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Why is Miscarriage Taboo?

"Talk to people about it.  Don't let it be taboo.  It shouldn't be.  It's 2011"   These were the last words of advice from my Dr. on that unforgettable day 4 years ago.  That day I walked into her office filled with excitement.  I was going to see an ultrasound of my baby for the first time.  Even though I wasn't "supposed to" yet, I had spent the last few weeks dreaming and planning.  I was SO excited!  Is it a boy or a girl?  What will we name him or her?  What will they look like?  And how big will they smile?  That's what Mothers do from the moment they see the two lines on the stick.
I walked out of her office feeling completely empty.  I went to the lab to have my blood drawn so they could track my hormones while this heartbreaking moment played out.  The nurse taking my blood asked me why I was having a miscarriage.  "Did you lift  something you shouldn't have?"  How could a nurse be so uninformed that she would think this was my fault!?!?  I was angry at her in the moment but I now look back and realize she just didn't know better.  After all, this topic is off limits for some very strange reason.  The less people discuss, the less likely people will understand and Mothers will continue to feel alone.
The next day at work I did something brave, I followed my Doctor's advice.  I asked my boss to meet with me.  I told her what was happening.  Tears and all.  I didn't have to.  She didn't ever have to know.  But I was not going to pretend this wasn't happening to me.  There was no reason to hide this.  Something major was happening in my life.  I was grieving and I needed support and understanding.  And I got it.  In fact, my boss was extremely empathetic and I will always have more respect for her because of that.
This is just one story.  Approximately 1 in 4 pregnancies end in miscarriage each year.*  And approximately 1 million pregnancies in the US end in a loss each year.*  And yet it is still the untouched topic.  With any other loss we gather together and support our loved ones.  Why is that not the expectation here?  Why are women expected to keep this loss to themselves?  No one should have to grieve this loss in silence.
I challenge you to change the way we look at this topic:
Be sensitive.  If your pregnancy came easy to you, keep in mind ~25% of all pregnancies end in miscarriage. It's highly likely that when you are complaining about your morning sickness or your backaches, a woman who has experienced this can hear you.  And she is envious of your morning sickness and your backaches.
Listen.  If someone you know has experienced this.  Its part of their journey.  Let them share it with you.  Don't pass judgement.  Don't try to fix it, you can't.  Just be a shoulder to cry on.
Tell your story.  If you have a story to share, let me start by saying I'm so sorry.  Please don't feel like you can't talk about it.  You can.  Feel empowered to take the taboo out of this!
Clearly, having a miscarriage is not a moment in my life that I will ever label as "winning".  But right now as I share a heartbreak I will never forget, I'm refusing to let my story be taboo.  And in this small way, I believe  I'm winning.
There is no greater agony than carrying an untold story inside of you. ~Maya Angelou


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