I remember liking the post, leaving a happy comment, closing my laptop and giving myself a mental pat on the back for not feeling jealous. Miscarriage Level 1 Achievement unlocked. But later that night, I did the math and my stomach sunk. We would have been around twelve weeks and in ‘the safe zone’. They made it and we didn’t. I snuggled into my husband’s chest and left a damp patch on his t-shirt, disappointed in myself for being so bitterly disappointed.
We hear the statistics—that 25% of pregnancies end in miscarriage—but rarely do we conceptualise that for every three pregnancy announcements we see online, another one of our friends is packing up the baby clothes they bought too soon. Unless I was talking to my family, I rarely heard about pregnancy loss until I found myself the one part of the in ‘1 in 4’. This was something my Obstetrician gently tried to explain when we learnt about our miscarriage and sat dumbfounded in his office. “You won’t see it on Facebook,” he said “You’ll only see the good stuff. So many of you are going through this experience but you don’t realise it.” And he was right. I had no idea.
In the weeks that followed I began to learn just how many ways a woman’s heart can break on the road to having a healthy baby. Through Facebook, Instagram, my email and face-to-face, friends and strangers reached out to offer support and share their story. All of them had different experiences—and all of them had the kind of courage that could splinter the earth. In a time where our carefully curated social media feeds could have left me feeling isolated, by opening up and being vulnerable, I felt as though I were clasping hands with some of the strongest women on the planet. I was still grieving, but thanks to the understanding of other women in both my virtual and real life, I never felt alone. Those 1 in 4 now had something powerful. They had faces and names and stories and it helped me to slowly put down my shame and pick up my self-compassion.