Why We Need to Speak OUt About OUr Babies
One of the hardest days of the year for a mother overcoming the loss of her child is Mother's Day. While all the other moms are being celebrating and adored, the grieving mom sits in the shadows fighting tears and swallowing her anger at the injustice of it all. She holds her stomach and feels a deep hole. Instead of a baby growing inside or newborn in her arms, she holds the pain of mourning her long lost child.
Many people are sensitive to the mother who lost her child in a swimming accident. Most people tread carefully around the mother who lost her child to cancer. But one mom often goes unnoticed and under the radar of other moms on Mother's Day.
She is the miscarriage survivor.
The miscarriage survivor may never tell another soul she is suffering. She may never let on she is only trying to survive the day. She smiles and nods and wishes the other moms a happy Mother's Day. She listens as the other moms brag on their kids and husbands for bringing them breakfast in bed or buying them flowers. And over and over again that day, the grieving mom sits in silent suffering. No one knows she lost her baby. No one knows she's a mommy just like everyone else.
Maybe you're that mom. Maybe instead of holding your precious child in your arms, you hold him in your heart. If you are, know you are not alone.
Did you know 1 in 4 pregnancies end in miscarriage? Twenty-five percent of women who conceive lose their little ones in the first trimester. Of course you know this. If you're a miscarriage survivor these statistics are nothing new to you. They scream at you everywhere you go. You look on with jealousy at the other three women who were pregnant at the same time as you who got to carry their little ones full term. You hear them talk about their babies constantly, and although you would never wish the pain of miscarriage on anyone, you wonder, "Why did I have to be the one to lose my baby?"
But how do you know you really aren't alone? It kills me to right this next sentence but here it goes....
Miscarriage is common. It happens to so many women. But here's another fact: Miscarriage is silent. Meaning, most women who suffer a miscarriage never tell someone else about their loss.
Many reasons lie behind this truth. The mothers who've never gone through a miscarriage don't always offer the best encouragement or comfort which makes us feel isolated and insecure. They make comments in an effort to be comforting but the words fall short or just come out plain insulting. I had one friend tell me that I probably just needed to get "it" (Was she referring to the miscarriage as the "it" or to my baby as the "it"?) out of my system before I could have a healthy baby.
Trying to comfort me by downplaying my loss only made the pain worse. She wasn't trying to be mean. I honestly believe she was trying to console me. But the fact of the matter was she didn't know how. Her attempt at comfort made me feel like I had some sort of disease or that my baby was the disease. No one can understand or empathize our pain fully unless they've gone through it themselves. But, I do believe part of the problem is not enough of us who've gone through this have spoken up about it. Not enough of us have been open and honest and raw about the pain, the gritty details, and the emotional toll we and our husbands face.
When I had my miscarriage, suddenly other women in my inner circle of friends and family came out of the shadows to tell me they lost a child due to miscarriage too. I would have never known. They never said a thing. They were the ones who were able to comfort me the most and tell me my pain was real and my baby deserved to be grieved. They would have been the ones I would have called out to first had I known they'd been through this tragedy. But I didn't know. So in the beginning, the ones I sought comfort from were the ones who couldn't comfort me the way I needed. (If you need some comfort right now click here.)
I often wonder what our world would be like if we -- the miscarriage survivors -- became more outspoken about the babies we lost. What if we didn't care about the taboo society has put on miscarriage, infertility, and infant loss. What if we swallowed our insecurities and shame about the miscarriage being our fault and instead stood in courage to shout our babies' story from the rooftops. What if we embraced the pain we suffered and channeled it into a greater good. A bigger cause?
Could our openness and honesty make a change?
If we spoke often of the babies we never got to hold and the love we have for them, would the lives of unborn children be held more sacred? Would more women think about the price of pain and sorrow to be paid for choosing to end their pregnancies? Would more effort be put into research of how to better treat a sick baby in the womb versus how to get rid of the baby? Would the world be more educated to be able to offer better comfort to us?
I know of one mother who told me when she suffered her miscarriage the doctor kept saying fetus whenever he'd reference her baby and she wanted to strangle the doctor and scream, "Call my baby a baby. I just lost my baby!"
With the pain and grief of miscarriage being swept under the rug, society doesn't know any better. Not until we talk about the in and outs of miscarriage from our personal experiences will the world know differently. It's up to us to show them. It's up to us to enlighten the world of the impact our little angel babies made on our lives in the short time they were in our womb. It's up to us to give our babies a voice to tell their story. If we don't, nothing will change. If we remain silent, so does the truth.
We are mothers and we will always carry our babies in our hearts forever.