It’s amazing to learn that as many as 40% of women trying to conceive end up having a miscarriage; in some cases, more than one. It’s very common, but not commonly discussed.
“Loss of pregnancy still remains a heavily stigmatized taboo subject, and its impact on a woman’s physical and mental health has been greatly underestimated.”*
Perhaps one of the reasons is that many women have trouble coming to grips with the fact that miscarriage is not their fault. They commonly experience:
- Physical and emotional pain
- Fear for the next time
- Longing for a healthy pregnancy
- Flashbacks, nightmares of what they’ve felt, seen, and heard
- A loss that took place at home
- An emergency surgery that took place at a hospital
- Learning after the fact that certain symptoms amounted to a miscarriage
- Shoulders that have been offered you to lean on during the toughest of times
- The love and care by a partner and family
- The emptiness that persists well after the loss
Any of these, plus more, are valid, real, and an experience that unfortunately took place inside the body. Everyone’s pregnancy journey is different. Whether you keep it private or share with others, that’s entirely up to you.
There’s no right or wrong answer.
These are real life experiences that can be full of shock, sadness, grief, despair, gratefulness, sincerity, hope, and an endless number of feelings and emotions.
You, the person who has endured the pain, emotional – physical – mental, are strong. The pain and emotional rollercoaster of one doctor appointment after another, constant blood draws, cramping that simply felt unbearable, endless tears shed…
Your loved ones also have experienced this pain, on a similar but different level. Remember the pain scale? If you feel comfortable reflecting, where did your pain fall on it? 8 or 10? Pain can come and go or remain static.
After having friends experience this tragedy, I thinks it is very important to bring more awareness to miscarriage.
The statistics are staggering. The impact is staggering.
The physical aspect of miscarriage is just part of the struggle. “It should be emphasized that the physical consequences of miscarriage have been researched extensively, but psychological sequelae less so.”*
“First-person accounts around the world show that women who have experienced miscarriage feel pressured to stay silent, to grieve, and to fight intense physical and psychological challenges alone.”*
I support the collective working to change that stigma.
Through research and studies conducted in 2021-2022, the link is there amplifying miscarriage and its link to physical and mental health disorders. One may experience*:
- Complicated grief
- Post-traumatic stress (PTSD) – prevalence has been estimated to affect 25-29% of women “with symptom severity similar to other traumatized populations”
To better understand PTSD, my interview – Stanford expert explains PTSD – with Dr. Debra Kaysen, can be accessed at this link.
I interviewed a highly respected OB/GYN in the United States who stated it is close to 40% of pregnancies that result in miscarriage. The statistic she shared was for all ages. She stated that over the age of 40 the percentage gradually increases.
Through our social pockets there are many ways individuals (the one trying to conceive, their partners, family, friends) choose to handle the experience and the steps they take afterwards.
If you are in need of online resources a few include:
Other resources may be available via both your health insurance provider and your medical group.
For those that prefer to keep it close to home, I encourage you to open up to someone you trust. Someone that is non-judgmental, offers unconditional love and support, and is a good listener.
I hope that this leaves you filled with encouragement, more support, and a bit of relief that miscarriage isn’t only happening to you, your baby, and your dreams.
It is a medical experience that is simply less spoken about.
I can’t quite comprehend why that is, can you?
Miscarriage is known to be such a painful, often times ‘nothing you could have done could have prevented it’, big question mark in the woman’s mind.
If we can join forces, offer support to one another and let this taboo subject flow into healthy conversations – I see it only benefiting women’s mental, physical and emotional health.
*Kukulskienė M, Žemaitienė N. Postnatal Depression and Post-Traumatic Stress Risk Following Miscarriage. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2022; 19(11):6515. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19116515
**Statistic provided by a board-certified Obstetrician/Gynecologist providing patient care in the United States.
Coming next: Health is my #1 priority – Is it yours?