Losing a child means carrying an almost unbearable grief, experienced by many but talked about by few. – Meghan Markle
Loss of any kind has an impact but losing a child you never met is filled with despair, sadness, and an inexplicable void that is difficult to explain. Whether it is a natural miscarriage or more traumatic, the thought that your body failed you during the miracle of holding life is sufficient to challenge a woman’s emotional, mental and physical well being. Despite being told, it’s not your fault or there was nothing you could have done to change the outcome, you may still feel shame or guilt from an unpredictable loss.
Miscarriages happen to more women than we think, or know. However, it seems the subject has taken a strange form of taboo, similar to those that come with the bad things that happen to women in society. Quiet suffering has become the norm under many of circumstance. Personally, I chose to remain silent, whether, out of embarrassment or fear? I’m not really sure. However, the decision to keep the loss a secret brought temporary struggles. A woman’s hush mourning takes place in a shower, at night when no one is watching, all to avoid the dreadful, “I’m sorry this happened to you.” The sentiment is appreciated but how can anyone understand the pain unless they have experienced it themselves?
It is estimated that close to 20% of miscarriages occur prior to Week 20 of a confirmed pregnancy. Spontaneous abortions are tough to track, therefore, only estimates can be provided for the number of women experiencing the loss. The count is likely to be higher since many women miscarry before they know they are with child. Explanations for the undoing vary from it being a body’s natural way of rejecting the abnormalities in a fetus to hormonal or physical disorders.
Chrissy Teigen has shared her heartbreaking story of the loss of her third child. More recently, Meghan Markle openly discussed her experience with miscarriage in a NY Times Opinion piece. The difficult task of allowing the world into such a private moment is very painful, so why do it? Is it possible that sharing a story to help another woman feel less alone in her journey, makes it worthwhile? Miscarriage is a real life loss for women. How you deal with your pain and suffering is up to you, as is the choice of who to share your hurt with.
I believe our mission as women is to support and empower one another. We are bound by a lot of our experiences and it is important to create a safe space free of judgment, instead promote compassion to help alleviate pain. There is incredible power in sharing our story to encourage another woman’s healing.
It is important to understand that miscarriage is common, not a sign of failure, doesn’t mean you can’t have a healthy pregnancy and is absolutely not something that can be forgotten, as if nothing happened. The experience is unique to each expectant mother, so is the way in which she manages her recovery. What do you do when you are on the outside looking into this woman’s affliction? Show kindness, remind her to give herself permission to talk about it. If time doesn’t heal, some consolation may be found in the release of emotions that can derive from a purge.
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