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.
The healing powers of a little bit of self-disclosure should not have come as a surprise to me. I come from a long line of outspoken women (it’s an infamous Bucknall trait) and I wasn’t the first in my family to open up about pregnancy loss. A few short weeks before we fell pregnant, my sister had a miscarriage and bravely wrote about it on Facebook, deciding she wanted to raise awareness and help others feel less alone. Yet even then, I still had no real-world comprehension of how common it was. When I saw those two pink lines on our pregnancy test, I didn’t even consider that it would happen to me also. I would not have believed that within weeks our mother would have met us both at the hospital and held us while our hearts broke. Or that within a few weeks my sister and I would understand each other in grief in a way we had struggled to during childhood. Through simple conversation, I have learnt that there are some things in life that only another woman gets. These are the unique experiences of being a member of our gender that have to be lived to be truly understood.
Rebecca Sparrow speaks to Mia Freedman about pregnancy loss. Post continues.
Thank you to every woman who replied to the story about my miscarriage and bared their soul with their own ‘me too’. You are brave. You are strong. And you deserve every happiness life offers you. If a time comes when you ever want to speak more openly about your experiences with others in your life, I want you to know that there is freedom on the other side of truth. In this insta-perfect world, you are not alone.
When she isn’t defending her shoes from teething puppies, Annie works as a Leader in the finance industry. She believes a good idea can change the world and her life’s mission is to bamboozle her husband with a terrifying change of direction daily. You can find her atwww.anniebucknall.com, Facebook and her puppies on Instagram.