Parenting Perspectives: Talking about miscarriages shouldn't be scary
Miscarriage. Scary word, isn’t it?
It sure can be, especially for expecting parents who are delivered the blow of the horrible news.
2017 began with the devastating feeling of loss for our family.
It was a miscarriage.
Our first ultrasound for my wife’s second pregnancy was a few weeks after Christmas, when we revealed to our family we’d be parents again.
With our first child, we told our immediate families so early in the pregnancy. We shared the news quickly, not only because we were excited, but because we felt like if something went wrong with the pregnancy, we’d have strong family support.
After Grace, our first child, was born, we waited a couple of years to add to the family again. It was nearly one year ago, on Thanksgiving morning 2016, that my wife shared the news with me that she was pregnant again.
The first visit with the doctor was a rollercoaster. Anticipation to see the little one. Hear that heartbeat. And discuss all the waves of emotion in the upcoming months in preparation of a life-changing day. It brought back many of the same feelings of being a first-time parent.
“There was no heartbeat. I’m so sorry,” we later heard from the doctor.
Notifying a woman of a miscarriage has to be one of the toughest jobs for OB/GYN doctors. Holding your wife after hearing those words is easy.
For me, a 30-year-old man with one child, my immediate attention went to comforting my wife. Soon after, I began thinking about who that child could have been and the life he or she could have lived. Miscarriages are hard on men, too.
We soon shared what had happened with family and those who we told about the pregnancy. What’s amazing is the number of people who have dealt with a miscarriage or know someone close to them who has. We heard stories, after, of course, we shared ours.
It’s sad, though, that they are so hidden, like someone did something wrong, or illegal. Some close to us, we learned, had a miscarriage that we never knew about.
And talking about it helped. While painful and personal, finding those people and hearing their insights gave us something to connect with.
Important to remember is people deserve their privacy, and expecting parents should feel comfortable when they share exciting news of an expected child. If that timeline is waiting 12 weeks, after the first trimester when the chances of loss decreases, that’s absolutely OK.
After holding my wife’s hand through this sad experience, I know I’m not in a position to speak on her feelings following the news of the miscarriage. No father can truly know what it’s like to lose that little life inside of you.
What I now know is miscarriages are more frequent than many people would think, there is nothing to be ashamed about, and having support following one is so important.
Yes, miscarriages are scary. But talking about them shouldn’t be.
Luke Hagen is the managing editor of The Daily Republic in Mitchell, S.D., and father to 3-year-old Grace.