This is a huge caveat that I’m going to be clear on from the start: I am no expert on miscarriage.
Not at all.
Never will be.
I have no expertise on why it happens and how to fix it but I am something of an expert on how it feels to suffer a miscarriage and the grief, isolation and feelings of failure that result from having one. The word awful doesn’t go near summing up the horrific experience of losing a baby (whether it is still an embryo when lost or not, to you it is a baby) but it is something that women around you are suffering every day, most of the time in silence and the fact that we are all so private about it sucks arse.
It truly astonishes me in this day and age that empowered, strong women can plaster Facebook with woes about a cold, a boyfriend dilemma or even have the biggest ever row in public but they can’t put their hands up and say hey friends, I’ve had a miscarriage, anyone got anything they can share with me to help me through? Instead we hide it away ashamed of it, terrified that speaking about it will reduce us to the puddle of tears that it quite rightly should and therefore make us look vulnerable and make others uncomfortable. We’ll cry our eyes out over dogs being beaten and share angrily petitions to help good causes – and quite rightly – but occurrences of miscarriage only ever get mentioned by the very brave friends in our feed.
The thing is though, by keeping it secret we are adding to our burden. Sure we tell our close friends and that definitely helps, but when we pitch up to a social event and the talk turns to children we get caught out, clam up and find ourselves having to make excuses about why we haven’t got a belly full of arms and legs. Why is that? Why is it ok for Aunt Marge to point at your stomach and say when are we going to hear about little feet but it isn’t ok for your to retort ‘was hoping to announce today actually but had the most horrendous miscarriage and have been in bed crying for a week!’ Wouldn’t that feel better? You never know, Aunt Marge might grab you by the arm and scurry you away to soothe you and tell you all sorts of stories, including possibly her own (between 10 and 20% of pregnancies end in miscarriage) and that might help, but instead we take the blame, pretend our careers are more important or if we are feeling brave say we are ‘trying’ so as not to make Aunt Marge uncomfortable. We then put up with the rolling of the eyes and the admonishing ‘you are leaving it too late and wouldn’t it be a shame if you missed the boat’ whilst standing there the whole time with teeth clenched wanting to tell her to fuck off.
I know, I’ve been doing it for the last 12 years.
I am hoping that this blog will make me braver and kinder to myself. I hope it makes you braver and kinder to yourself too.