October is infant and pregnancy loss awareness month. It recognizes and educates about the grief that parents who lost a baby to a miscarriage, stillbirth or SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome) experience. On October 15th, people are welcomed to light a candle in remembrance of all the babies gone too soon…. And I shall light a candle to honor the baby I lost to a miscarriage earlier this year. I wish to share my story because the experience of miscarriage is still so taboo and stigmatized.
I AM 1 IN 4
A couple weeks only before the COVID-19 lockdown happened, I was in heaven. I had just learned that I was pregnant for the first time. But, without any signs, at my first ultrasound, we found out that the baby’s heart had stopped beating. One of the first thing the doctor told me, in an effort to reassure me was that it was frequent to have a miscarriage in the 1st trimester. Up to 1 in 4 pregnancy will have such an outcome. 25%.
Yet, in that moment, I felt like I was the first person ever to walk out of the hospital crying. I felt embarrassed even, afraid I would run into someone I know. I felt alone and I wanted to talk to someone, but I also didn’t want to tell my family and friends because I didn’t want to make them feel sad and helpless. Being in the middle of a pandemic didn’t help as physical contact were not really an option.
2 REASONS WE SHOULD TALK ABOUT THIS:
I ended up finding a lot of comfort by talking to a family member who had similar struggles to mine. She reassured me when the physical symptoms of the miscarriage started happening (by the way, it might look and feel worst than a ‘’heavy period’’ like some people compare it to) She validated my feeling. I didn’t have to police or dilute what I was telling her, she wasn’t going to feel uncomfortable since she knew that experience.
Get comfortable with being uncomfortable.
Often, people are aware of the fact that their experience might trigger or make others uncomfortable, so they hold back, they share less to take this load off of their confident. We need to normalize having these conversations with our friends and family, so that we all become equipped to listen and help rather than avoid the conversation because of our own discomfort with the subject. If a topic makes us uncomfortable, it’s OUR responsibility to get familiar with it rather than ignore its existence and hope none of our friends ever brings it up. If we talk about it, then, there is no more reason to just reply; Sorry, I don’t know what to say. We don’t have to share all the same experience to be able to learn how to support someone going through a tough time. Normalize hearing conversations about topics that make most of us uncomfortable.
There is comfort in hearing relatable stories.
Again, 1 in 4 pregnancy result in a miscarriage. Before my experience, I only personally knew of that 1 family member I ended getting support from. But once I started sharing this information, I realized I knew much more people who had gone through this. And this statistic wasn’t just a number anymore, it was real. And not that I wish this experience on anybody, but there was comfort in knowing I wasn’t the only person to walk out of the hospital crying. It is validating to hear someone else go through a similar roller coaster of emotions. As hard as it can be to share my story, if it can make even just 1 person feel less alone, then I will keep sharing it.
If anyone who is reading this is struggling through pregnancy or infant loss, please, know that you can always reach out to me via my contact page.