Miscarriage is a horrible word. It’s an accepted word of our infertility vernacular, but in meaning, it’s cruel.
As if women everywhere are carrying things wrong, and they’re dying. Like this is a mistake that is happening all the time, all over the world, to every kind of woman. I can tell you with confidence that any woman who has had a miscarriage still has a little voice inside her saying maybe it was her fault after all, no matter how hard the science.
A friend of mine refers to this simply as a “loss.” It was annoying at first, because I felt like she was pushing against my vocabulary, of what I had been experiencing myself for a year. But eventually, I understood. Mis-carriage. Pregnancy loss. Maybe she just doesn’t blame herself. That must be nice.
Miscarriage was about survival.
How much of myself can remain intact? And after another one? I suffered three losses in less than two years. Even though we were discussing options, I think I would have tried again if I’d had a fourth. My hope was strong and I was more than blind to the psychological repercussions my infertility was having on me. If I close my eyes and watch my memories like a miscarriage montage, I can see how depressed and isolated I really was. It’s been several years, so now I have perspective.
With pregnancy, there is a whole community waiting to welcome you.
You can have almost any kind of pregnancy, and there is another woman out there, someone you probably know, who is going through the same thing you are.
With pregnancy loss, you are plunged into loneliness. There is no expectation that you need to mourn. There is no expectation that you should talk about it, or that others need to talk to you about it. And who are you going to talk with? There is no sorority. When people do find out, they’re not going to engage this as a topic of conversation. And what if they say the wrong thing? I’ve done this. I get it. Our culture doesn’t teach us how to engage in the sadness of others. It’s awkward.
But if there was a death in your family, no one would pretend like nothing is happening.
This is different. It’s not a baby; it’s the idea of a baby. At least that’s what others will view this as. It’s not what was yours, it’s what could have been. And it’s over now, so you should be okay. Elders will tell you they’ve had them. Give some advice. Tell you what to do right next time. What to eat. How much to exercise. So that you don’t mis-carry another time.
Life goes on. Friends and family who announced their pregnancies with full expectation of my joy were asking more than they knew of me. They meant no harm, but yes, every time was too much. Their world kept turning, but my timeline was stagnant. Multiple pregnancies aligned with mine and then suddenly, not. Other babies born while mine were dead.
Everyone knows someone who’s had a miscarriage, but no one will talk about it.
If you are going through this, you are not alone. So many women weep the loss of what should have been. You are not alone.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Janki Mody is a teacher, performer, and pregnancy loss advocate. She is the mother of two energetic and cuddly boys. Earlier this year she performed a solo show about her struggles with infertility and pregnancy loss, entitled The MTHFR Gene: Evidence of a Uterus in Crisis. She will be performing her second solo show this winter as part of the Fillet of Solo Festival Chicago.