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"A heavy, dark, and slow stream of blood made its way down my left inner thigh." Ashley Williams writes about miscarriage.

This month How I Met Your Mother star, Ashley Williams, has written with chilling honesty about the experience of having a miscarriage.

Williams, 37, shared her story “I need to talk about my miscarriage” on Medium.

Her account begins with a feeling of discomfort about eight weeks into her second pregnancy. She thought she might just be hungry, or dizzy, or perhaps  the cramps she’d been feeling all morning were just the “miraculous evidence of new life”.

I… I dunno.

A photo posted by Ashley Williams (@imthesmash) on

It was when Williams felt something wet trickle down her left leg that she knew something wasn’t right.

As she stood next to her son Gus, almost two years old, “a heavy, dark, and slow stream of blood made its way down…” her thigh. Her jeans were soaked through.

But for Williams, the experience of miscarrying was only the beginning. What shocked her the most was how common the incidence of miscarriage is, and how rarely we speak about it.

Fangirl. @beirutband

A photo posted by Ashley Williams (@imthesmash) on

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Her midwife explained that, in fact, “this happens to one in four pregnant women your age”. Williams responded “If 25 percent of my peers are currently experiencing miscarriages right alongside me, why wasn’t I prepared? Why don’t we talk about it? Why was I feeling embarrassed, broken, like a walking wound? I live on the Upper West Side, the new stroller capital of Manhattan. How many other women have experienced a miscarriage in that very same Whole Foods?”

In the days that followed, Williams reached out to friends and family.

She was astonished to learn that most women she knew had miscarried at least once.

Perplexed, she asked herself “Why [do we] not widely talk about it?” Where did this conspiracy of silence come from? Most people do not ‘announce’ their pregnancy until 12 weeks gestation, so how does one go about, in Williams’ words, “telling people who never knew you were pregnant the depressing news that you’re not anymore?”

Guys!! Its #worldbreastfeedingweek!!! Heres me pumping in a handicapped bathroom on the circle line ferry. #hot

A photo posted by Ashley Williams (@imthesmash) on

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Williams writes “My (still bloated) gut feeling is that something even more painful silences us — the fear that we, as women, are failures. Procreation, the driving purpose in our constructed notion of womanhood, is broken by this sudden trauma. Medical confirmations of the lost pregnancy from OBs, chiropractors, and my acupuncturist use jargon that feeds more self-sabotaging thoughts that I am deficient. Abnormality… Defect… Incapable… Incomplete… Not viable.

But women who suffer miscarriage are not weak or deficient. They are strong. They are brave. And they are survivors. And they do not deserve these “disempowering diagnoses”.

Williams has a proposition. She wants to end the conspiracy of silence that has long plagued the experience of losing a baby.

Talk about it. She says;

…tell your Starbucks barista that you need an extra shot because you just had a miscarriage. Tell someone to carry your bags for you, not because you’re weak, but because you recently had a miscarriage and you deserve a break. Tell the bartender to make it a double because you haven’t wanted to drink alcohol for months and now you’re allowed to. “Why?” Your bartender will say. “Because I’m not pregnant anymore,” you’ll say. “And I want to talk about it.”

A woman who has lost a baby is not broken or ruined.

In talking about miscarriage, we go some way in removing the misplaced and toxic shame associated with it.

And women’s stories, whether happy or sad, tragic or victorious, funny or terrifying, are always worth telling, sharing and listening to.

If this has raised any issues for you or if you would like to speak with someone, please contact the Sands Australia 24 hour support line on 1300 072 637.

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