It’s October and I’m excited! I just bought 5 different fall nail polish shades & put out all my fall candles at home. Most people are gearing up for Halloween, buying their pink for Breast Cancer Awareness, headed to cider mills, or appreciating the fact that all FOUR pro-sports are simultaneously being played this month.
Not to detract from any of this, but did you know that October has also been dubbed “Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness Month”? Most people don’t know this fun fact, I didn’t know until I had experienced pregnancy loss myself. What blew my mind even more was that there is actually an entire day within the month devoted to bringing awareness to miscarriage, still birth, and infant loss – that day is October 15!
So, in the spirit of the month at hand, I decided to do something to commemorate and contribute to bringing awareness to such a sore subject.
Unfortunately, people just aren’t talking about miscarriage
Why is it so taboo? Why is it so misunderstood? My guess is probably because couples like myself and my husband suffer in silence. We aren’t talking about our miscarriages. And then people who have miscarriages think they are alone (because nobody talks about it), so they don’t talk about their miscarriages either. And round and round we go.
It is for this reason that I am going “public” with my blog. So far I have “anonymously” shared my blog on several pregnancy loss forums across the web and through an anonymous Instagram page. I have been able to reach over 1,000 people in 29 different countries – from the USA all the way to Sri Lanka. I am so thankful to God because I know He is using my negative as a positive for someone else – and that is what it’s all about for me! That makes my pain useful.
That makes this crap worth something.
I write about my experiences with miscarriage to be a light to someone else who may be going through the same thing.
But I’ve still been hiding.
Up until now, I haven’t shared this blog with family or friends. I don’t link it to my personal social media pages. I’ve even gone so far as to make sure I don’t add identifying photos or names to my writing; just in case someone I know out there happens to find this. You see, we didn’t tell very many people about our miscarriage, only those few who knew we were expecting were made aware of the loss. If I shared my blog on my social media, that would mean that everyone I knew would know we had miscarried our first child, and I wasn’t comfortable with that thought. It is just my husband, mother, sister, and literally three friends of mine who are aware that this blog site even exists. That’s because
my miscarriage was dark and ugly.
And I’m not just talking about the physical event of the miscarriage…I’m talking about the days and months following.
The days when I could not – or would not – get out of bed unless hubby physically picked me up. The days when I lashed out at him. The times when I lashed out at God. The nights we spent sitting on the couch crying. The times I had to force a smile because interacting with people was work. The private and painful details that only he and I will ever know.
I was (am) hurt, ashamed, and angry and I didn’t want to expose that side of me to anyone in my life. Not only that, but I’m a private person and to be frank I didn’t think my miscarriage was anybody else’s business. (*hugs*)
But then I realized – this approach only perpetuates the stigma associated with miscarriage, stillbirth and infant loss…it doesn’t help bring awareness. So I decided to step out of my comfort zone and share that
1 in 4 is not just a statistic, it’s ME
Yes, unbelievable right? Generally speaking, a staggering 1 in 4 pregnancies end in miscarriage! That means we ALL know several people who have lost babies this way. They may not have told you, they may not have even knew it themselves, but you know someone who has had a miscarriage. It is way more common than you’d think, which certainly doesn’t take away from the tragedy of it all, but it does let me know that I am not alone.
I wanted to share some other facts about pregnancy and infant loss:
- Miscarriage is the death of a baby before 20 weeks gestation
- Stillbirth is the death of a baby after 20 weeks gestation
- As mentioned, it is believed that as much as 25% of all pregnancies end in miscarriage (http://www.pregnancy.org)
- The likelihood of miscarriage declines the further the mother is into the pregnancy, but rates drop off drastically after a heartbeat is detected.
“There is a unique pain that comes from preparing a place in your heart for a child that never comes” -David Platt
There are several different types of miscarriages
- Blighted Ovum -a type of early loss in which a fertilized egg implants but does not begin to divide into an embryo
- Chemical Pregnancy – another very early loss when the embryo is lost shortly after implantation. It is believed that chemical pregnancies make up about 50% of all miscarriages — the mother may not know she is pregnant (though with early detection becoming increasingly accessible, she could) and the miscarriage looks like a normal or late period
- Complete Miscarriage – the contents of the uterus (baby, placenta, and all tissue) are expelled (incomplete miscarriages happen too, where only some of the tissue is expelled)
- Missed Miscarriage – though very rare, a missed miscarriage happens when the baby dies with the mother having barely any symptoms. Actually, mother’s still experience symptoms of pregnancy after the baby is dead because the placenta is still releasing hormones. Most go on thinking their baby is fine and life is great, and do not find out that their pregnancy is over until a routine checkup. This can happen at any stage of pregnancy and only accounts for as much as 1% of all miscarriages (http://healthresearchfunding.org). This is the type of miscarriage I had, you can read more about that here
- Ectopic Pregnancy – the egg implants somewhere else, usually in the Fallopian tubes, and begins to grow. These types of losses are also rare and can be life threatening to the mother, the baby does not survive
- Molar Pregnancy – this happens when fetal/placental tissue grows abnormally and a tumor grows in the uterus instead of a baby. About 1 in 1,000 pregnancies in this country is a molar pregnancy (http://www.marchofdimes.org)
Ultimately, miscarriage is the death of a baby – and should not be looked at any other way
You can call miscarriage the loss of a fetus, embryo, pregnancy tissue or whatever – but to me it was a baby. It was a life. It was my unborn child. And I know there are many other couples out there who have experienced this type of loss and feel the same way I do.
This October we are remembering our babies.
Those we could never meet, those born sleeping, and those who made it home and then left way too soon.
In honor of Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness month, share your story in the comments…even if you just share your little one’s name. If you don’t want to share your story, just leave a comment saying “Me too”, there is comfort in community. If you don’t want to comment, share this blog; someone else may need to see it. Someone else may need to hear that they aren’t alone.
Each pregnancy loss a couple experiences is a part of their history as parents, and each life that comes into this world deserves to be acknowledged.
If you have experienced pregnancy or infant loss, I am praying earnestly for you. I am praying that God comforts you and gives you his peace. I am praying that He surrounds you with His love. I am praying that He guides the hearts and minds of those around you; that they would be mindful of your loss and not say anything hurtful while you grieve. There is light at the end of this tunnel, I promise! If you would like special prayer, or have a prayer request for someone else you know, I have a submission form on my site.
Hugs to you all!