Here are some of the justifications that women provide for keeping their miscarriages or their infertility journey private.
“I had a miscarriage, but I was fine a few weeks after”.
“There is no need to discuss it because no one knew that I was pregnant anyhow”.
“My miscarriage/stillbirth was very upsetting and shocking to me. I don’t want to talk about what happened.
“I am too busy to think about that miscarriage, my other children need me, and I cannot afford to break down”.
“I don't want to burden my friends with my frustration and difficulty because I have been trying to conceive for a long time while they are all getting pregnant”.
These are a few explanations women provide for why they don't look for assistance or a confidant with whom to discuss their suffering. You might not feel the need to meet with a qualified therapist who shares your ideals as you struggle with your reproductive issues, but I would strongly encourage doing so. Talking with someone who can support and validate you on your journey is important. We are not isolated from one another. We require others to survive since we are social beings, particularly when dealing with a crisis. And at no other time do we need that support than when we are going through miscarriage or infertility and feeling like we are standing on shifting sand.
To further comprehend and establish the argument for the necessity of talking about the pain of miscarriage or infertility, let's examine each of these factors separately.
1. “I had a miscarriage, but I was fine a few weeks after”. I would be curious to learn how she defines "fine." She may appear to be in good health if one were to focus on some external aspects like her apparent capacity to recover by returning to work or engaging in her activities before the miscarriage. A miscarriage, however, affects a woman both physically and emotionally. While a woman may not show many physical symptoms after a baby dies, she may experience emotional scars like uncertainty, anxiety, or disproportionate concern up until and during her subsequent pregnancies. Even if the next pregnancy and delivery result in a healthy baby, there may be some lingering remnants of avoiding the feelings after that past miscarriage that may show up as postpartum depression or the inability to bond and form a healthy attachment to the new baby. A pregnancy that resulted in a baby's death is not something to ignore or treat lightly. When a woman can comprehend the numerous facets of the impact of the miscarriage, she can grieve completely and be ready for the next step, whether it is reproductive or not.
2. “There is no need to discuss it because no one knew that I was pregnant anyhow”. By “no one”, many women meant anyone besides their immediate family. Furthermore, even if “no one” was aware of the pregnancy, the mother's womb was still home to a developing child. There was a living being that God was aware of. That child was therefore a gift, despite how brief her life was. A healthy choice is to commemorate that baby, even if only by talking about her, like you would any other loved one who has died.
3. “My miscarriage/stillbirth was very upsetting and shocking to me. I don’t want to talk about what happened.” Yes, miscarriage can be a very traumatic experience for many women. As you are experiencing the specifics of the baby's death, going through the nuances of that experience could feel overwhelming. As much as you are able, you can opt to express the circumstances of the miscarriage. Negative emotions are harder to keep inside than they are to let out. The importance is not how a woman unburdens herself, but that she does.
4. “I am too busy to think about that miscarriage, my other children need me, and I cannot afford to break down”. Yes, while it is true that your other children depend on you, they also require their mother to be completely engaged in their lives as she interacts with and takes care of them. Children are also incredibly perceptive. They are aware when their parents or other adults in their care experience mood swings or become upset by some sad occurrences. I would inform them of what happened and why you may look sad based on their cognitive abilities.
5. “I don't want to burden my friends with my frustration and difficulty because I have been trying to conceive for a long time while they are all getting pregnant”. Women who are having trouble becoming pregnant think that “all of” their friends are having children and that they are the only ones who are unable to conceive. They are so hurt and angry that they worry their friends will think they are jealous of them, which is occasionally the case. They refrain from speaking because they don't want to start sobbing and then feel embarrassed by their vulnerability. These women need to know that their friends will stand by them during their challenging journey through infertility. Tell these friends when it is too hard for you to carry that cross and you may be surprised by the amount of compassion and understanding that you receive from them.
Miscarriage and infertility are difficult and lonely experiences. When we are suffering, our natural inclination is to withdraw, assuming that no one understands what we are going through. Although no two women's journeys are alike and no one can truly comprehend the depth of the suffering, one thing is for certain: we are not alone. There are kindhearted and considerate individuals who are willing to accompany us. In addition, you were made by the same God who gave the universe its beginning and who has a great plan for you. To bear the cross of infertility and the agony o f miscarriage is possible only if we keep our hearts and minds fixed on that place where true gladness is found: Jesus Christ!
Margalita Poletunow, LPC, LMHC Wife, Mother, Therapist