Did you know that roughly 1 in 4 pregnancies end in miscarriage?
Let’s start with definitions.
We need to remember that miscarriage statistics only account for those losses that occur before the 20th week of pregnancy. Anything after 20 weeks is considered a stillbirth. Either way, this is a staggering number and very traumatic for the mothers and fathers who experience the effects of infant loss.
Many parents rarely get to speak about their miscarriage. It is not culturally acceptable to openly mourn this loss, and people expect you to get over it quickly.
I have a few hypotheses.
Maybe because these parents never had the opportunity to hold their baby it somehow doesn’t count.
Maybe it is easier for society to walk away from miscarriage than to talk about it.
We look past the fact that these parents start to question what caused it, and if there is something wrong with them. The “what if’s” don’t just go away.
We ignore the fact that these parents are at an increased risk of depression and divorce. We avoid all of it because it makes us feel uncomfortable.
Maybe you’ve seen or heard the term “rainbow baby” pop up here and there. Aptly named, these rainbow babies are the promise, the beauty after the storm of miscarriage. Rainbow-colored nursery items and baby clothes are popping up all over the place. As a society, this is about as far as it goes in terms of actual support. This isn’t enough.
We need to talk. And we need to be real.
The major problem, besides the fact that many of us simply don’t know how to communicate or hold space for grieving, is the way we view life. Our current societal standards simply don’t allow for us to properly support these women and men grieving the loss of their unborn child.
Women have the freedom to end the life of their unborn child if they so choose today. This is accepted and is law. The vast majority of these women are not joining miscarriage support groups, talking about the loss of their child, or posting pictures of rainbows online. They make their choice, and as long as everything goes as they planned, they walk away.
A society that supports women during and after a miscarriage would be contradictory. You can’t in one situation talk about having an angel baby, dealing with immense grief, and deciding if you want to try for another baby, but then in another forget a baby ever existed just because the mother decided she no longer wanted her child. That flies in the face of all logic. It contradicts the premise of even being able to offer real support and understanding to parents who’ve experienced miscarriage.
I promise I am not trying to offend anyone. I am simply drawing the logical conclusions of how society functions. My heart hurts for all parents who have experienced the loss of a child, no matter how that loss occurred. I know too many strong, beautiful women who have experienced miscarriage, and I feel that we need to do a better job supporting these women. Our miscarriage statistics are too high, and while the reasons for that are an entirely different story, we need to have this conversation. We need to open up. Support needs to come first. As a society, we can’t do that unless we are willing to acknowledge that unborn life matters.