How common is miscarriage? 10 to 20% of (known-about) pregnancies end in miscarriages1. This is also possibly an underestimate as many women may be having them and not even realize it, as it happens so early in the process that they might assume that it’s just a late period.
How often do you hear about people having miscarriages though? I feel like there is a huge taboo around talking about it: at work, amongst friends, wherever really, apart from with those extremely close to you. When someone asked me how I was doing after mine last year, I wanted to say,
“Actually, not so well, I have blood clots and pieces of fetus coming out of me and I’m freaking out.” What I actually said of course was “Oh, a little stomach ache, no big deal.”
Why is it that we are not talking about this common and traumatic event more, to make it normal and to mark with respect something that is very real and sometimes frightening. Even taking the best case scenario where one knows that it’s going to happen, is bad enough, I cannot imagine what it must be like if it just happened spontaneously.
I found that as soon as I shared my experience with others, many people came forward with their own stories, far more common than I thought; friends who had suffered in silence, people who felt that they couldn’t talk about it as it would let people know that they were planning on starting a family and that wouldn’t reflect well on them. There were also partners, boyfriends and husbands who I am sure wanted to talk about the sense of loss and helplessness but we almost never hear from these people. It is a normal and frequent process for humans. It would be amazing if – like headaches, colds, broken and sprained limbs – we could talk and share about miscarriage to ease the burden and not feel so alone.
1 The Johns Hopkins Manual of Gynecology and Obstetrics (4 ed.). Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. 2012. pp. 438–439. ISBN 9781451148015. Archivedfrom the original on September 10, 2017.