You might be surprised to learn that 1 in 4 people experience a miscarriage.
You probably know more than a few people who have experienced one.
These people are your close friends, your relatives, your sister, your aunt, your best friend. The lady in the shops who looks so sad, but can’t tell anyone because that’s just not what you do in times like these.
You probably don’t know about the pain these women and men are experiencing, or the fact they are even experiencing it, because many of these people feel as though they cannot share their pain, or their stories of loss.
Some people want to, but don’t know how.
Other people have shared, and found it made others feel so awkward or uncomfortable, that they decided never to speak of it again.
Some of us feel so guilty about the fact that we experienced this loss, that we blame ourselves, and fear others will blame us too if we ever get up the nerve to mention it.
Then there are others, who keep talking about it anyway, because they hope to reduce the stigma associated with pregnancy loss.
Those of us who KNOW we’re not alone, that we didn’t cause this tragic event to occur, that we can make a difference by being open and honest about our experiences, and help each other cope through these difficult times.
Although we know that people simply just can’t understand unless they have experienced a loss this significant. A silent loss that’s difficult to explain because you can’t physically see it or hold onto it.
A loss that is only in your imagination, mourning for a tiny little person you never met, who never existed in this world, that you get to spend every single day of the rest of your life wondering if they would have had his eyes, your smile and a mixture of both your personalities.
A person who you had hopes and dreams for, that you planned your life around.
Who then made you change all those plans, because they never quite made it into those dreams you created for them.
Unfortunately, people see an early pregnancy loss as less significant in some ways, because it’s just an embryo, it may even be a fetus, or it may not have even made it to that stage.
But for the people living the loss, it isn’t any of those things.
When you find out you’re pregnant, you tell your partner, and maybe some other close friends and relatives, if you so choose, that you’re having a “baby” and from then on, that is what you imagine in your mind, and that is what you make plans for.
So when you lose a pregnancy, no matter at what stage, you’re losing a baby, and all the plans and dreams that you had attached to that baby.
And that’s what I think people don’t understand.
It’s not just a physical pain, it’s an intense, emotional level of silenced grief that you cannot explain, physically demonstrate or completely understand unless you have lived it yourself.
You’ve suddenly joined a silenced club of “1 in 4”. An exclusive club that so many others are part of, wondering around in every day of their lives, oblivious to the millions of other people who are also walking around in this silenced club.
But, this club doesn’t have to be silent.
I am hopeful that we can raise awareness, and break down the barriers of silence associated with miscarriage, pregnancy loss, still birth and infertility.
Over here in Australia, there is an “unofficial” day of recognition in October for people who have experienced pregnancy loss.
In honour of this day of recognition, as an attempt to raise awareness, we will invite people to share their stories of miscarriage, pregnancy loss, still birth and infertility.
All stories are welcome, and all submissions will be published on our website (anonymously if people wish to do so).
Together we can raise awareness, reduce the stigma, help others recognise just how common these experiences of loss are, and I hope, show that is it OK to talk about loss and support one another through these difficult times.
We might not be able to revoke our memberships from this exclusive club none of us wants to be part of, but it doesn’t mean our club has to be bound by silence.
Photo Credit: Ammon Creative