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Tuesday, October 27, 2015

a miscarriage story : why moms don't talk about it

I've never fully understood why moms don't talk about miscarriages, like it's a taboo topic in our society for some reason. I wasn't sure if it was based on shame, embarrassment, fear of judgment, or just so painful it was too damn hard to open up.

Now that I've gone through a miscarriage myself, I understand a lot more about why this is such a difficult topic to bring up and converse about.

I personally was not able to talk about it openly until weeks after, and only to my closest friends. I opened up within a week on my blog, via texting and online... writing seemed to help me, a lot. But openly talking face to face or on the phone out loud, that was too much for me. It would upset me way too much, I took a long time to open up that way. I would just cry, it was hard to hear the other person struggling with what to say to me. Texting worked so much better because it could be slow, too, I couldn't rush the conversation.

Everyone is very different also. Each miscarriage circumstance is very different. There are similarities in what women go through, which is the #1 reason I want moms to open up about this topic and talk about it. I want moms to know they are not alone. You are not alone. Yet, I'm finding that each women reacts differently to the situation. Some talk a lot, others hide it for a long time. Some are ready to try again to get pregnant soon after, others think that's terrible and want to wait a long time to grieve. Some like when people say "this wasn't meant to be, you'll get pregnant again soon," others think that's the worst thing you could say. It's been helpful to me hearing from so many moms on this topic. What I've learned though is there is no clear answer here... no definite thing that helps all moms. Just time, patience and love.

My hope in sharing these ideas from the moms in the Facebook Mommy Stories discussion group is that it will help others who have a friend going through a miscarriage, so they know more of why the person may not be opening up about it. Thank you to all of the moms who helped me with this piece.

Here are some reasons why moms do not open up about miscarriages:
  • It's too painful to talk about openly.
  • Because people don't talk about things that are painful very openly anyway, regardless of topic.
  • It's too personal, they don't want to share it publicly. 
  •  "I think the overwhelming disappointment you feel personally you think that others will feel the same disappointment and for me, you want to protect your loved ones from that."
  • I don't want to upset anyone who is currently pregnant, or make them afraid this would happen to them.
  • "I never told anyone because .... it would have felt odd to share the end of something no one had even known had started, especially since I didn't want sympathy."
  • It was so painful, I didn't want to believe it to be true. Denial.
  • Not wanting to upset others.
  • Those who did not announce the pregnancy think it's easier and best for all to just keep the miscarriage quiet also. 
  • Shame, guilt, thinking they caused it.
  • No easy way to bring it up in conversation!
  • Worried about insensitive comments.
  • Just uncomfortable.
  • Wondering if their friends and family even want to hear it, talk about it, because the friends and family don't ask them about it.
  • Thought people would just think I was looking for sympathy... but really I did want that, I wanted people to care.
  • It's traumatic and I don't want to relive it by talking about it, I want to move on, not forget but move past it.
  • It's exhausting... physically and emotionally to go through this, so talking to doctors and parents and my husband was enough. Opening up more than that took a lot of effort I did not have.
"Losing a child I think has the ability to force people to confront their deepest fears. Because what is really scarier in the world to a pregnant mother than losing a child? Even the children who are born safely, dear Lord, every day we send them out into the world with a prayer on our breath to keep them safe. No one wants to survive their children, no one wants to face that deep level of grief and anger, it's practically feral it's so deep."

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"I also wondered if people thought I was just looking for sympathy, which maybe I was, but I just wanted to have it out there, to open that line, because I knew so many before me that had them but they didn't talk openly about it, which made it weird for me to go thru and not really know what to expect!"

"I would imagine if you are trying to get pregnant and miscarry, to share that experience with people means you are telling the world that you are trying to get pregnant and talk about a lot of pressure... if people are not only waiting to hear if you do get pregnant again, but they are also waiting to hear if you miscarry again, that seems like an awful lot of weight to carry on your shoulders. It's pretty incredible to have a group like this where women can ask anonymous questions and get such an amazing outpouring of support. "

However you are feeling, regardless of your reasons for not talking about a miscarriage, know you are not alone, it's normal however you're feeling. With hormones racing through you and confusing emotions, it's bound to be a lot of ups and downs. Be patient with yourself through those feelings. 

For those who have a friend going through a miscarriage, please be patient, wait for them... but at the same time BE THERE. Don't avoid saying something just because you are struggling to find words. Tell them honestly, "I am sorry for what you are going through. I don't know what to say. But I'm here for you. I love you. What can I do?" Something simple helps and goes a long way. 

My goal in publishing these posts and talking SO openly about my own miscarriage these last few weeks is to encourage those who felt unsure about opening up, that they are NOT alone. I think this is just one more thing in motherhood where moms are sometimes afraid to talk about their experience. My hope is that by talking about it, we can realize we aren't alone, that it's nothing to be hiding or ashamed of, that we CAN support one another through it. Things that are not talked about, not grieved, stay with us longer and deeper, sometimes in harmful ways, if we don't share our experiences. My hope is that at least one mom realizes that yes, someone understood her, someone went through something similar to her, and she's not alone. This is a very lonely process to go through, I've found... but the more I talk about it, the more healing I feel. 

Thank you for supporting one another, moms. You are so strong.

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