Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Thoughts on miscarriage

Why is it that couples hesitate to announce they're pregnant until the first trimester is over? If it's just that you're savoring holding the secret to yourself, go for it. But I know for many people it's because the chance of miscarriage is greatly reduced by the beginning of the second trimester. They're afraid that if they tell, something will go wrong and they'll have to announce the death of their unborn child. But, if a miscarriage should happen isn't it easier to deal with if people KNOW why you're grieving than trying to hide it?

I do speak from experience. Hubby and I experienced a fairly early on miscarriage almost 8 years ago. I started bleeding at 9 weeks and had an ultrasound which showed no heartbeat and that baby had stopped growing at about 6 weeks. Because everyone already knew I was pregnant, they knew about the miscarriage. It didn't bother me. I received some very sweet phone calls from women who'd had similar experiences and was allowed time to recuperate. It was nice to have the down time -- the time to grieve our loss.

For some reason people treat miscarriages like breast cancer used to be treated. It's hush-hush business, almost like the mother did something wrong that can't be spoken aloud. How sad is that? That a grieving mother doesn't have the understanding and support of those surrounding her? That she must grieve the loss of a child alone, silently holding in the pain? Just because she never had the chance to hold the child, never got to know the child doesn't make the loss any less real.

Miscarriage is NOT a shameful thing. It isn't the mother's fault and it IS emotionally painful. If you've had a miscarriage, share the experience with another mother in pain. If you are still grieving seek out support, know that your pain is real and valid. Be brave enough to tell people. Somehow talking about the baby we lost made it easier to cope. Made him (or her) real. Name your child. Even if you don't know the sex of the child, go with your gut instinct and give your child a name. He or she was real. He or she was your child, if only for a short time. Both mourn and celebrate the little life that was over too soon.

It's not too late.

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