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.