I first miscarried in 2011. Only a few people even knew I was pregnant, and I didn’t talk about it until a year later. I stood up in my sisters wedding a week after the loss, I went back to work, and I moved through life pretty numb. I remember one of my friends, who didn’t know about my pregnancy or miscarriage, asked if I was ok, and I replied that I was. She responded, “Are you sure? It’s like the light in your eyes is gone.”
That’s what miscarriage is like. It’s dark. It’s lonely. It’s isolating. And, I am convinced that the longer you hold your grief inside, the longer your light stays out. I am an advocate for women, couples, and families to grieve out loud. We publicly mourn the loss of our beloved pets, but not the loss of our babies. We publicly discuss our stories of cancer survival, but not our stories of how we survived the death of a child that we never held. We are taught to tuck the tiny deaths into lockets that will forever weigh around our necks and on our hearts, and just… try again.
You do not have to grieve in silence so that others may feel comfortable in your loss. Here are three reasons that you should talk about your miscarriage.
1. Talking will help you process all the feelings that you’re experiencing, which will facilitate your healing process. It doesn’t have to be in a formal setting to be therapeutic. You can talk with friends or family if you don’t feel comfortable seeing a professional. There are also lots of online communities where you can find your voice and remain anonymous.
You can talk about your baby, the death, or your grief as little or as much as you need to. There is no right or wrong when it comes to expression. But, talking to others will reduce the amount of isolation you may be feeling. And, talking to other brave women who are also sharing their stories will help you feel less alone in your experience.
Talking about what you’re going through also provides a space for your partner to do the same. Partners are often a bit removed from the moments in early pregnancy because everything is happening in your body and it can’t be seen or felt by others. Their ability to connect is limited until the bump makes its debut and the baby begins to move, but trust that they are hurting and also in need of healing. Also, partners feel the need to be strong for you, so their pain and healing process will take a back seat to yours as they attempt to be or provide all that you need to survive. Opening communication and normalizing talks of the loss will provide a space for you to connect and move forward together, stronger.
2. You standing in your truth, allows another woman to stand in hers. For every time I have told my story, at least 10 women have told me theirs. And, each time one of us speaks, our worlds are connected and we don’t feel so small or alone. Using your voice immediately creates a support group, that you and others may not have known existed. Your bravery may inspire another woman. Your voice and truth is important and deserves to be heard.
3. Putting faces and voices with the trauma of pregnancy loss helps reduce the stigma of announcing pregnancy before 12 weeks and seeking professional help when needed. So many grieve in silence because that is what our culture encourages. But, there is nothing safe about hiding your joy or hiding your pain, god forbid loss happen to you. The more women speak up about their loss and grief, the more friends and family will know how to react and support and the more services will become available to guide women through this fragile time.
If you have miscarried, it’s important that you know you are not alone. Below are some resources where I hope you find some comfort, some peace, and possibly your voice. I hope that you find ways to talk about your loss, your grief, and your experience. I hope you find your way back to the light.
If you have a friend or family member who is surviving a miscarriage, there isn’t much you can say…
What Not to Say
But, you can be a safe space. Sit with her, let her cry, buy her a journal, encourage her to talk about it, and show her some resources: