Have you had a miscarriage? The statistics say that 1 in 3 of you have, but miscarriage is underreported and sometimes, miscarriage occurs without the mother knowing at all (in the case of early miscarriage prior to her knowing of the pregnancy). I think the statistics are probably more like 1 in 2, which means there are an enormous number of women out there feeling alone in this experience. I think we need to change that here.
Did you know that miscarriage is one of the most common occurrences in women’s lives? If every miscarriage that occurred prior to a positive pregnancy test were reported, then 40-50% of all conceptions result in loss. In other words, it’s no easy feat to get born. The odds are against you from the very beginning, so if you are here-you were meant to be here.
Most people aren’t aware of how common miscarriage is because the statistics aren’t well publicized. In fact, this is kind of a taboo topic in our society. I wonder why? After all, miscarriage isn’t just the loss of an unborn baby. It is the loss of an imagined child, one that you or your family imagines in great detail….how the baby will look, what the child will be like, what their lives will look like, and when the baby will arrive. The due date becomes the deadline around which all things are planned for 9 months.
Your lifestyle immediately changes when you find out about your pregnancy, right? That very second. It’s not like you can decide to taper off of the espressos over the next two months. They stop that moment. Your entire life revolves around this imagined child.
The death of that imagined child is as real as any other family death, and the sooner our society can grasp this idea, the better. Women who experience a miscarriage usually find that their sadness is quickly dismissed with reminders of gratitude or statements like, “you’re young, you can have another one.” Sure you can. Had one of her living children died (God forbid), these statements would not be made out of appreciation for the child’s life and the mother’s pain. Miscarriage of an unborn child shouldn’t be much different.
Perhaps one of the worst aspects of miscarriage is the self imposed questioning and regret that follows. This usually begins with careful questioning over past decisions. “Did I run too far?” “Did I eat the wrong thing?” “Should I have stayed off of my feet more?” The feelings of regret, self doubt, and even self loathing that result from these thoughts can be torturous.
Statistically, most women move on to have a healthy pregnancy later….but one of the most torturous problems any woman can face is recurrent miscarriage. It’s scary to get pregnant again after miscarriage. If you have gone through miscarriage or repeated miscarriage, check out Dr. Alice Domar’s book entitled Healing Mind, Healthy Woman. I think this is one of the best books ever written on this topic.
If you’ve had a miscarriage, you are not alone. More importantly, you were a mother to that unborn child. You can feel free to “count” that life when you answer this question, “How many kids do you have?” Perhaps you have two living children-it would be perfectly OK for you to acknowledge that child’s life by responding, “I’m mother of three with two living children.” If you have one child? “I’m mother of two with one living child.” You were a mother at that time, and a miscarriage doesn’t change that for you.
That life counted. You can feel free to acknowledge that life and your time spent mothering that life by counting it, too.
That’s all for today from this sweaty mom, folks. Summer is here, and it is SO hot here. Remember that thing about filling your cup first? It’s so important. The airlines got it right when they instructed us moms to use our oxygen mask first before helping our child….not that any of us would really do that, by the way, but it is a great metaphor for self nurture. More on that this week since I, too, need a refresher course on that topic. Ciao!