October was pregnancy and infant loss awareness month. I’m not sure who coined that, but as someone who has gone through miscarriages, I’m glad that there is a community out there wanting to shed light on the topic. Our society has a tendency to ignore scenarios that make them uncomfortable. And what makes people more uncomfortable than hearing about someone losing a pregnancy or infant?
We like to think about parenthood as the birth of a bouncing baby boy or girl, cute family photos, and the occasional unpleasant diaper change. Fun stuff like that. Bleeding, cramps, and trips to the ER are not part of the formula. But for many women, it is the reality.
According to the American Pregnancy Association, 10-25% of clinically recognized pregnancies end in miscarriage. Some women endure the pain and sadness that they experience from their loss in silence. Some women are very open about their experience. I try to be open in sharing my story, in the hope that it will help someone who has gone or will go through a miscarriage. I want them to know I am here to listen and that SO MANY WOMEN out there are also there to listen.
I offer my personal support to fellow miscarriage/loss sufferers; but I also offer this post for the women who have not gone through it.
I had a lot of friends who helped me get through mine. They left flowers at my door, sent sweet cards letting me know they were thinking about our family, AND brought wine over (wine always helps). There were also many comments that I know were meant to show sympathy, but that actually hurt quite a bit.
Things like: “everything happens for a reason,” “there was probably something wrong with it,” or “you can always try again.” The worst was always, “God has a plan.” At that moment, I did not want to hear that God or the Universe was the reason that I was no longer pregnant. There is always a desire to contextualize our losses, but that was not what I needed for that loss, at that time.
Shortly after my second miscarriage, someone shared an article on Facebook that I found very helpful. It explains how to verbalize your sympathy, specifically related to miscarriages. It includes illustrations and humor (two things I love), and really does allow for an open conversation on the taboo topic.
I meant this post to be for those who have not gone through a miscarriage, but I want to end by offering words of hope to anyone currently experiencing any feeling of despair, guilt, anger, or depression. The human body and human spirit are amazing. You can keep trying, consider fertility treatments, adopt…or do whatever works for YOU and your family. And even if you don’t physically have a baby to hold, you are a wonderful mom.
I’ve included a not-so-flattering photo of myself right after a miscarriage and another not-so-flattering-but-happy photo the day Mick was born. It’s crazy how one day, one year apart can be so different. It has been 100% worth the wait.