I recently read an article about miscarriage and how it is taboo to speak of or acknowledge. There were parts of the article I agreed with and some that I wasn't so sure about.
Over five years ago I shared on this blog that we had miscarried (here and here). I was 10 weeks pregnant. It was heart wrenching. And so many friends and family shared in my sorrow. It wasn't easy for me and I know it wasn't easy for friends and family...never knowing what to say or what to do. But I did discover that it was almost taboo to talk about the loss. No one ever wanting to say the words 'miscarriage' or 'baby'. Even my grandma said "Your mom shared what happened. It can be so terrible." and that was it. Another family member said "At least you aren't like some people who don't have any other kids. You have three others."
I'm not sure why people don't want to use the word miscarried. It happened and it's completely sucky. You aren't going to offend. If you don't feel comfortable using that word then use 'loss'. Some people are of the thought that it's just a fetus and you didn't really lose a baby. Even so, we lost hopes and dreams, the anticipation and excitement of a baby and a pregnancy. We lost joy. Not to mention a living growing life.
I've had multiple miscarriages since then. And with each one, a little more of me dies. I'm not being dramatic, just honest. You lose a little of your joy, your optimism, your happiness. And that hole is filled with cynicism and pessimism.
It's hard to explain to someone who hasn't experienced a miscarriage firsthand. Let me try to put it into words. When you've miscarried, you don't just wake up one day and are no longer pregnant. And then life goes on. The process takes weeks. And it's not just the mental process, physically it will take weeks.
The moment you find out there is no longer a heartbeat is one of the most excruciatingly painful times of your life. The room spins, you can't breathe, you can feel the flood of tears welling up and that poor ultrasound tech...I think the only thing worse than having the miscarriage is having to tell someone they've miscarried.
Shortly after if not by now, you start to cramp and bleed. And the next 7-14 days are filled with the worst pains I've experienced second to laboring my three children. Your hormones are going crazy. You're emotional and on edge. Your mind starts to wander and drift. I kept thinking about how my body was rejecting our child. And that's a horrible feeling. A mother is supposed to give and grow life not reject and expel. Every time I cramped I was reminded of how MY body was causing this.
All of my miscarriages happened between 10-12 weeks. This is what I lost.
It can take anywhere from one to two weeks to naturally expel a miscarried pregnancy. Days that are filled with blood draws, pain killers, exhaustion, and tears. All the while you still have to be a wife and mom. I never shared with our children when I was miscarrying. After the first, we learned to wait until the first trimester was complete before making any announcement. Even with Evie, I waited until I was 8 months pregnant to decorate the nursery. Every twinge, ache or stomach pain sent me into a full scale panic. I didn't allow myself to get excited for months. It's terrible to not be able to enjoy a pregnancy. Nine months of fear is no fun.
We ARE extremely blessed with four beautifully talented daughters. I know that and I cherish each of them. But that does little to fill the void of losing a pregnancy. In some ways it makes it worse knowing they lost a sibling. And even more devastating is knowing whatever caused my miscarriages may be hereditary.
Miscarriages happen to a lot of women and have been happening since the beginning of time. It's part of life and reproduction. But I whole heartedly feel it's not something that should be spoke of in whispers or code. Women deserve condolences and support during this time. And should be able to speak of it and share their experience. I understand it's hard to talk about it. And agree that it's awkward to bring up. I mean you don't just go around announcing "We lost our baby." But a woman should be able to process and grieve and not hide or push her emotions aside. I would hope a woman or her husband would share with close friends- so they could surround her with support. A hug, flowers, brownies, a movie, a good cry.
I'm not sure what all I'm trying to express through this post. Am I posting this for my children- possibly. Am I posting this for women experiencing the same thing- sure. But I do know that miscarriages should at least be acknowledged to whatever extent a woman wants to make them. And that we shouldn't be made to feel like we need to just suck it up and move on. Speaking to someone who has also experienced this type of loss is one of the best things I did. They understand the heartache and the pain. They understand things only you would understand. Like how every time you go to the bathroom you are constantly wondering if you just flushed your baby down the toilet. Like I said - hard to explain if you haven't experienced it.
Journal, blog, confide in your husband, your friends or your mother. Express your feelings of loss and pain. Share your sorrow.
Miscarriage IS something to be acknowledged.