Why are we so scared of the word miscarriage? Why do we hide the fact that we are pregnant until that coveted safe space of 12 weeks in? I know I was excited every time I peed on that stick and saw two lines—telling only a few close friends and family, and making them swear to secrecy. In reality, though, I wanted to shout it to the world.
I have had five miscarriages, and, truth be told, many of my friends had no idea until they read my first blog. A loss of a child is hard. Even if that baby is only a ten-week-old fetus. Women need support when dealing with the loss, yet they hide their loss like it is something to be ashamed of. As if they did something wrong—as if they made a terrible mistake, guarding any evidence of it with their lives.
Let me just say: You did nothing wrong. This is not your fault. You are allowed to be sad.
I remember one time I woke up in the morning to go to work and had some cramps. I went to the bathroom and there was so much blood—it was all the evidence I needed to know exactly what was happening. This was my third miscarriage.
Instead of running to the hospital or calling my doctor, though, I went to work. I already knew what the doctor would say. They’d tell me I lost another child. They’d tell me to take a few days off of work and come back in a week to see if it all passed. After all except for one miscarriage I had to have a DNC. This is a small procedure to make sure all of the fetus is gone and to prevent any trace of an infection. A few days later, you are back to work.
No one talks about it. Most don’t even know.
When I would tell some women about my loss, I would hear their story. So many women have had miscarriages, but when it happens to you, you feel all alone—like this horrible burden is yours to carry…by yourself…with no support. Women hide their pregnancy so, if they have a miscarriage, they can hide their pain. Why are we so afraid to share our story? Why are we so hesitant to share that pain?
My mother had three miscarriages. So, after my second one my doctor did some tests on me and on my fetus after the DNC. They found out I had a blood clotting disorder called MTHFR. We also found out that every child I lost was a little boy.
With so many women having miscarriages, what can we do to help women not have to deal with so much pain and loss? Why is it, when you find out you are having a miscarriage, the doctors simply say they’re sorry but tend to offer no advice about why this happened? Then—the worst part—they tell you about how many women have miscarriages. As if this should comfort you. As if you should feel less alone now that you’re part of some international statistic. You don’t care about the numbers—they should make you feel less alone, but they don’t. You care about answers. You want what no doctor can give—a definitive answer as to why this happened and how you can keep it from ever happening again. You are chasing an elusive sense of comfort—one that simply doesn’t exist.
Like so many other women, after a miscarriage you feel depressed, angry and alone. With no answers, you try to figure out on your own what you could have done to make this happen. You tell yourself next time you’ll eat better, drink more water, work out more. Or, maybe working out is what caused it. Maybe next time you’ll work out less.
March of Dimes estimates 10-15% of pregnancies from women who know they are pregnant end in miscarriage. Statistics on miscarriage, though, are hard to come by, because many miscarriages happen before the woman knows she is pregnant. I know there are so many of us out there, and I know that—on some level—we’ll never find the answer we’re looking for. After all, even if our doctor were able to tell us exactly what happened, would that be enough? Would that ease the pain, offer you comfort, help you not hate yourself? No, no it would not. Answers—though we often think they’re what we want—aren’t what we need.
What we need is a community of women to confide in. What we need is support. What we need is to rally together. Answers don’t heal us. People heal us.
I wrote this for one reason—to help women who have suffered or are going to suffer miscarriages. We are strong. We are loud. We are a force to be reckoned with. Let’s bring awareness to this issue and create a community where women feel safe to share.
Let’s not be keepers of secrets, but, rather, towers of support.