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Miscarriage and Me

Miscarriage as defined by Wikipedia: Miscarriage, also known as spontaneous abortion and pregnancy loss, is the natural death of an embryo or fetus before it is able to survive independently. Some use the cutoff of 20 weeks of gestation, after which fetal death is known as a stillbirth. The most common symptom of a miscarriage is vaginal bleeding with or without pain. Sadness, anxiety and guilt often occur afterwards. Tissue and clot-like material may leave the uterus and pass through and out of the vagina. When a woman keeps having miscarriages, infertility is present. After reading the definition, I am struck with my own old feelings of grief, anguish, and fear.

It has been eleven years since my last miscarriage. I have had time to work through my experiences, and fortunately was able to have two successful pregnancies resulting in my beautiful and brilliant daughters. Yet, the feeling of dread I had when I realized I was suddenly bleeding down my legs at 10 weeks in my first pregnancy is something I will never forget. I vaguely remember being rushed to the ER by my aunt, as my neighbor frantically called my husband at work. All I could focus on was keeping our baby. Willing the blood to stop. Of course, that did not happen. I am a strong-willed person, but nothing could stop what nature had put into motion.

For women who know they’re pregnant, about 10 to 15 in 100 pregnancies (10 -15%) end in miscarriage in the United States, according to the March of Dimes. Miscarriages can also happen before the woman is aware she is pregnant and might be misinterpreted as a particularly difficult menstrual cycle, rather than a very early miscarriage. Our society does not talk about miscarriages much, but they do happen to many women each year in our country and around the world. The women having miscarriages are our sisters, best friends, neighbors, co-workers, cousins, and me.

With a miscarriage comes lost dreams and missed hopes for that tiny little human, even though s/he never had a chance to fully develop. It is amazing how within seconds after you find out you are pregnant with a very wanted pregnancy, how quickly your mind races. Will it be a boy or girl? What color eyes will the baby have? Will the baby laugh like his daddy? Will she love to dance like me? The sorrow and sadness that follows a miscarriage is real and valid. We might not talk about it, but it is happening.

I encourage you to be open to listening. Open to discussing and addressing the mental heaviness left behind, after the blood and clots are gone, when the hopes and dream for that little human are laid to rest. It can be difficult, but many of our sisters need a shoulder to lean on and a ear open to hear about the pain. My miscarriages are pieces of experiences that ultimately make me the person I am today. Embracing each other in times of trouble is how we grow and evolve as people.

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