The best thing I did when I had a miscarriage was tell people about it.
When we found out we were expecting our second child, we shared our news with love and joy to our family and friends almost immediately. We found sweet ways to tell them; a note in a card, a message hidden in our son's toys. We were excited and we wanted to share that excitement with those we loved most.
Because we chose to share our news so early, we would also say, almost flippantly, "We know it's early to be telling you, but if anything was to happen, we'd need your support".
And then something did happen. And we did need their support.
Miscarriage was not something I understood, until I had one.
At our first scan, our baby's growth was not where it should be for its gestation. We waited two agonising weeks for a follow-up scan, at which point we were told the baby had not grown and I was to expect a miscarriage.
I had had no bleeding. No pain. No sign at all that anything was wrong. Yet here I was, and everything was wrong.
My body tried desperately to hold onto the pregnancy. After what seemed like endless weeks of waiting, it was decided that I would need surgery to avoid risk of infection and further complications.
After that surgery, I experienced significant blood loss. I collapsed on the bathroom floor in the hospital.
This experience was nothing like what I thought a miscarriage would be. This was trauma.
In no other traumatic situation, do we expect a person to cope on their own. We don't expect them to be silent, to struggle through and pretend as though nothing is wrong.
When we speak up, we stop the silent suffering.
We offer our strength and support because we know that it takes the strength of the village during times of struggle.
With the power of this knowledge -- the awareness of the need for my village -- I refused to submit to the sense of shame that is instilled in women when it comes to miscarriage.
I called on my support networks. I screamed in the arms of my friends, I was held by my family as I sobbed.
By making the people closest to us aware of what we were going through, they were able to provide us with the strength and support we needed, at the time we needed it most.
Friends understood when plans needed to be cancelled without notice. Family provided much needed babysitting of our son, when my husband and I needed to attend medical appointments.
We were brought food, cups of tea were made, messages and calls of love and support reached us every day.
Offers were made by my mothers' group to craft handmade mementos in our baby's honour.
My best friend, who lives interstate, sent a beautiful statue in recognition of the child we had lost.
Our unborn baby was acknowledged through the love of our loved ones. Our suffering was alleviated through the strength of their support.
Not talking about miscarriage shames and condemns women to suffer in silence, at a time they need strength and rallying of their village.
It's time to start talking openly about miscarriage, both among our own community and in wider society. If we continue to hide and ignore the reality of what one in four women will experience, we continue to force women into silence during their most vulnerable times, by treating miscarriage as though it is something that should not be acknowledged.
Our failure to share stories of miscarriage, to alleviate the burden of shame and lift the veil on a subject that is still considered taboo, leaves women and families uneducated and unaware of the reality of miscarriage and continues to dismiss the physical and emotional pain they endure.
When we experience a miscarriage and speak out about our loss, we help to empower other women who may one day face the same struggle to know they are not alone. We acknowledge that their pain is real and let them know that their experience is valid.
When we speak up, we open ourselves up to love and support when we need it most.
We stop the silent suffering. Because it's together, not alone, that we heal the pain of miscarriage.
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