Don’t let people make you feel that you should be through grieving and get on with your life. Losing a child is traumatic and indescribably painful. Let yourself mourn as long as you feel you must.
    This statement has always been helpful to me during times of great grief because of the visual image it creates in my mind:
    “Grief is sometimes compared to climbing a spiral staircase where things can look and feel like you are just going in circles, yet you are actually making progress.”
    Like so many painful journeys in our lives, this journey begins one step at a time.

    A miscarried child should not be denied an identity just because the death occurred a few months earlier than a baby that is stillborn or that passed shortly after birth. If you feel you know in your heart whether the child was a girl or a boy, let that direct your name choice. If you’re not sure, pick something that would work for either. It will be good for you to think of your baby as a child with a name rather than a nameless fetus. It is also helpful to plant a tree or a rosebush or something along those lines in honor of the baby. It is something you can care for and watch blossom and grow. In time it will become a beautiful reminder of your baby, instead of a sad one. I also like having a special Christmas ornament to put on the tree each year for each of the babies I lost. It brings those children back into the present and makes them still a part of our busy family.

    Body image will always be a problem for me as I continue to dance in this inescapable dungeon of pain. I’ve learned that, at least for me, there is no recovery. There is remission, but not recovery. For those of us who are mothers, we can be the link in the chain that stops this craziness. Once I became a mother I realized I had the power to lead my daughters, as well as my son, down a totally different path. They grew up with the television turned off. They were never exposed to the Hollywood image of “perfect.” As teenagers there were never magazines in our home with photos with unrealistic body images. My children grew up loving to run and participate in sports, but these were all things they did for fun and to socialize, even when they were involved competitively. They were given healthy food choices, but were also allowed treats. They never heard threats or warnings about what they might grow up to look like. I dressed them like children, not like mini-sex symbols. They grew up to respect their bodies. They heard encouragement instead of criticism. I was constantly guarding my words choices so that I didn’t sound judgmental or negative, not only toward them, but toward people in general. They were taught that value and beauty were not found in the number on a scale or the reflection in a mirror. I was extremely careful not to let them inside my eating disordered world. They have all grown up to be extremely successful, healthy adults who have no issues with food, the scale or the mirror. While I usually rejoice that they are free of the ugliness I live with, at times I’m also jealous of it.

    That horrendous pain you’re feeling from the loss of your child will eventually mellow into an ache…an ache that isn’t sharp enough to keep you from breathing or from living…but an ache that is still strong enough that it will always leave you feeling a bit empty and more than a bit sad. I don’t ever want to lose that ache, though, because it’s a reminder to me of the two precious gems that were once mine. I believe there is a heaven where I will one day be reunited with them. You often talk of being a Christian. Think of eternity with your little one…it always brings me hope and a smile.

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