Before I was a mother, I do not think I was a very sensitive person. I could politely deliver sympathies and have a heart-to-heart without skipping a beat, but I rarely truly mourned with others when experiencing something difficult. Pregnancy and birth broadened my horizons in many ways, including my intentions with those around me. For me, there were certain topics I could not understand in depth before having my own child. The best and most relevant example of this in my life right now is miscarriage.
Just to be clear, I have not personally experienced a miscarriage. I have more friends than I want to count who have unfortunately lost their babies in the past few months, and it feels relevant to me because it’s all around me. I remember the first time I heard the words “I lost the baby” when I was expecting mine in just a few weeks. The gravity of what that meant for my friend hit me wave after wave, continually crushing my heart as I thought about my own baby, fully formed and perfect, about to enter the world.
For the mother, she knew her baby, at whatever stage, was going to grow into an infant. The DNA was there. All the attributes, characteristics and personal details of the baby’s makeup were all there. He or she was equal parts the mother and the father, something they created together. I can’t imagine growing a baby to any stage and finding out they wont grow another day. I don’t mean to be dismal or depressing, but I feel we don’t have a grip on the magnitude of miscarriage for the parents and families going through them. After all, it is a loss! It’s a loss of life, and parents need support in the same way we all do when a loved one passes away.
When a parent, grandparent or relative dies, the community mourns with the family experiencing the loss. People send flowers, deliver meals, extend kind words and offer their help in any way. When a woman has a miscarriage, I don’t feel the same support is given even though she is grieving. Often there is no funeral or “goodbye,” just a sense of “get over it and try again.” We need to realize that every conception is an individual, and parents who lose a baby don’t try again and forget about the baby lost. It doesn’t matter if a child is two weeks in the womb or 2 years old; it was still a baby someone was looking forward to meeting.
I don’t think every woman feels this way or wants attention post-miscarriage, but the understanding of the loss and the acceptance of that being a life-altering event for some is important. I don’t want any woman to feel she has to silently mourn the loss of her child and put on a happy face and say, “It’s OK; it was still the first trimester. It’s very common. We will try again.” She should have the freedom to express her sadness in the real way it is manifested in her life, because she has been through something traumatic! Motherhood bonds us in so many ways, and this area should not be the exception.
This is not a controversial post. This is on my mind because I had another friend share her very recent loss with me today. This is important to me because my husband and I grew our baby, and we can’t imagine life without her in it. Just because we as a society may not meet many of the babies conceived, doesn’t mean we can’t recognize the end of their little lives. Like I said, becoming a mom has upped the ante on my sensitivity, and I truly have experienced heartbreak alongside my friends and their husbands who recently lost a baby.
I write this to charge you as the reader with a task to really be there for the next woman you encounter whom has experienced a miscarriage. Be intentional with your kindness and your love for others. This is an area where you don’t want to know what it’s like before trying to support someone through it. And above all, be thankful for your healthy, happy babies! They are gifts.