Miscarriage Doesn’t Have to Be a Secret

Miscarriage. A shameful and embarrassing word, implying that a woman failed to carry her child. The dictionary definition is “failure to attain the just, right, or desired result.” The prefix “mis” is attached to a word to signify “ill,” “mistaken,” “wrong,” or “incorrect.” The two most well known phrases with the word are a miscarriage of a baby and a miscarriage of justice — both have equally negative connotations with the same outcome: an absolute travesty.

Before I started trying to get pregnant I thought miscarriage only happened to women in car accidents or bad falls. Then I started reading about how common it happened, for no understood reasons. And how women should wait to tell anyone when they got pregnant, in case the pregnancy were to simply go away.

All the many pregnancy books and blogs I read advise a woman and her partner to wait until the second trimester to announce a pregnancy (or at the absolute least, two months). Why? Because if something happens to the baby, their family and friends won’t be any the wiser. While I do agree there are a couple of pros to this practice, I believe the cons far outweigh the pros.

First off, you read about pregnancy loss being a possibility, but unless people have shared their losses with you, you might not think it is very likely it could happen to you. When I became pregnant, I did not know of anyone who had suffered this tragic loss (or so I thought). I thought it was one of those things that happened to a small percentage of unhealthy or unlucky women. It surely wouldn’t happen to ME. I was terrified every single time my U/S tech or midwife searched for my baby’s heartbeat, but every appointment confirmed a perfectly healthy little girl. Deep down I was worried of the possibility, but I felt it was unlikely – I am a very healthy person overall, under 35, and was doing everything right in pregnancy.

So you can imagine my horror at 13 weeks pregnant when I delivered my daughter in the ER. I know there is nothing I could possibly have done any differently to prevent this from happening, but I could have avoided being completely blindsided. I could have avoided being so traumatized I had to take a leave of absence from work. I could have avoided the PTSD I get every time I experience vaginal bleeding. All of this could have been lessened or avoided if people could just talk about it. And I’m not blaming women and their partners for not talking about it – it’s devastatingly painful and sometimes it’s just too hard. I just wish things could be different for them so they didn’t have to bear that pain alone. I wish healthcare practitioners and pregnancy authors would stop advising against talking about it, because it makes us feel that miscarriage is a shameful word.

When my husband and I told our families what happened, a number of people shared their own losses with us. We were shocked to find out so many women had gone through this, some even farther along than I was and some experiencing the loss multiple times in a row. I am so glad I have the support of my loved ones, and don’t have to keep my daughter a secret. I can’t imagine bearing that pain alone, and not sharing her with our loved ones. She should be celebrated and grieved. The world should know the utter joy she gave us, even for only 3 months.

So I am here to share that I had a miscarriage, that I know it wasn’t my fault, and that I’m not ashamed, just utterly heartbroken and grieving the loss of my sweet baby girl, Jillian Eliana Forbes.

My daughter at 12 weeks gestation
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