Dealing with miscarriage: It should be OK to talk about it…

Dealing with miscarriage: It's got to be OK to talk...

Most of us are aware that miscarriage is extremely common.  But that doesn’t make dealing with miscarriage any easier.

It is believed that up to 20% of all clinically recognised pregnancies end in miscarriage (http://www.tommys.org/page.aspx?pid=383  ) and that up to 1 in 8 women will experience a pregnancy loss at some point.  Despite this, miscarriage is still treated, either as a taboo or as a trivial loss that women ought to get over quickly.  It’s not a real baby after all, is it?

Dealing with miscarriage

Having a baby isn’t a process which starts when you go into labour.  For most women, it begins long before conception.  We increase our vitamin intake, alter our diet, make sure we get enough rest.  We wait, desperate to see those two lines on a pregnancy test, and are filled with joy when they finally appear.  We treasure the poppy seed baby inside of us; we plan for their future.  What will we name them?  Who will they look like?  We long for the moment when they grasp our fingers with a tiny fist.  And when that moment is ripped away from us, it is crippling.  Each agonising cramp reminds us of what might have been.  A loss of life.  A loss of love.  A loss of potential.

Not a real loss?  Not a real baby?  Some women wouldn’t have even known they were pregnant?  So often, women who suffer miscarriage are made to feel that they shouldn’t grieve.  It’s nature’s way – there must have been something wrong with a chromosome.  You can always try again.  You’re lucky – imagine if it happened later.  No one knows what to say when someone they care about experiences a loss and often, the best thing a person can do is to be there to listen.  But to try and rationalise grief?  To suggest that miscarriage isn’t a tragedy and should be forgotten quickly is not only insensitive but it makes women feel that they cannot talk about their loss.  They cannot share with anyone how they feel and this can result in a spiral of isolation and depression.

It’s got to be OK to talk…

Miscarriage remains a taboo in society.  So many women suffer it, yet it is so seldom talked about.  I’m not suggesting here that women should shout about their loss from the rooftops.  Grief is personal and people cope in different ways.  But it shouldn’t have to be a secret.  Since I’ve started writing about my recurrent pregnancy losses and talking about the longing I have for another child, I have been overwhelmed with messages of support from women who have experienced the same.  They have shown me, not only is there usually light at the end of the tunnel, but that awareness of miscarriage and its effects is so important.

In the vast majority of cases, nothing can be done to prevent a miscarriage and this seems to give the medical professionals license to treat women without sensitivity or even dignity.  It happens, they are told.  Just wait and see.  You’ll know soon enough.  What do you want me to do about it?  I kid you not, I have heard this phrase used on two separate occasions by different doctors.

Miscarriage is a tragedy. It may be common and it may not be preventable, but that doesn’t alter the fact that it is devastating to those it touches.  And it’s about time our attitude changed.

If you’d like to read more about the devastating effects of miscarriage, Katie has written a series of posts about trying to conceive after recurrent pregnancy loss.

http://happinessinlearning.com/category/trying-to-conceive-after-miscarriage/

Useful support link:  http://www.miscarriageassociation.org.uk/

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18 Comments

  • I’m so sorry to hear about your losses. I completely agree that it’s important to talk about – women and their loved ones need to know there is support available xx

  • I am so sorry to hear about your losses.

    My daughter has just miscarried her fifth baby at 12 weeks and it was a devastating loss to us all. The expectation of having this baby was so high and to go to the scan to see an empty sac was just cruel.

    What is also shocking is the lack of support. There has been no offer of grief counselling or support groups for my daughter. This really does need to be changed.

    For some, the loss may be just a mere foetus but to those concerned, the loss is the potential of a new human being that is loved and nurtured for 9 months prior to be being born. Nothing can fill the void that is left.

    Thank you for opening up the discussion.

    Much love xx

  • We have a terrible attitude to death, bereavement and to miscarriage, talking makes such a difference.

  • It hurts – it is right to grieve. Having been there I know the lasting pain it leaves. An emotive post that i imagine was hard to write. Much love to the author.

  • I agree with Maggy, it’s not okay, it’s important and essential that we talk about miscarriage and the trauma that comes with it. Many of my friends have suffered from miscarriage and ALL of them have said that talking about it has helped them through it x

  • From experience sadly I know how tough it is and how little support there is or can be out there. It is vital to spread the word and start people talking about it only then will others understand the heartbreak involved

  • It’s something that I’ve been lucky enough never to experience but it’s always better to talk about these things xxx

  • I’m sorry for your loss. I have a beautiful little boy but my husbanf and I had suffered two miscarriages prior to having him. Our first was a missed miscarriage and being told the awful news that there was no heartbeat at our dating scan, is something we will never forget. It is absolutely devastating. It was only after our loss that we found out that 1in 3 pregnancies could miscarry. Also thay sadly, how many friends had been through it too. Big hugs to all and hope you too can have you dream to become parents. X

  • I have sadly come to expect degrading, insensitive, poor and even dangerous care from the NHS when it comes to gynae. Talking about it is so important and not something I have been brave enough to do yet but I really thank you so much for writing about your experiences as I do think that society in general do not address or support women and their families enough through what is a terrible tragedy x

  • You’re so right. There needs to be so much more discussion and support available. And not just to the mothers, but also the fathers and other family members affected.

  • Such a true and useful post. I remember being just five weeks pregnant with my son when I began bleeding at a friends wedding. I rang my doctor who advised that I could try and get to the nearest hospital but ‘no rush as there is nothing you can do anyway.’ He was right but just wasn’t what I needed to hear. We then had an agonising wait of a week for am ultrasound to try and detect a heartbeat. Thankfully it was there. That was one of the worst weeks of my life and at just 5 weeks pregnant I already had so much invested in my baby I could not bear the thought of losing him. I am so sorry for your loss and really admire your bravery at talking about it.

  • I have had friends and family go through this and I agree, people can consider it a taboo subject but equally sometimes it is knowing the right thing to say. Thank you for sharing on such a sensitive subject and trying to change attitudes xx

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