Miscarriage, also known as pregnancy loss is the natural death of the fetus before it has fully developed. It usually happens before the 20th week of pregnancy after which the death is known as 'still-birth'. This form of pregnancy loss is quite common as according to statistics, 25% of all clinically recognized pregnancies end up in a miscarriage. Indeed, that is a striking number which leaves one in awe and horrified.
Miscarriage occurs due to vaginal bleeding which would be painless or a bit painful to some level. Miscarriages cold occur due to all sorts of reasons ranging from something not being right with the fetus's chromosomes, to a damaged egg, hormonal problems or problems related to lifestyle issues.
However, as common as it is, most new mothers are completely clueless about what miscarriage is and what might cause it so they could take preventive measures. This is due to the fact that miscarriage is considered a taboo in the society even today in the modern world and women having experienced it are hushed down. They’re stopped by their families and the society and are not allowed to express their feelings and emotions as it is considered ‘bad luck’ After having gone through a miscarriage, women suffer from all sorts of physical and emotional pain like having the feeling of failure, guilt and having let everyone down.
What the society doesn’t understand is that the greatest loss is that of a mother’s who had the child inside her for so many weeks. Here are some taboos that are broadly associated with miscarriage.
15 Staying Silent
From the beginning of time, it has been a strong belief among people of all races that a miscarriage should not be announced. First, they say that the pregnancy should not be announced before 12 weeks because if you do, expect bad luck coming your way. People start asking all sorts of pessimistic questions such as ‘what would you do if a miscarriage happens?’ The common belief is that if you tell people about your pregnancy there is a chance that the fetus might not survive the 20-week mark. In case that does happen, mothers are asked to stay silent because apparently, it is something to be ashamed of. The sorrow of a woman going through a miscarriage is termed as ‘silent sorrow’ as she is not allowed to be vocal about it. Staying silent about the matter also makes it seem like it is something to be guilty about.
14 It Is Not Considered A Big Deal
Miscarriage in our society is not given the attention and importance it should be receiving. The pain of the mother is underestimated and she is asked to suck it up and ‘get over it’ as the baby was just a fetus and not even a real being. People fail to understand the grief of the mother as it is she who had a LIVING creature inside of her, which fed off her for how many weeks it survived and was a part of her. Mothers tend to feel as if they have lost a part of themselves but are considered weak for grieving as it is not a big deal. The grief of a mother having suffered from a miscarriage is socially unacceptable because the child hadn’t even been born yet. It hadn’t even come into the real world. They fail to comprehend why someone would grieve so much about s baby they hadn’t even touched or felt, however, what they fail to realize Is that the baby is as real to the mother as could be. She feels every movement of the baby as If it were in her arms.
13 Feelings Of Failure
A very common taboo associated with pregnancy loss is the feeling of failure. A mother having lost a child to miscarriage is looked down upon as a failure. The mother suffers all kinds of emotions from pain, grief to failing as a mother and letting everyone down. Many mothers who have had faced such an ordeal have said they felt like they had let everyone down, that they had failed their husbands, their child and would keep wondering why it had happened to them. Such women often feel as if they weren’t good enough or their bodies weren’t good enough to support the child when it is nobody’s fault and is a completely natural process. Women fail to see it as a medical condition which it is and more of it is their own fault. The mother has no control of a damaged egg or the fetus’s chromosomes and hence has not ‘failed’ anyone as it is not her fault.
12 Protecting People From Bad News
More often than not the occurrence of a miscarriage is hidden from people as to not let them on to a bad news. It is a set norm for the woman to not let people close to her, friends or co-workers know about the tragedy. People still haven’t found a way to react to such a news and don’t know what the most appropriate response would be. To avoid such awkward moments it automatically becomes the woman’s duty who is already suffering, to make sure others do not get sad. She has to shield others from the news which she herself is suffering from. The woman is supposed to only talk about ‘good and happy things’. If it’s a pregnancy news, it can be posted everywhere, but in case of miscarriage she is asked to stay quiet and treat it as a ‘private matter’.
Women who post pictures of the baby’s still birth or post about a miscarriage are asked to remove such stuff to not make OTHERS sad. This is the biggest issue with miscarriage and how it’s treated and which is why it’s not talked about. It is a natural phenomenon and it is saddening, and the women should be given the freedom to grieve however they want to.
11 Workplace Awkwardness
Miscarriage is also seen a taboo at the workplace as if it weren’t already so painful. Most woman who go through a miscarriage, avoid telling their bosses and co-workers upon their return to work. Many women have shared their stories and said that they had to hide their suffering from everyone from fear of how they might be treated. Women have to face many issues in the workplace which range from awkward stares, people talking about you, to fear of not being promoted due to the fact that you lost a baby. Most bosses would overlook a perfectly capable female worker after she goes through a miscarriage owing to the fact that they would be trying for a baby again and in case she gets lucky would be going on a maternity leave. The news is also hidden from the co-workers because women are supposed to let it go, move on and ‘get their head back in the game’ as it is not the end of the world.
Almost all women who suffer from a miscarriage, have feelings of guilt afterward and blame themselves for it. This is an issue and must be addressed and talked about in order to lessen the suffering of these women. The guilt that they associate with having a miscarriage also makes it seem like they have something to be ashamed of. They feel embarrassed and feel like something isn’t right with them. Even in today’s age when we get the answers for almost everything these women turn to themselves to put the blame on. All sorts of questions go through the minds of these women. ‘Was it the food I ate?’ ‘Did I miss an appointment?’ ‘Is it something I carried?’ ‘I shouldn’t have gotten up to do that task’ this feeling of is more heightened for women of an older age who blame themselves for conceiving late. They feel guilt for having put off their child for so long and putting their career first. They blame themselves for being selfish and not being good enough for supporting a life within due to the choices they had made. Women need to talk more about it and have the freedom to do so in order for them to realize that it is a natural process and it is not their fault. It is not something to be guilty about. It is the same as getting a sickness or falling ill.
9 Women Suffer Less Pain If They Lost The Baby Early
Even today the grief of the woman who has miscarried early on is less socially acceptable than that of a woman who miscarries later on. It is a belief that miscarrying early shouldn’t make much of a difference as it is so early on and you haven’t even gotten used to it. This mindset needs to change as the grief depends on how much the pregnancy means to the woman. Even a woman miscarrying early on can feel like her world has come crashing down because she had imagined a whole new life with the unborn baby. She had a living being inside of her who was a part of her. Let’s say a woman conceives after many years of trying and when she finally gets pregnant she loses the baby early on in the pregnancy. The intensity of her grief cannot be put down just because the length of her pregnancy was short. To her even those few weeks meant the world. Women should be given the freedom to grieve for as long as they want whenever the miscarriage happens.
8 It's Bad Luck
Miscarriage even in today’s world is deemed as bad luck. Pregnancy, from the beginning of time, has been associated with many superstitions and is something to be hidden from the ‘evil-eye’ of people who could be jealous of you. Many rituals are done to keep the mother and the child safe from bad luck and prying eyes. However, if the natural process of miscarriage occurs, as ironic as it is, it is seen as bad luck. The miscarrying couple gave to face isolation as people keep themselves at a distance from them. Other expecting couples stop meeting the suffering couple from fear of being infected with their bad luck. Women are forced to keep the news under covers as it can bring further bad luck to the family. People hoping to conceive a child, or those who have just gotten pregnant avoid talking about miscarriages in general as if talking about it might make it come true for you. People need to move on from these superstitions and treat miscarriage as a medical condition.
7 Men Aren't Affected By Miscarriage
Another taboo regarding miscarriage is that the father isn’t or shouldn’t be affected by the miscarriage. People even go on to say harsh stuff like the father didn’t have much to do with it why would he feel sad. The grief of a father suffering from a miscarriage is deemed as being socially unacceptable and such men are looked down upon. People fail to understand why he’s grieving. These men have to listen to the society say stuff like ‘you’ll have other children’ and are forced to be okay with it and to move on. Research indicates that men also suffer from depression after their wives/partners suffer from a miscarriage and often conceal it with anger. Men face the loss of the child and in a way loss of their wives/partners as well as they don’t know how to console them and how to get back to them. The same loss has been observed in lesbian relationships where according to researchers the non-pregnant partner also suffers from feelings of loss of the child and in a way loss of the partner as well.
6 Getting Psychological Help Is Unnecessary
Many a times grieving women who have suffered from a miscarriage can’t seem to get past the loss and get back to their normal lives. They are brave enough to get professional help even though the society believes there is no need. This is another taboo which is associated with miscarriages that women who get psychological help to deal with their loss are weak and are just making a big deal out of nothing. What the society fails to understand is the after-effects of a miscarriage. It has all sorts of physical and mental after-effects that the women have to go through. The feeling of withdrawal, the emptiness that makes you feel like a failure takes over the woman as all her hormones are imbalanced. For most woman, their relationships tend to suffer after a miscarriage as their close ones around them especially their husbands fail to understand why she isn’t able to move on. For a long while, a woman feels empty and do not want to indulge in sexual intercourse which can have a bad effect on their married life. To deal with all these problems, getting professional help is totally normal and a good idea one which should be accepted by all.
5 Try Again Immediately
Another added pressure from the society and the family is for the couple to try again as soon as possible. The miscarrying woman is not given the time to grieve and is seen as a child making machine one which should try again as soon as she can. People do not understand what the woman goes through. For however long the child was inside of her, there is a bond between the mother and the child. It is a bond only the two of them share and one that nobody can understand. The mother feels attached to that particular child. Imagines the face, imagines how he/she would like. Women right after their miscarriage feel as if they might be betraying the child they have lost and hesitate from trying again. The woman isn’t given time to heal and make sense of what happened to her to be able to start thinking about conceiving again, as Baby Center reports.
4 I'm Flawed, I Won't Try Again
Contrary to the taboo mentioned above there are also those women who are scared of trying to conceive again because they fear they won’t be able to. These women are scared of their own bodies. They feel there is something wrong with them, that they are not good enough or suitable enough to birth a child within. These women hesitate from trying again as if it might be a sin to do so and unfair to the child. They have a pre-conceived notion that their bodies aren’t suitable for supporting a life and so they do not want to risk it again. This is why the masses need to be educated about miscarriages. There is a dire need of teaching these women about their bodies and to treat miscarriage as a natural process and not one that is their fault. These women need to be given the hope that they should try again and let nature take its course, as Parents Magazine rightly advises.
3 Miscarrying Couple Become Overly Conscious Parents
As if a miscarriage wasn’t enough of an ordeal for the couple. There is a pre-conceived notion that the miscarrying couple will automatically become very conscious parents in the future if they do have kids. They will be obsessive and overprotective. These perceptions need to change as one event will not define the parents these people will turn out to be. When a miscarrying couple does have a baby in the future, they are bogged down with all kinds of questions and expectations. They are expected to be extremely careful and frightened and be on the watch at all times. This takes away those moments from them which they should enjoy without a care in the world. People should refrain from making judgments about the kind of parents these people will become as a constant reminder tends to influence them and they might become scared and frightened even if they don’t want to be.
2 Don't Ask Her About It, She Might Get More Sad
Most people, when someone close to them suffers from a miscarriage tend to ignore it out of fear and not knowing what to do. They choose to not talk about it and not ask the suffering woman as it might trigger some emotion and she might lose it. People need to understand that the woman is already suffering. However, she does want to talk about it! Most women have said that they wished they could talk to someone about their lost child. That they could tell them how it felt when the child was within and how it felt when she learned she had lost it. When they do find someone to talk to they feel relieved and liberated. This is a taboo that has been associated with miscarriage for way too long. People come with a perception that they shouldn’t talk about it or ask about the child when on the other hand the woman wants to discuss everything as it is her way of remembering the unborn. Talking about it feels like it really happened and that the child had been real.
1 Telling Women It Was For The Best
Another huge misunderstanding among the common people is to tell the suffering woman that the loss of her child was ‘for the best’, that it is a suffering that will shield you from bigger problems in life and you should see it as a blessing. There is nothing worse for the woman suffering from a miscarriage to hear that the death of her child was a blessing. How can that be helpful if it's making her feel even worse? People need to be more considerate of the fact that the child was inside of her, that she had made up all sorts of situations, imagined the face, the body. She had felt the baby inside of her and seen it grow in the ultrasounds even if it was for a few weeks. The bond created in those weeks is strong enough to make the woman feel empty and sad and she does not see it as a blessing.
Sources: BabyCenter.ca, Vice.com