The author, her husband Tom, and baby Jackson.
Ever since my son Jackson was born, I have been asked the same nauseating question over and over again. “What surprised you the most about being a mother?” I often answer. “It’s really harder than you think.” But to be honest, the most shocking part of the process of becoming a mother was the misfortune I faced along the way: the early miscarriage and postpartum bleeding. I felt I had to overcome these setbacks in quiet solitude.
After my first positive pregnancy test, I spent the first 72 hours in baby-like bliss, consciously ignoring the nagging stomach pains. But as the cramps intensified and the bleeding became more intense, I desperately began to console myself. Nothing to worry about. Miscarriages are rare, but why do they occur so quickly? right? But in my belly, I already knew the truth — I had a miscarriage and my hopes and dreams of what this baby would be like ran down the drain in my bloody shower. It was spinning quietly.
What surprised me was not only the miscarriage itself, but also that I felt obligated not to talk about it, or to somehow minimize and qualify my experience if I did.i was suffering chemical pregnancy, or a miscarriage that occurs within the first 5 weeks of pregnancy. This kind of miscarriage is very common. Up to 50% of all concepts.
The author and Tom miscarried days after their first positive pregnancy test.
In many ways, I felt lucky. I got pregnant quickly and lost the baby shortly after. On top of that, I surprisingly became pregnant with my son right after the incident. I didn’t suffer another miscarriage or the agonies of waiting to see if my desire to become a mother would come true. Thanks to such good fortune, I have told myself that my grief does not deserve empathy or discussion. It’s for people with “real” traumatic losses.
I felt my miscarriage wasn’t serious enough to have a conversation with, but I quickly learned that too traumatic experiences should be repressed as well. A few minutes after giving birth to my baby boy, my vitals suddenly dropped and I started feeling dizzy. I continued to bleed at an alarming pace, even though I successfully expelled both my son and the placenta that the doctors mistook for the whole placenta.
I turned to see my husband performing the necessary physical contact with the newborn, but I could not participate. The whites of her husband’s eyes were red. He later said he struggled with how he would cope with being a single parent.
I was shocked by the event again. I went into childbirth fearlessly, assuming that childbirth was routine and therefore safe with the advent of modern medicine. We shared with friends and family that we had complications during the birth and that although the situation was “dangerous” at times, everything was fine. With the exception of a few close friends, we kept our discussions to a minimum, fearing that the talk would cause unnecessary anxiety to our loved ones.
The author and her family who were hospitalized days after the birth of baby Jackson.
Ironically, in the midst of my self-imposed silence, I found myself repeatedly wondering and bewildered why I had never heard anecdotes about chemical pregnancies and postpartum bleeding.
I have two answers. First, silence about miscarriage and birth complications is actually encouraged by the medical community, and as a result has become a social norm. Most doctors tell you not to tell anyone about your pregnancy until you’re past the 12-week “danger zone,” where miscarriages are most common.
In practice, this almost completely eliminates the possibility of dialogue about early pregnancy loss. What do we need to talk about when there was no baby talk in the first place? Similarly, many doctors ease their patients’ anxiety about labor and delivery by reciting scripts that explain how rare such tragic outcomes are. Similarly, women who have experienced early miscarriages or traumatic births are made to feel that they are abnormal and that the story is a chilling anecdote that should not be revealed.
Second, society is actually demanding that women quietly overcome despair and carry on with their lives as normal so that they can continue to play a variety of roles in service to others.of Surprising anger directed at model Chrissy Teigen The fact that she shared a photo of her late son’s birth, sparking accusations of attention-seeking, shows how strongly these expectations are entrenched in today’s culture. Instead of being taught to ask the community for the support they need during these times of mourning and grief, we believe doing so would be an unwanted disruption that could frighten other women and existing children. I can teach you. Instead, we should accept the trauma alone and move on.
Author Tom Jackson and his Bernedoodle Winnie celebrate Tom’s birthday in Park City, Utah. “Jackson is growing up,” the author writes.
However, maintaining silence does not necessarily shield the world around us from the burden of having to bear the pain with us, but rather helps us to alleviate our own suffering. Not even. Instead, we fail to provide each other with the guidance, assurance, compassion, and friendship that we need. So we are complicit in perpetuating the harmful misconception that miscarriage and complications of childbirth are abnormalities to be endured in solitude. We participate in encouraging our own ignorance and neglect.
I share my miscarriage and postpartum bleeding to heal my pain as an individual and, more importantly, to somehow ease the pain of the women around me and help her Because we want you to know that you are not alone. I believe that there are varying degrees of trauma associated with miscarriage and childbirth complications, but this trauma is at least partly collective, and it is the way we guide and heal each other. I am pretty confident that it can be done. And the duty to break down the phenomenon of women being glorified for their silent suffering rests not only with women who have been victimized, but also with doctors, partners, public figures, and society at large. We aim to be part of the solution. I am telling everyone about my miscarriage and postpartum bleeding in the hope that others will be brave enough to do the same.
Leah M. Higgins is a graduate of Barnard College and New York University School of Law. She is now a New York City litigator and proud mother of baby Jackson. Follow Lia’s TikTok account, @onelitmama_about honest insight into all things baby and balancing life as a working mother.
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