Back in August I shared about our miscarriage. I chose to share for a few reasons:
(1) Because I know it was nothing to be ashamed about and silence can breed shame,
(2) I value openness and vulnerability and it's important for me to be real with you all and the important people in my life, and
(3) I knew I was going to need a lot of support.
I recently read this article titled, "5 Weeks and 3 Days Pregnant." The author writes:
I’m not ignorant about the risks of my pregnancy. I’m aware that nearly 20% of all pregnancies end in miscarriage, and I know that I’m not excluded from that statistic. It very well might happen, regardless of how wanted this baby is.
But I refuse to suppress my excitement because of something that might happen. Women are expected to deal with their bodies in private, to stay quiet about the normal, healthy, uncomfortable things that it experiences. When, in reality, our bodies are badass. We create human beings! How amazing is that?!
I’m supposed to stay quiet through the grief of miscarriage or the unending sickness that is the first trimester. But I refuse to be shamed because of this natural process that my body is going through, whatever the result may be.
If I experience the heartache that is miscarriage, I don’t want to do so alone. I shouldn’t HAVE to do so alone — not when there are so many women out there that have gone through such a tragic ordeal. I find that when someone announces a miscarriage, many women start to speak up about their own experiences. We shouldn’t have to do this ladies — we should be able to find support in one another throughout the process.
I know my risks and I know that I will be devastated if something happens to this baby. It may be difficult to talk about, but so is depression. So is the shame that comes with making mistakes. These are all things that I’ve been open about. Because you know what’s even harder than experiencing these things? Experiencing them alone.
I saw a lot of myself in this author as I had similar thoughts about staying quiet when I found out I was pregnant. I didn't want to perpetuate this expectation that we are supposed to stay quiet and deal with our bodies in private. That's part of the reason why I chose to share our miscarriage story. But now I'm here to say that I understand why women don't share and I find myself questioning my decision to do so everyday. Let me explain.
Telling people about your miscarriage is hard. It's painful and gut-wrenching and you have to relive the tragedy every time you share. But we shared because we knew we would need the love and support of our friends, family, and church community. And we did get that support- for about a week or two.
I have written this post about a million times and I have walked away from it after realizing there was still anger in my heart. I'm not writing today from a place of anger, but from a place of humility and saying "I was wrong." I want to see people grow from my words, not become defensive and hurt by them. But I'm here to say that I'm now finding myself wishing we wouldn't have told people about our loss.
By far the hardest part of our miscarriage were the feelings of loneliness that followed. The nights of sitting home alone crying and wondering, where is my community? Why am I having to walk through this alone? Why isn't anyone checking in with me or just coming over to sit with me and tell me "this sucks"?
I have always thought I had a really wonderful support system. Close friends, a church family that really loves on one another and lifts each other up, and so on. And I do. But I wasn't supported following our miscarriage despite my numerous attempts to convey "I'm not doing OK" and "I need help." I know it wasn't out of malicious intent or spite, but instead because people didn't know what to do. So they just did nothing. That left a deep wound in my heart.
I find myself wishing I would have never uttered those words or shared on social media at all because then I know I wouldn't have a reason to be bitter or hurt. If you don't tell people you're hurting, you can't be mad at them when they don't rush in, right? But what about when you openly share your heartbreak and your need for love and support and are left feeling as if no one cares? Where does that leave you?
For me, it left me feeling alone. It left me questioning the community I was a part of. It brought me back to those feelings of "I create community for everyone else, but don't get to be a part of it myself." It brought me to a bad place. A place where I then felt guilty for feeling bitter and upset. A place where I found myself not even wanting to be a part of community anymore.
Again, I'm not here to blame, but instead to say "I get it." It's easier not to tell people because then you don't expect anything. I hate that I feel this way because I still think silence breeds hurt, but I can't help but wonder if life would be much more simple if this were just a loss shared between my husband and I...
So, here I am. Still grieving and still working through the complicated feelings and questions our miscarriage has brought up for me. Trying to figure out how to move on and forgive people while still feeling as if there is something utterly wrong with a world that doesn't know how to love women who lose their babies, because I know I'm not alone.
I don't have an encouraging note to end this on or a call to action to offer you, instead, I'm just here to share where I'm at, even if it's not pretty. I hope, at the least, this can start a dialogue. A dialogue that will help other women that experience a miscarriage from ever feeling how I do.