It’s such a hard word to say when you’ve experienced it.
Did you know that 10-20% of known pregnancies will end in a miscarriage?
This is something that I naively thought could never happen to me. We had gotten pregnant with our daughter so easily that the news came as a surprise. But then when we decided to start trying for baby #2, I became a statistic.
I miscarried at 6 weeks.
After I shared about my miscarriage, I learned that so many women I knew, family included, had experienced a miscarriage. Some of them said they had been scared to share that they miscarried because of the responses they would receive.
I began to wonder why we live in this world where if we experience a miscarriage, we should keep it to ourselves. Maybe that’s what you want if you are going through this, which is totally fine. But why does society say to wait until 12 weeks before sharing the news? Why is it top secret?
First 12 Weeks
In the first 12 weeks, pregnant women experience the worst of the worst. Morning sickness, all-day sickness, pure exhaustion, hormonal changes, etc. We are expected to keep this a secret while experiencing all of these symptoms and then the day we find out we’ve just experienced a miscarriage, we have to move on and act as if it didn’t happen.
But what would happen if we changed the narrative around miscarriages. What if we, as women who have experienced them, decided that we aren’t just going to smile and move on? What if we decided to start saying exactly what is on our minds when we hear comments from those we’ve shared the news with?
“Maybe you shouldn’t have told anyone until you hit that 12-week mark.”
-Why? So I could mourn this loss alone?
“At least it was early.”
-It doesn’t matter how early it was. I knew I was pregnant, my body knew I was pregnant, I had morning sickness, and was exhausted. I thought about the fact that we would have two kids in the house.
“Does your OB know why you miscarried?”
-Miscarriages happen for a variety of reasons, most of which are unknown.
“At least you can get pregnant.”
-While I am grateful that I was able to conceive, I am mourning the loss of what could have been. All me this space. I am not trying to replace them.
“You were only 6 weeks along? That sounds like a chemical pregnancy, which isn’t even a real pregnancy.”
-I tracked my cycle every single day. When that pregnancy test showed two pink lines, I was so overjoyed. It was a pregnancy, regardless of the length.
“It’s all part of a greater plan.”
-Please do not bring religious views into this. It isn’t helpful.
“Did you do x? Have you tried y? Maybe you should start doing z.”
-Thank you for your unsolicited advice, but I am working with a medical professional in regards to my infertility.
The truth is, life was moving so fast at the time. I had thought maybe if I didn’t take a pregnancy test when I did, I wouldn’t have even noticed. But I did take the test, it did turn positive, and I was pregnant. My body knew I was pregnant. I was exhausted, and I had early waves of nausea. I’d begun to think of what life would be like with 2 kids in our house. I began to think about their potential due date, the logistics of going into labor, the thoughts drifted all day, every day for two weeks. Then all of a sudden, it was gone and I had miscarried.
The Miscarriage Journey
A pregnancy, miscarriage, and infertility journey is ours to share if we want. If we choose to, then we should feel supported in the narrative we are putting out there. But hearing these comments, which are so surprisingly common, is something that we should not have to hear.
If someone close to you chooses to share their grief with you, there are many more helpful things you can do.
Try saying: “I am sorry this happened to you. I hear you. I see you. And I am here to support you” or “What can I do for during this time?”
Offer to buy them coffee, or lunch, or dinner. Better yet, send them Doordash so they won’t have to leave the house if they don’t want to.
Tell them that you’re here for them, check in, and then check in again in a few days.
My favorite was the friend who left an iced coffee at my door step and texted me “I left you a coffee outside, I’ll check in on you later.”
These simple gestures can change the conversations around miscarriages. No one should have to go through this alone.
I didn’t choose to have a miscarriage. It happened to me, for reasons unknown.