TRIGGER WARNING – MISCARRIAGE
When I heard the news that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex (can we still call them that?) had lost a baby back in the summer, and Meghan had written about it, I wasn’t quite sure what to think. There were initial thoughts of ‘if you want to be private, why are you sharing something so detailed and intimate?’ But when I read through the article, and then saw just how much coverage the article, and topic in general, was getting across the media, I realised just how sharing this was good thing after all.
I think the statistics are that one in four women suffer from a miscarriage. And I am that one in four. I have three sisters, and two of us have experienced this. For something so common, why don’t we talk about it more?
I had a miscarriage back in July 2018. My daughter was about to ‘graduate’ from preschool to big school, and I had to go to her ‘graduation’ the very next day, after being at the the hospital, alone, until 2am. Life carries on, even when you are feeling so terrible, and you just want to cry a lot and then sleep for a week. Family were told, and I had siblings getting in touch with me, sending flowers and other lovely things. Although it wasn’t about the stuff, it was just once to know that people cared and knew how sucky this whole thing is. Even the ones that hadn’t experienced it themselves, just let me know that I was loved.
Some family members just avoided the topic, so I presume that they didn’t know. They did know, it turned out, which made it feel worse. Reach out. Just send a message. There is no right thing to say, but the silence around miscarriage really is deafening.
Miscarriage feels like a secret club.
When I felt more able to talk about it without crying, I told some friends, or it just came up in conversation. Then what do you know? I found out others had miscarried too. Miscarriage is like a secret club, where none of you actually want to be members. But once you’re in the club, you have a shared life experience. Everyone’s experience will be different, of course, but the grief and loss is something that you won’t ever forget.
At twelve weeks, I miscarried in the hospital waiting room, in pain, begging to just be let home. There were no beds or rooms for me to wait in. I was quietly sobbing to myself, sat next to some girls from a hockey club with one girl who’d broken her leg, a rugby player with a head injury, a dad with a son, and some elderly couples. Feeling the pain of the baby leaving me was painful in more ways than one. The image of what I found in my underwear will never leave me. So tiny, but gone.
Regardless of what you think of the Royals or Meghan and Harry, I applaud them for being so open to talk about such a sensitive topic. It needs to be talked about more, because there is such an isolating and lonely feeling when you are experiencing a miscarriage. It feels like a topic that we can’t talk about, but really, it is something that shouldn’t be a secret, and doesn’t need to be a secret. It is something that sadly happens quite often. Even if you haven’t experienced it, having more people speak out about it can hopefully help you to know what to say or kind of understand what someone is experiencing. Even just reaching to say you’re thinking of them can make a difference.
As Meghan described in her article, taking about it helps. Asking someone if they are OK helps. Reaching out, even if you don’t get a reply to your message or all that they want to do is to literally just want to cry down the phone to you. I’m glad Meghan Markle wrote about her miscarriage. Let it be a taboo subject no more.