I shared an article I stumbled across about miscarriage on facebook recently and its contents have stayed with me almost a week later. Despite not having gone through the pain and hurt of this experience personally it’s still playing on my mind.
Maybe it’s the close friends of mine who have confided in me about having lost their much desired and loved babies at different stages of pregnancy or perhaps it’s because of the silence of miscarriages that I find so out of kilter with the loud world I live in… Whatever the reason, I want to explore some of the thoughts I have about this sad experience that many women and their partners face.
I hope you’ll bear with me and join in the conversation and share your thoughts. I know I’m probably woefully ill-informed, but I’m coming from a place of wanting to understand. I hope you’ll forgive me for the things I get wrong here.
I know many people stay quiet about their pregnancy until they reach 12 or 20 weeks as these are the points where the risk of miscarrying decreases.
I understand the choice that some people make to not tell people about the pregnancy. It leaves more space to grieve in private if the pregnancy doesn’t come to term and some people want to go through this process alone.
But I don’t like the assumption that people should keep quiet until 12 weeks.
I have to say, I was a member of the ‘they should keep quiet’ brigade until recently. I remember seeing an acquaintance on facebook announce at 8 weeks that she was pregnant, and my reaction was ‘Isn’t that a bit too soon? Who knows what could happen before 12 weeks. She should keep quiet about it.’
But what could happen and why should she keep quiet? The baby could be healthy, or it could not come to anything. And in both cases by sharing her news, would be loved and supported by all those people who had witnessed her joy and excitement…and subsequent sadness and grief.
I suppose what I’m thinking about the silence is that it should be a choice, not an expectation. Without judgement whatever the choice.
Yep, 25% is the amount of pregnancies that will end in miscarriage. And that figure is based on the number of women who register their pregnancy, so there will be those who miscarry at before they get to this stage, meaning that the percentage is probably much higher.
I wasn’t aware of this number until recently and I had a conversation with my mum who said she had no clue about this when she was pregnant in the 1980s.
Maybe a lot of you will know about this number already…and it’s my ignorance showing. But for something so common, it’s not really talked about a lot. And I think that should change.
It’s more than the physical loss
I think there’s a sense, and perhaps it’s my Britishness – the stiff-upper-lip – talking here, that until the foetus looks like a baby and has spent a certain amount of time growing inside a woman, that the loss shouldn’t be mourned. That people should just get on with life. That it was just a bunch of cells that were never destined to grow into a baby.
But I see it as so much more than the physical loss of some cells that were not compatible with life.
It’s the hope of a family, the imagination of what the little person will be like, the expectation and joy of the future that then comes crashing down as the body rejects the baby.
I can see, regardless of the weeks that the foetus grows to, that it’s so much more than a physical loss. And we should have more compassion and be accepting of the grief that people – women and men – go through when they experience a miscarriage.
So where does this leave me?
This post isn’t meant to lead to anywhere. It’s more an expression of sadness and pain I feel for those who have lost a baby. And a gentle nudge for us to perhaps talk about miscarriage more. To acknowledge that whatever the stage where the baby dies, the loss is valid and the grief should be allowed.