I spoke up about my own miscarriage a week or so after our ordeal; Syrian refugees were dying in the Mediterranean trying to reach safety and I was struggling to cope with my loss and understand the loss of so many people I didn’t know – people whose mother’s experience a miracle just to keep them alive until birth, never mind afterwards.
At that time, if I didn’t start to talk about my miscarriage, it would have eaten me alive. I couldn’t sit pretty. I couldn’t just act normal and “get over it” as much as I tried to.
So, I opened up. I told my family first and later I mentioned it matter-of-factly when writing a Facebook post on how we are all miracles just to be alive and that we should do what we can to help the refugees.
Pretty soon my inbox was full of messages from friends and family saying how sorry they were. No one called me, though, just sent messages. Understandably, that was easier for them. My partner and I were surprised that some close friends and family members acknowledged it but didn’t ever want to talk about it again. We were met with “I thought you had got over that already”. We felt a bit let down by that. I guess they have their own story, and we try not to dwell on that too much.
However, the most surprising and upsetting thing about it was that many friends had experienced the same thing!
They didn’t want to openly share their story but were happy to lend a sympathetic ear to me. I couldn’t believe it. My friends, even relatives, had felt too ashamed to talk about what they went through. How did it get that way?
I felt so much stronger after letting it out and I was back to work and functioning normally (on the outside) within a week. I thought of myself as some sort of warrior for getting through it. For compartmentalising. For taking control. For seeking counsel (I’m still seeing a counsellor every fortnight so that I am doing all I can to get myself strong enough to start trying for a family again) and learning to say no when I wasn’t strong enough. I was proud of myself – the Alpha Female - putting the saying “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” to practise.
However, speaking out came with its drawbacks. To some, it made me look weak – the opposite of how I felt after all my hard work at lifting myself out of bed. Someone I love is currently going through the same thing and when I talk about it with others I get comments such as “yes but you took yours really badly, she’s a lot stronger than you, she’ll be fine, she’ll get over it quicker than you”. It breaks my heart. It’s my Achilles heel; “you took it badly”. It makes me feel like the strength I mustered (with every part of my being and more) wasn’t even noticeable, that I’m not strong after all that effort. It takes me right back to day one of the recovery process.
And, worst of all, it shows there is still a stigma for woman to “get over it” as quickly as possible.
Thank you, Tommys, for trying to change that.
* I just wanted to hat tip to my partner; he is wonderful, supportive, empathetic and we went through all the emotions together. I couldn’t have coped without him. He has his own story to tell.
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By Anonymous (not verified) on 9 Jul 2016 - 11:50
Like you, I couldn't just pretend that nothing had happened. I was 14 weeks pregnant when I had a mmc. No warning signs...just a heart that could no longer beat. We were gutted and without the strength given to me from the smiles and cuddles of my 1 yr old, I just don't know how I could possibly get up out of bed each day. Miscarriage is something we seriously must talk about. Why has it come to this? A dirty little secret to be kept to oneself? I just don't get it. Even now, months have passed, my due date looms and when I try to talk about it I am met with unease and the subject is quickly changed. Why do our babies bring such shame? They are our beautiful tiny babies. We had hopes, dreams and plans for them.
By Anonymous (not verified) on 6 Jul 2016 - 20:48
It makes me so sad that it still is this way for many. You would never tell a parent who'd just lost a baby, a toddler or even a teenager to 'get over it', so why is this acceptable when it's a miscarriage? Two people have just lost lost a child. It doesn't matter at what stage or age. It's still a child lost.