Yeah, fuck this title.
First of all, no, I have not had a miscarriage (yet), but I want to talk about miscarriages. They're bullshit. I can count on one hand, how many of my female friends have never miscarried. The majority of women that I know, all of varying backgrounds, have miscarried.
I am now 12 weeks pregnant. 12 weeks is when the doctor says it's "safe to tell people." This means that if you tell people anytime before 12 weeks, and you have to go back and tell them that you lost the baby, people will say, "She shouldn't have announced it so soon," like you hold some kind of responsibility for the loss... Like you owe them an apology. It means that if you miscarry before 12 weeks, you should hold your secret loss inside, suffer in silence, privately to yourself, like a failure. After all, women feel ashamed by their miscaraiges. It's better for them to not tell anyone and keep their problems to themselves, right? Wrong.
A new article from ScienceAlert.com has found that over half of all successful fertilizations end in miscarriage, which is much higher than the 25% originally thought. The reason for the confusion is that most pregnancies end before the woman is even aware that she's pregnant. You (or I) may have had several miscarriages before, and never even known about it. But after you see the positive sign on that test, it becomes "real," and your expectations change.
If so many women are having miscarriages, then why does it feel so taboo? Every friend that I have who has miscarried has kept it a massive secret. They carry that huge weight, that gigantic burden, all by themselves, even though they're literally surrounded by other women all day who have been in their shoes. We are forced to feel alone. Many people believe that miscarriages are caused by lifestyle choices when in fact, they are random genetic errors that cause the fetus to not be formidable. According to LiveScience.com over half of all miscarriages are caused because of aneuploidy, an abnormal number of chromosomes. The pregnancy essentially terminates itself because the baby will never be able to fully develop. It is completely out of your control and it has nothing to do with how many wine spritzers you had in college, how many vitamins you’re taking, or because you’ve done anything wrong in any way.
I am a problem-solver and I know that most women, when confronted with a miscarraige are looking for answers. Why??? And we tell ourselves it's because we shouldn't have lifted those heavy bombardment . We should have started taking folic acid months before we conceived. We drink too much alcohol, workout too hard, eat too much junk food... We create reasons for our "failure" and sentence ourselves to a lifetime of guilt for our "shortcomings." It is sickening to me how many people believe these myths to be true. Society as a whole seems to fill in the blanks for why anyone has a miscarriage, when science is standing right there, yelling, factual evidence. It literally has nothing to do with you and your lifestyle choices!
We use social media to paint the picture of our lives that we want others to see. This mostly contains our greatest joys, but also, our deepest sorrows. Somehow, miscarriages don't make the cut for the great highlight reel of our lives. I think, again, that this stems from the fact that we feel we have in some way failed if we miscarry, and so we choose not to share the loss. Instead, we bandaid the wound with smiley selfies and inspirational quotes until we have emotionally moved on. However, no one ever really moves on from miscarriage. Never again will you allow yourself to think of pregnancy without considering the loss. Even when you have a "successful" pregnancy, you will feel a sense of guilt over the ones that were lost.
What if we stopped ranking our grief on a hierarchy and instead, allowed ourselves to be honest with ourselves and one-another? Many mothers will go so far as to share the story of their rainbow babies;"We had 5 miscarriages before our rainbow baby was born," and that story is very important, but imagine if that same mother shared her entire journey with other mothers going through the same thing. Hearing the happy ending is great, but it would help so many more people if we were relaying these experiences when they happened. We only want to show the before and after photos, and skip the hard parts in between.
At the end of the day, it is your body, your journey, and your choice. I don't want you doing anything that makes you uncomfortable. I do however, want you to consider the repercussions of what would happen if we allowed ourselves to be vulnerable and share our stories, honestly. I think you would be surprised to find how many women around you have been, or currently are going through the exact same thing. Your story may sincerely change someone else's life and at the very least, it feels good to talk about miscarriage with other people who understand your fears, pain, and hopes. Miscarriages are not an embarrassing secret that must be kept under lock and key. They happen. They are not anyone's fault. And they are much more common than we realize.
I encourage you, even if you're less than 12 weeks pregnant, to share your pregnancy! If something should go awry, at least you will have a support system of people who care about you and will check in to make sure you're okay. No one should have to suffer in silence. Being a woman is no easy feat. Deciding to have a baby is not a decision that is taken lightly. We go through so much already. In a world where news is fake and perception is everything, it is time to rise up, courageously share our truth, and allow our true community to meet us there, with support and acceptance.
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