Break the Silence

I struggled to write this post.  Really struggled.  Not just with the emotion of it all, but with the feelings of vulnerability and complete exposure that this topic brings out in me.  But that’s why it needs to be written… break the silence, prevent the stigma, and end the taboo surrounding miscarriage.

I had a miscarriage last year.  We lost our baby on April 6th, 2011, at 11 weeks and 6 days gestation.  One day shy of the magic ’12-weeks-pregnant’ mark where the stats on miscarriage decrease dramatically.  I was wrapped up with the excitement of another baby, and we were already envisioning life as a family-of-four.  In a cruel twist of irony, we had signed the papers for our bigger-with-an-extra-bedroom-house the weekend prior.  I had told friends and family of my pregnancy, even casually mentioned it to acquaintances, and sorted through bins of my maternity clothes.  And then it all ended.  My miscarriage was very sudden, very graphic, and very traumatic.  There was no doubt what was happening to our baby as we rushed to the ER, and as I laid on a triage bed next to my heartbroken husband, the loss overwhelmed me.

Those next few weeks are a haze of tears and despair.  My mom flew out to support us, and helped me get through the physical and emotional struggle of the first few days.  I ended up with a D&C surgery two weeks later, as I was deemed to have experienced an ‘incomplete miscarriage’.  The day following my surgery, I flew to New York City to spend the weekend with my two best friends.  And as I reflect on that difficult time in my life, I can see that’s where my heart began to heal.  Sister-like friends have that power.

That baby would’ve been due on October 27th, 2011.  I was dreading that day on the calendar, which had already been circled in a big red heart when we initially found out I was pregnant.  But as October 27th approached, I found myself blessed with another pregnancy; my beloved Casey was born on March 2nd, 2012, only 11 months after the miscarriage.  My gratitude for her is exponentially greater after feeling the hopelessness of loss.

There are three things that helped me get through this:

1. A memorial.  We carved a cross on a big tree in our favorite walking trails in remembrance of our lost baby.  That tree is a source of comfort for me, and a place we visit as a family several times a year.  My 3.5-year-old calls it our ‘special tree’.  I like to think of it as our ‘healing tree’.

2. Time.  While the grief and pain from this experience is not gone, it has lessened.  Time heals.  And my heart has healed a lot in 18 months.

3. Talking about it.  When this happened, I told the details to all of my family and friends.  I told my parents and my in-laws.  I told my sister-in-laws.  I told my girlfriends.  Talking about it helped me to process things, but it also helped to break down the stigma.  Miscarriage is still a taboo topic, and people don’t know what to say when it happens to someone they know.  It will happen to someone you know.  Up to 25% of known pregnancies result in miscarriage, 80% of those occurring in the first trimester.  Don’t say nothing.  Acknowledge the loss.  Because saying nothing only perpetuates the silence.

October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Month.  On October 15th at 7pm, I will be joining many other people around the world in lighting a candle to remember the babies we’ve lost.  And I will be hugging the babies I have, thankful beyond measure.

19 thoughts on “Break the Silence

  1. Mark

    Thanks for sharing Ash. We know your pain all too well. Miscarrying as well and then losing Sophia shattered us and having dear friends like you and Chris in our lives has helped tremendously. Continue to be a beacon of light 🙂

  2. Wendy

    I had the same experience, between my two. I don’t think about it very much anymore but the devastation is pretty clear. I have 2 great kids of 17 and 15… lost child would have been 15 in February of 2013, seems like a long time ago, not really.
    Thank you for your candor and expression of loss, it will make grieving more acceptable for other parents.((()))

  3. Missy Borsa

    Ashley, I love reading your blog and this one especially hit home. I will light a candle on the 15th with you as I know first hand how difficult miscarrying can be. xo

  4. Tikki

    Ashley: First time as a Grammy I have spoken of this – one of my daughters lost a little soul many years ago – I still have the Expected date and the loss date on my calendar and carry it forward every year – I too will light a candle on the 15th for all little creatures not quite strong enough to fight until it was time to join the rest of the world.

  5. Thank you for sharing your story, Ashley. I, too, suffered a miscarriage at 11 weeks, in between my two girls. (Sometime I will tell you about my story and the things I did afterword with the very same goal–to help people talk about this kind of loss and find healing.) I am so glad to hear that you had good support from your friends and family. Peace to you as you light your candle this week.

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