“Oh no, did you drink during your pregnancy? Is that why you had a miscarriage?” This was one of the first but not the last asinine questions I received when I had my miscarriage. From friends not acknowledging what happened to those that made genuinely offensive comments, the stigma and silence that surround miscarriage perpetuate the hurt women face during this trying time. The misconceptions and misinformation need amelioration; we can make it different and change the dialogue surrounding miscarriages!
Miscarriages are painful, both physically and emotionally, and occur due to no fault of the woman most of the time. During a miscarriage, you are not only sad about losing the life that was inside you, but your stomach is cramping badly! Imagine the worst period you have ever felt; now make the cramps just a little bit worse, and you’ll know what a miscarriage feels like. To amplify the misery surrounding this unexpected event, you can’t even wear a tampon for the first two weeks! Yet, society dictates that this heart-wrenching experience where a life is slowly bleeding out between your legs is supposed to be kept a secret, but it’s acceptable to share with your entire social network what you ate for lunch?
Women in the first three months have an almost 30% chance of having a miscarriage. This is a normal thing that many women struggle with in silence and alone, but it does not have to be this way! It’s typical not to tell anyone you’re pregnant until you’re 12 weeks along. To get this straight, you have a major life event that is completely wrecking your body and rocking your world, and yet you are expected to keep quiet for three months! Now, you might be questioning the reasons behind deceiving your social network and pretending that this incredible event is not happening-miscarriages. Our society is so scared of having a miscarriage that we refuse to let our networks know about our joyous news until this fear has passed. And why is this? The negative perception and blame surrounding miscarriages force women into silence.
We all have the friend who has claimed, “I’m just cutting back on wine,” or, “I’m not in the mood for brie cheese and deli meat” when, in fact, they’re pregnant. Come on, ladies, this mentality is archaic, and frankly, it is ridiculous! I don’t care what the reason is- there is no point in deceiving your friends. If you’re pregnant, say it loud and say it proud! There are women out there struggling to experience this same fantastic feat that you currently deny to your inner circle. Now, I’m not preaching to blast your exciting news to your 2,000 closest friends on social media, oh hells no! Being friends with someone on Facebook by no means equates to being friends in “real life.” However, instead of lying to your besties that you don’t feel like your favorite alcoholic drink, be real with them and admit that you are pregnant and excited or scared or whatever you are feeling!
If you are good friends with someone, why do you not want their support for the good and the bad? Let your friends be there for you if things go poorly, the same way you want them there for you if things go well. A miscarriage might occur; this is a fact. We need to stop denying pregnancy for three months and stigmatizing miscarriages as something blame-worthy.
The amount of miseducation and information surrounding this life event is horrifying! I had multiple people ask me the following types of questions:
“What did you do wrong?”
“Did you work out too hard?”
“I bet you won’t tell people so early next time!”
Let me clear a few things up: a miscarriage is not the women’s fault! When a miscarriage happens, very rarely do the women do ANYTHING wrong. If terminating a pregnancy could happen because of going to a spinning class, sleeping on your stomach, or having a few drinks before knowing you were pregnant, there would be no need for abortions. I went through a long diatribe with my very patient doctor listing all my possible “pregnancy sins” when my miscarriage was confirmed. She very patiently told me that everything I did was fine, and this happens. Yes, miscarriages can happen regardless of how careful you are! And, let me tell you I was meticulous! After eight weeks of no caffeine and watching everything I ate and drank, I started bleeding, which signaled I was losing my baby. I did everything I could have to provide a safe space for my unborn child. However, regardless of everything I did, my baby was not viable nor ever would have been. My story is not unique; it is far too common and needs to start seeming so.
The reason miscarriages occur is that there is something within your precious little one that did not correctly form for them to survive, not something you did. Since my miscarriage occurred, it has lifted my spirits to learn that I am not alone. Countless women have gone through similar things. However, many of these women suffered in silence, afraid of the negative stigma behind having a miscarriage. Let’s support each other and be there for one another!
More than 1 in every four women have had a miscarriage; there are A LOT of women going through this same experience! If someone you know had a miscarriage be there for the couple, they are going through a difficult time. If your friend lost a beloved pet, you would reach out to them and make sure they were okay, right? This should not be any different! Let the couple know that you support them in whatever form they want that to take. Miscarriages are universal; they occur and should not be ignored. Discontinue the negative stigma behind miscarriages; they are NOT THE FAULT of the woman!