As many as half of all pregnancies may end in miscarriage 50 percent — this number can’t truly be estimated as miscarriage can occur before women even know they are pregnant. Among known pregnancies, about 15 percent of them will end in miscarriage. My pregnancy was a part of that statistic.
First, let me say, if this makes you uncomfortable — good. You are the reason I am writing this. I just had my routine dental hygiene appointment and I found myself on the topic of miscarriage with my hygienist. It came up naturally in conversation, woman-to-woman, about birth control and gynecologist appointment anxiety.
OMG, I know — shocking! We were actually talking about this casually. It was refreshing. This conversation got me thinking, if miscarriage can be spoken of during my dental hygiene appointment comfortably, then it sure as hell can be spoken of in other situations. She treated it no differently than a discussion of a broken arm or the passing of a Grandparent — like any health condition or death — as it should be treated, because that’s what miscarriage is.
So, I am going to talk about my miscarriage.
Almost two years ago exactly, I found out I was pregnant. I am going to be frank. This pregnancy was unplanned. It was not conceived out of love. To be completely honest, I don’t even remember it being conceived. That is a whole other bucket of worms I won’t be touching today. The point is, I was 19-years-old, in college. I was terrified and in shock. I did not consent to this. I did not plan this.
I thought, at first, finding out I was pregnant was the worst day of my life. I was so wrong. The pain of finding out I was pregnant didn’t even touch the pain of finding out I was losing my baby. I found out I was pregnant and it seemed like the moment I accepted that, my baby was taken away from me.
Confusion. Anger. Anguish. Devastation. None of these words even compare to what I was feeling. I was now grieving my child. I was grieving the child I will never get to meet. I am still grieving.
To my little angel: I am so sorry I failed you.
Maybe I didn’t abort you. Maybe I didn’t do anything to hurt you. But I can’t, to this day, shake the feeling that I could have done something to prevent this from happening. I wish I would have appreciated you sooner. I wish you would have been conceived out of love, as you deserved to be. I wish a lot of things. Wishes and “what-ifs” are all I have left.
Every day, for the rest of my life, I will imagine what you would have felt like sleeping on my chest. I will imagine what your giggle would sound like. I will wish that I had the chance to answer your cries, to nurture you, to be your “Mommy.” I will never really know if you had my eyes, or if you would love reading as much as I do. And that kills me inside.
Two years have gone by, and I have barely spoken of this to anyone. I realized very quickly that although I did not do this on purpose, I was expected to be ashamed — to grieve silently, alone. There is a sense of guilt associated with miscarriage and it isn’t the Mother who loses the child that creates it — it is society. This stigma isolates us and it is heartbreaking.
When someone dies unexpectedly, you don’t tell their loved ones that talking about it makes you uncomfortable. You don’t blame their loved ones for their death. You don’t avert your eyes and change the subject, you don’t pass judgement and you don’t shrug it off like it is nothing. Then why do you do all of those things to someone who has experienced a miscarriage?
I have experienced much loss in my life. This miscarriage was no less of a loss to me, and I can assure you that anyone who has experienced one will say the same. Stop telling us we don’t deserve to grieve. Stop telling us it isn’t a loss. Stop telling us to be quiet about it.
Listen to us when we talk about it. Support us through our grieving and validate our loss. That is all that we want and all that we need to get through this. The pain won’t ever go away completely, but it will be much more bearable with you by our side.
To those who are uncomfortable with this: please check yourself. Go online, read up ask your doctor — educate yourself so you can understand and accept that miscarriage is real and it is something we need to be talking about. Don’t isolate your loved one if they have experienced miscarriage. Hug them and love them unconditionally. Talk about it with them. Validate it for them. Tell them that they are no less of a woman, or Mother, because of it. They need that.
Let us grieve. And don’t make us do it alone.
Fly high, my angel.