The sad reality is that one in ten pregnancies ends in a miscarriage.
The good news is that we’re finally talking about them in a way like never before. Thanks to the sharing of experiences by brave women in articles and forums, an increase of celebrities opening up about their miscarriages and social media platforms dedicated to women who have lost unborn children, those who go through miscarriages can finally feel less alone.
Slowly, but definitely surely, the long-held taboo surrounding miscarriages is finally starting to erode.
Last week, The Bachelor alum Vienna Girardi revealed she had suffered a miscarriage and lost her twin baby girls at 18 weeks old. The babies had experienced Twin-to-Twin Transfusion Syndrome (TTTS), a condition whereby one baby gets too much blood, while the other receives less blood than needed. In a heartbreaking statement on Facebook, Girardi said she did everything she could to save the babies.
Other celebrities who have been vocal about their miscarriages include Beyonce, who experienced a miscarriage in 2012 before her daughter Blue Ivy was born. The superstar singer opened up about the heartbreaking experience in her documentary Life is But a Dream, calling it “the saddest thing she’s ever been through,” and her husband Jay-Z rapped about the experience in his hit song “Glory.” Other famous faces to experience miscarriages include Nicole Kidman – who lost a baby with once husband Tom Cruise – Mariah Carey, Pink and Gwyneth Paltrow.
While all the photos of pregnant friends and healthy newborn babies on social media are undoubtedly tough to scroll through for those who have experienced miscarriages, the positive news is that social media also offers a place of support for such women. For example, @ihadamiscarriage is an entire Instragram account dedicated to women who have experienced miscarriages. Here, women can share their experiences and stories with miscarriages. The account is the creation of psychologist Jessica Zucker, who experienced a miscarriage herself and is trying to keep an honest conversation about the subject going.
My breasts leaked liquid gold with no one to nourish. As if I hadn’t already been thrashed around enough by my 16-week loss, the unmedicated emergency D&C that followed, my body took it upon itself to weep. Outpoured milk. _ With no one to receive it. No. One. _ World Breastfeeding Week has me thinking about the years spent with my little ones cozied up suckling my breasts, but also the poignancy of milk arriving even when our baby’s die. _ Trauma upon trauma. How do we survive the layers? Navigate the complexity? The unwieldy sequela of loss? _ Warriors, we are, whether we like/know it or not. _ #IHadAMiscarriage #miscarriage #pregnancyloss #stillbirth #infantloss #grief #loss #1in4 #worldbreastfeedingweek // Photo of @blacklorelei7 taken by @alveoli_photography. Photo posted with permission.
Similarly, a search of the hashtag #ihasamiscarriage on Twitter reveals posts by women who share their own experiences.
What causes miscarriages? A new study suggests that women who experienced stress in their 20s may be more susceptible to miscarriages, with a 42 per cent increase in one happening. Stress experienced by these women included social problems, financial troubles, emotional trauma, relationship worries and work stress. Recent research has found that Vitamin B3 – found in meat and green vegetables – has been shown to prevent a genetic cause of birth defects and miscarriages.
When it comes down to it, however, a miscarriage can happen to any woman. Even if you’re doing all the right things. Even if you couldn’t be healthier.
The most important thing for females who experience them is to recognize that it’s not their fault. Women who have experienced miscarriages not only tend to blame themselves for it, they are often anxious when becoming pregnant again that the same thing will happen. Often, however, many are able to eventually give birth to healthy babies. A ‘rainbow baby’ is a baby born to a woman who has previously experienced a miscarriage or stillbirth – a term that symbolizes hope and acknowledges the baby who passed away.
At a time when we’ve made moves as progressive as paid “period days” for employees, and paternity leave is now a reality, as we move forward, it would be a positive thing to see workplaces offer adequate time off to grieve miscarriages.
While woman who suffer are no longer alone or in the dark, we still have a ways to go in terms of plans and programs to help them cope. But we’re definitely heading in the right direction.