The Miscarriage Secret
Miscarriage, it so happens, is nothing like a freak skiing accident. It touches many more women than we realize. I think that if we girls and women and boys and men grew up with a more open sharing of the grief of miscarriage, then the loss, when it happens, would not seem quite so alienating. That loss might feel for women more like a natural part of life, the sharing of a common grief that is held by a large population of women, rather than a shameful, clandestine breaking down of your body that must be hidden from your healthy counterparts. Miscarriage might seem more expected, a bit more like a sorrowful version of your first period, that tremendous and poignant initiation into the mystery and community of womanhood.
It's difficult to say that women should be more open about miscarriage. I feel hypocritical and determined at the same moment. I still have not shared my miscarriage with very many people—nor do I think it was appropriate or necessary for me to do so during my time of mourning. There is grace and mercy for periods of grief. But with time, I want to organically share my experience with the people I know. I want to push past the uncomfortable looks of the uninitiated and not take personally the awkward subject-shifts of well-meaning people when I bring up the topic of my miscarriage.
Whenever I do try to talk candidly about it, I feel certain people around me freeze. It's okay that they don't know quite how to respond. Looking on someone else's grief always feels intrusive, especially if you haven't experienced that particular brand. I want to start to view that discomfort as a reflection of strong cultural norms rather than as a cue about the inappropriateness of my desire to share my experience.
Imagine if we moved to the same comfort level with talking about miscarriage that we feel when someone talks about a really bad car accident they once had or the death of a grandparent. What if we accepted miscarriage as an open topic for discussion? Isn't it odd that we haven't? Think of the many important women's topics we make an effort to discuss more openly: breast cancer, sexual harassment, abuse, and infertility, to name a few.
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