Miscarriage – Breaking the taboo
After my miscarriage, most family and friends choose to never talk about it and react as if I was never pregnant in the first place. I not only felt the experience of loss was denied but also my introduction to motherhood was. Some of my friends and family tried to comfort me by telling me“It’s for the best. You wouldn’t have wanted an unhealthy baby. You’ll be pregnant again before you know it.”
I trust they all had good intentions and I also think their reaction comes from their own believe and experience with lost and how they dealt with it. Denying and rationalizing are 2 of the most common ways to cope with strong negative emotions. Intentions aside, miscarriage is a traumatic experience and neither denying nor rationalizing this experience will promote its resolution.
Many serious scientific studies have shown miscarriage will affect women’s mental health, 25% of women had a post-traumatic stress disorder a month later and 7% of them still have it after four months. Many women suffer from moderate-to-severe anxiety and just a few have depression. Psychological distress is present in 44% of women who experienced a miscarriage in the first trimester with symptoms’ like depression, panic attacks, flashbacks, nightmares, and anxiety.
There is a dissonance between one’s experience of miscarriage and how society perceives this experience. How often the message we get from friends and family is “that it’s not so bad, maybe even a good thing, and that we need to get over it.”
The aftermath of a miscarriage can be complex and have even some layers hidden in the subconscious mind shaping our behaviors. We are not always aware were our anxiety comes from or why are we dissociating. It becomes even more difficult when the emotional experience of the miscarriage is denied or its effects are not well understood by family, friends and health care practitioners.
If you also had a miscarriage please remember it is real and it is big. Allow yourself to have the mental health care you need and understand you are going through a profound pain – the pain of losing a child!
It is time to break the taboo and talk honestly about miscarriage, acknowledging women’s experience and it’s the aftermath. It is so important to listen to and being present with one another in truth and compassion.