Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Remembering What's Lost

Today is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day. I know many people for whom this day has a highly personal meaning.

I had a miscarriage with my first pregnancy, and I was devastated. One moment, I was daydreaming about welcoming a newborn into the world; the next, that joyful vision was cruelly wrenched away from me. I felt angry, sad, inadequate. I can only imagine what it must be like for those who have repeat miscarriages, the grief they must feel. Of course, I'm now fortunate have two beautiful, healthy girls, but I still sometimes think about that baby-who-never-was. It's just not something you forget.

There is this bizarre shroud of silence around miscarriage—as though there is shame or blame in it. Even the terminology is inadequate: "miscarriage" is so detached, so clinical, but to "lose" a baby suggests that it is someone's fault. You can't "lose" a baby the way you lose your car keys.

I don't know why, as women, we're afraid to talk about this kind of loss. Maybe it's because it makes us question ourselves, our bodies, our very femininity. Maybe we're worried that it will jinx us to say the words out loud.

But we should. Because when I eventually started talking about it, I was surprised by how many people had similar stories. Only by honestly sharing our personal experiences can we find comfort in others—and offer empathy in return.

So today, let's be brave and vocal. Let's support each other. I know we can find the space to grieve past losses while still looking forward, together, with hope.


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