DISCLAIMER: THIS IS NOT A HUMOROUS PIECE. (Listen, I know that I am hilarious, but we can’t be funny ALL of the time.) (I mean, I guess I could be, but I gotsta be real, yo’.)
They always say “you can never, truly, understand (an event, a tragedy, etc.), until it happens to you.” Heartbreakingly, truer words were never spoken.
I had a miscarriage.
In hindsight, I should have known something was off, but I just chalked it up to being as “they” say-that every pregnancy is different. In the two weeks that I knew I was pregnant, I was filled with overwhelming joy, but also with a type of rage that can only be caused by a hormonal imbalance. No, I wasn’t suddenly bipolar, but I WAS being affected by hormones that were not normal-even for a pregnant lady. Even though I was, in the words of my sister, “cray-cray”, I was still hopeful for my pregnancy. Then, on Saturday morning, I started to bleed. I sat on the toilet and I knew. You know how you just “know”? Well, I knew. So I went to the hospital and had it confirmed.
Miscarriages happen every day. I have had many friends that have had miscarriages. It is not something new, and our responses to learning about a miscarriage are usually the same. We all give the empathetic “I’m so sorry”. However, now I know what my friends knew- that there is an underlying inability that we have to *truly* be empathetic, until we have gone through it ourselves. It’s a pity-filled sorry-a sorry in which you could maybe imagine the pain, instead of an “I know exactly how you’re feeling, I’ve gone through it” sorry.
My first experience with this was when I was in the hospital being “diagnosed” with the miscarriage. My young resident Doctor offered her obligatory “I’m sorry”, but you could literally FEEL her lack of true empathy, and instead you could feel her thick, pity-filled condolence. However frustrating this may be, it is obviously not the persons fault.
My point of this is to say that I don’t think that talking about miscarriage is taboo, like some articles have suggested. Rather, I think it is hard to talk about because of the lack of TRUE empathy that people are able to have. When a person dies, it is sad, and people are able to empathize because everyone has lost SOMEONE or has been to a funeral. You don’t usually feel the same type of discomfort when you tell someone that a friend or family member has passed away. However, when a baby dies in a woman’s stomach, it seems to be the most uncomfortable conversation to have. Yes, it is sad, like when ANYone passes away. However, when a miscarriage happens, not only is it devastatingly sad for the woman (and/or couple) but it is also extremely lonely. It’s lonely because only half the population even has the ability to understand what you’re going through, and then only a third of them have gone through it.
When I tell my (short) story to those who inquire, the person on the other end of the conversation may have no way of knowing how hard it is to go through, how devastating, lonely, and disappointing that it truly is. If I’m telling a man, they will absolutely have no idea what it is like to have a baby die in your tummy. An egg dies every month and they have no idea how hard THAT is, let alone an egg that has been fertilized and is ready to grow into a full-fledged person. If I’m telling a woman, they have either gone through it, or they haven’t, and it is in those differences that the loneliness can take hold.
I am lucky enough to have a large support system, in which there are many truly empathetic women who are able to listen to my story and who are able to share their stories with me as well. So, my loneliness was short lived, though it still comes and goes. However, many aren’t as lucky as me. Speaking as one only can from a real experience, I have had friends that have told me of their miscarriages previously, and I had no real idea of how they felt, I could only imagine it and I imagined it as a lot easier than it actually is. Now, I know how lonely and sad they must have truly felt underneath their false bravado and sad smiles. That’s the great thing about the internet, though. A person only has to go as far as their phone or their computer to find friends who can empathize. So, my advice to you is to share your story, so that others don’t have to feel lonely for even a second. Be the friend that had one first. Be the friend that I was glad to have, and the friend that I am going to be. The more we talk about it, the less lonely we all have to be.
Whether you have been trying for a baby for years, or for three months, a miscarriage is hard. It is hard physically AND emotionally and I hope that you don’t have to go through it, but if you do, please know that you are not alone. By simply talking about it and sharing your pain, you may be surprised by who will share their pain with you. Pain is easier to bear when you know that you are not alone.