The Taboo of Being in the 20%
There’s a giant pink elephant in the middle of the world for some of you right now.
It’s called October.
As many of you know, October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month.
And it’s hard.
And we don’t talk about it. No one EVER talks about it.
But I’m going to- because it’s important to not feel alone.
National statistics report that 15-20% of all clinically recognized pregnancies end in miscarriage each year. That’s roughly 1 in 5.
One. In. Five.
And yet, while many of us have walked this road through miscarriage hell, we STILL don’t talk about it.
And it gets worse.
Of that 20% of us- 47% of us feel guilt…as if we’ve done something wrong, 28% feel ashamed and 41% feel alone.
(according to Dr. Zev Williams, director of the Program for Early and Recurrent Pregnancy Loss at Albert Einstein College of Medicine and Montefiore Health System.)
And we STILL don’t talk about it.
“Because there is a degree of self blame and guilt, people don’t want to talk about it. The effect of THAT is people feel really isolated and alone when it happens to them.” (Also, Dr. Williams.)
Yet, in that same study, it was mentioned that 46% of participants said they felt less alone when a friend revealed that they,too, had a miscarriage.
AND WE STILL DON’T TALK ABOUT IT.
So, here it is.
I am part of that 1 in 5.
I don’t talk about it because I feel that shame, the guilt, the loss of control, the grief, the desperation.
And I have no reason to feel any of that.
My body simply was not made to carry a child. I did nothing wrong. I had no part in it. It just happened.
I didn’t just lose a pregnancy.
I lost everything that comes with it.
Family pictures, Christmas mornings, the first day of school, baby blessings, baptisms, prom, graduation…
And it sucks. I get that.
I still cry sometimes. I still get mad and sad and hurt.
And you know what?
Now, I can’t fix it for you, nor would I want to. You have to heal in your own time, in your own way.
I can’t promise that I can make the storm go away, but I can promise that I will walk with you through the rain.
And when you’ve healed enough, you need to do the same thing.
We need to be an army of women who help one another through this journey.
For those of you that are reading that haven’t suffered through this- I’d like to offer you some advice on how to be helpful to those loved ones that experience infant loss and/or miscarriages.
* Acknowledge the Loss
* Don’t worry about saying the right thing…or maybe, don’t say anything at all.
* Let them take the lead. They’ll talk when they’re ready.
* Don’t give them success stories- no one wants to hear that when they’re struggling.
* Support what’s necessary to break down the social stigma surrounding miscarriage and infant loss.
Now, back to the 20%.
You are not alone.
You are not at fault.
You are not guilty, broken, worthless, invisible or any other thing you’ve been telling yourself.
It’s simply not true.
But let’s not sit aside and brush this under the rug anymore.
I promise you that I will talk about it.
I promise you that I will stand up for those of the 20% who simply cannot stand up for themselves.
You can cry on my shoulder.
I will cry with you and feed you chocolate.
I will love you through it.
You know why?
Because I’m part of that 20% too…and you’re not alone. Ever.