Mother’s Day is a day of mixed feelings for so many of us. Some of us are proud to be mothers to amazing kids. Some think of their own mothers, and miss those that they’ve lost. Some grieve for the babies they want and can’t conceive. And so many women spend Mother’s Day thinking of the babies they’ve lost through miscarriage and stillbirth.
Miscarriage is not talked about enough in our culture, especially considering how common it is, so I was really happy to see a recent article on it from NPR. People Have Misconceptions About Miscarriage, And That Can Hurt – Katherine Hobson – NPR
Hobson writes about how often feelings of shame and guilt accompany the loss of a pregnancy, even though miscarriage is almost never preventable. She also points out that 15-20% of pregnancies end in miscarriage – that’s nearly 1 in 5. A lot of women who are trying to conceive are going to experience a miscarriage at some point in their lives, and this isn’t something most families talk about, which contributes to this culture of shame around it. Women and families going through this often feel so alone in the experience, when it’s very likely that some of their friends, neighbors, and other family members have been through the same thing.
There are thousands of ways we could work to better honor the mothers in our lives (better sex-ed, better education in general, more protection and coverage for the right to choose abortion, more funding for women’s shelters, and teaching men not to rape are all things that come to mind), but improving awareness of the realities of pregnancy loss and how many women are affected by it would be a great start. Women should feel safe talking about miscarriage if they want to, and being able to grieve (or not grieve) openly, without fear of being blamed by someone who has no idea what they’re talking about. There is strength in community, and a community as large as this one should not feel the need to remain silent.