Well, for starters and the most obvious reason – writing is therapeutic. My own losses are still fresh enough (can you believe my hCG levels are STILL not back to normal yet?!) that I do get relief from spilling my guts from time to time.
But it isn’t just about me and my own healing. I am very fortunate (or unfortunate as the case may be) to have the support of family and friends who have also experienced miscarriage and can relate to my experience. I am additionally fortunate to have a loving and supportive partner who listens to me when I have a particularly bad day. But not all of us are so privileged.
There are a lot of us. I have found statistics that put the rate of miscarriage in the U.S. at anywhere from 25% to 33%. That’s a lot of women losing babies. And pregnancy loss does not discriminate. It affects women who are white and black, rich and poor, highly educated and illiterate. It can affect a childless woman during her first pregnancy and a woman with four children during her fifth pregnancy. (I do not dispute any evidence that pregnancy outcomes are worse for disadvantaged women, my point is that any woman of any race from any walk of life can lose a pregnancy without notice or obvious reason.)
It happens so very frequently and yet is something that, generally speaking, is not openly talked about much. We are not supposed to talk about it. As soon as the bleeding stops or the D&C is done we are expected to forget it ever happened and move on with our lives as though it were just another period or a procedure not much unlike the removal of a wart on the hand.
This is particularly true for women who have living children. Our grief is invalidated. Our cries silenced because “What are you complaining about? You have children. Why don’t you just get over it and focus on that?”
The loss is real. The grief is real. It is lasting. And I will not be silent.
I write to give voice to those who cannot speak without their feelings being invalidated. I write for those who cannot or will not, for whatever reason, write for themselves. I am not so pretentious as to claim to know what all women feel, for we all experience loss differently and process it uniquely in our own due time, but I write to pay homage to all my sisters in pregnancy loss and to honor and validate their experiences.
For if I speak, if I am heard, if I create awareness that this is indeed real, then perhaps any woman who suffers silent grief, whether as a fresh all-consuming wound or as an ever-present ghost in the furthermost crevice of her mind, might raise her voice and say out loud:
I feel sad. I feel lost. I feel hopeless. I feel scared.
My baby would have born this month. My baby would have turned four this month. My baby would have turned 40 this month... And I grieve anew every year at this time.
I mourn the baby I never had the chance to hold and hug, laugh with and delight in. Yes I love the children I have… But I also love the children I didn’t have.
And the people she from whom she most needs support, rather than saying “Get over it” will respond with empathy and love and warmth.
Be aware. Starting this year, this October, this Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month, try to be sensitive, and just be aware.
This post is part of a series I am writing for Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month that I am calling PILAM 2010. I will be writing about pregnancy loss periodically throughout the month of October. As posts are added to the series I will add the links on all applicable posts.
My intro to PILAM 2010 is October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month and includes resources in the Las Vegas area.
For reasons on why I am writing about pregnancy loss, see Why I write about miscarriage.
For ideas on ways to commemorate Pregnancy and Infant Loss Rememberance Day, see What Can You Do.
A poem commemorating Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day is posted for October 15, 2010
My post October 15th weekend wrap-up is at Picture Thursday.