Breaking the Silence

break the silenceIn recent weeks the topic of miscarriage and infertility has become widespread news; all as a result of social media King, Mark Zuckerman’s astonishing announcement that he too has suffered the pain of recurrent miscarriage with his wife, Priscilla. This highlighted the reality that miscarriage can happen to anyone, and it does! In fact the current statistics state one in four couples have experienced early pregnancy loss.

As an avid social media user, I have seen flurry of blogs, posts and comments arising in the past weeks, sharing stories and experiences and with compassion and empathy.

Whilst the outpour of support and commentary has been encouraging, yet it does make me wonder. Is this purely from those who have associated with similar experiences, and is it really changing anything outside the world of social media.

The challenge with social media is that you are somewhat hidden; protected even. It could be seen as an unreal world where you can say and sometimes do things that you may not in your ‘real life’ friendship circles.

So are we really breaking this ‘taboo’ around miscarriage?

Are people talking more about their experiences? More importantly who is listening?

I was often told that I should not openly share my excitement around that positive pregnancy test. As a couple we were advised to protect ourselves so vehemently in that first trimester, to carry on as if all is well in the world. But wasn’t alright. Each time, in those first thirteen weeks, I experienced an upheaval of emotions, hormones and physical changes. It has to be one of the most stressful times I have personally ever experienced, yet I should hide this? It doesn’t make sense.

When things go wrong, I wanted the support and understanding of those around me; family, friends, colleagues etc. I would much prefer this to complete oblivion or worse still, speculation.

My desire to have my own baby is still strong and my journey is not yet over; but it has been halted by what I prefer to call a ‘medical malfunction’. When I am finally able to start trying again, I would like to be open and honest about my situation. Yet I wonder how much people want to know?

What drives this discomfort in hearing about fertility struggles and early pregnancy loss?

How can we induce a level of comfort in hearing and accepting that a woman or a couple wishes to share this pain out loud?

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  7 comments for “Breaking the Silence

  1. Katie
    August 12, 2015 at 1:01 AM

    It is so true. We have always been encouraged to keep quiet in those fist weeks of pregnancy – just in case!! Rachel is absolutely right. The sharing of both good news and sad needs to be shared so yes, let’s encourage all to be upfront so we can be there for our loved ones in all situations. Keep your wonderful messages of hope coming Rachel. They are an inspiration to all.

  2. August 12, 2015 at 5:43 AM

    I know that if I were to become pregnant that I have thought about not telling everyone in my life just because I know that it would be so difficult to have to tell them if the baby died. The weird part about this is that I have always been a person who shares everything with friends and family. After reading this I wonder how much of this ‘personal decision’ is really just internalization of peer pressure. Thank you for sharing.

  3. Irene
    August 13, 2015 at 3:22 PM

    I’m a born and bread Dutch girl where we’re fortunate to live with a few less taboos. I have shared openly during 5 pregnancies, Im an open person like you, Rachel. The sixth time we kept it quiet though – you know why? Because I saw what it did to my close ones. It broke their heart, the tension, the wait and then each and every time the heart break. I did find that when I DID share, not many people knew how to deal with it anymore. They self-protected as if they shielded themselves from it. It was like they were in denial about it.I felt very alone, many times, but as soon as I needed any advice regarding renovating the house, they were all over us! They just hadn’t a clue how to support on THIS topic.

    My husband is British and while we lived there, I saw the side of the story you are talking about! I think people respond like this to any discomfort.Maybe there’s something instinctive and evolutionary in us that makes us avoid fertility issues and pregnancy loss as if it’s contagious. I think that we ended up as a society in denial about this massive under-the-surface issue for so many couples!
    I think another element is that many people just don’t know how to deal with feelings and this topic certainly stirs up a lot of those! So they pretend they didnt hear and would rather not be confronted with it!!
    My British father-in-law responded to our first loss by saying “you see, thats why many people keep it quiet till they’re 3 months in”. We coulnt believe our ears!! We didn’t share the next few times until he decided he’d rather know and support us…
    Thank you Rachel, for your book (half-way through!), your courage, your inspiration and raising awareness!

  4. Becca
    August 30, 2015 at 3:46 AM

    My husband and I just lost our 2nd baby. I had a D&C today and my heart was shattered. The finality of it is crushing. We only told a few people, and now that our angel is gone I find myself wanting others to know that she existed; even if only for a short while. Already I’ve heard, “just wait a couple months and try again.”

    I go back-and-forth on if we should have told more people, or not? Is it harder for me to deal with comments like that? I don’t know.

    I feel like a part of me has died.

    • Emma
      September 14, 2015 at 11:53 AM

      Hi becca, sorry to hear of your loss. I am currently going through a miscarriage and it’s the hardest and most confusing thing I’ve ever been through! Through the excitement of coming to terms that I was going to be a mommy I told quite a few of my friends and family. I lost my baby on 11/09/15. I was 8 weeks pregnant. Over the last few days I’ve wanted to scream out to everyone that I WAS pregnant and I had lost my baby. I wanted everyone to know that I was going to be a mommy but it had been ripped away from me. I wanted everyone to know the pain and grief I am going through right now. Why should I be ashamed of my baby?! Just because it was only 8 weeks doesn’t make it hurt any less for someone that had made space on their heart for something that will never be there 🙁 My heart truly goes out to anyone that has lost a baby through any stage of their pregnancy or has experienced still birth. Xxx

  5. Christa
    August 30, 2015 at 6:47 AM

    HI Becca. I read your post and it really touched my heart. I lost my daughter when I was 17 weeks along. I know how you feel when you say that you feel like a part of you has died- I feel the same way. If you can- find a perinatal loss support group and share your story with other moms who have had losses. I’ve found more comfort in talking to those who have been through the same experience than I received from friends and family. Often- when you tell friends and family- they dont know what to say- so they’ll say something cliche. If you can get involved with a support group, then you’ll have an outlet where you can talk about your baby with others who can really relate & feel your pain. Hang in there Becca. I acknowledge your little girl, and I acknowledge that you’re her mom.

    • Becca
      August 31, 2015 at 8:24 PM

      Thank you, Christa. I’m very sorry about your daughter; you’re right there are no words to offer someone in this circumstance. I thought about joining a group, but a part of me thought it was all too fresh still, and I thought all I would do is cry while I’m there. Right now Im really worried about my husband because he hasn’t begun to grieve as he’s so worried about me. We are very close, but I’m so fragile that I have no support to give him. I can tell he’s hurting and it breaks my heart.

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