Breaking the Silence and Sharing Our Story

I’ve noticed a lot of us seem to be afraid of sharing our miscarriage, recurrent pregnancy loss and/or infertility journey with others. Some of us have told a few people, some have told no-one, some have told the world such as Justine at www.everupward.org.

Since this post is going to focus on my opinions of sharing, I think it’s important to explain where we are in telling people about our recurrent pregnancy loss.

Our journey to sharing was slow. Our first 2 miscarriages were silent, shared only amongst my husband and I. Our decision not to share was not based in shame, but rather based in a desire to surprise our families with happy news about a healthy pregnancy. We knew that statistically 2 consecutive miscarriages are considered normal (although rare), so we didn’t think too much about it. This meant we went through one emergency D&C without any family support. My husband stayed with me at the hospital and balanced no sleep, running home to let the dog out, and a wife who had very low blood pressure and heart rate after the surgery which required a longer than normal stay in the hospital. We did it alone by choice.

That changed for us when we found out our third little baby was going to die. We told a few very select people. We knew based on the statistics that everything about our family future was changing and that our chances of having children were drastically reduced with a third miscarriage. We determined who we told based on who we felt would be supportive and also who wasn’t pregnant as we didn’t want to scare them with more fears. We needed support and love so we opened the door to some people although we asked them to keep this news to themselves. We still were not ready to share with the world. We were afraid of being overrun by people’s version of supportive comments (see a post on that here and here), which we knew would hurt and upset us. We feared a bunch of sympathy cards that we just didn’t want to read. We feared getting attention for a negative reason, when all we wanted was attention for a celebration of our first baby’s birth.

We still went through the miscarriage on our own, my husband and I were the only ones a sitting in the emergency room, and going to the surgery, but it was nice to know people cared. We still sucked at asking for help when we really needed it – for example, we really needed someone to go get us groceries, but just didn’t know how to ask for help. We are two fiercely independent people and asking for help was just too much for us.

Both our companies knew about the 3rd pregnancy, and therefore knew about the miscarriage. They also know about the 4th pregnancy and loss as well. And since I’ve left work, everyone in my profession knows about our recurrent pregnancy loss, as I’ve been very honest about why I’m taking time away from working. (I felt it was better to share this part of my life then to have people think I was having some sort of mental health breakdown for no reason).

So, today, after 5 miscarriages, we still have people who do not know. We have very important people who do not know because we believe they won’t provide the support we need and/or they live far away and we’ve decided they just don’t need to know. But, we are starting to tell more people and we know we will end up telling the remaining people sooner rather than later. The news is starting to spread and even though we still don’t want attention for a negative reason, I have no doubt that it will happen.

So, while I’ve noticed the fear in the community about sharing our stories with our friends and family, I want to say that we too live with this fear. I too have an anonymous blog which allows me to share my feelings with the world, but not with those we love the most. And, even though, I am still doing it to an extent, I think it’s an absolute travesty that we, as in the infertility community, feel the need to keep this hidden.

There is a social stigma attached to miscarriage and infertility largely based in a complete lack of understanding. And it makes no sense, that we as a community allow this and forces ourselves to live a double life – the public vs. the private. It forces us to constantly walk a balance beam, trying to deal with social acceptance on one side and our own deep emotions and feelings on the other. I’m starting to liken it to those in the gay and lesbian community who have not come out. Given that I do not know that experience, I am not sure that its’ the best analogy, but it seems to make sense in my mind.

I for one, feel that by voicing our story, we can start to educate and remove that stigma. And, we can also help others going through their own infertility.

So, I am doing this. I am sharing.  My husband and I started taking baby steps by telling a few people after our third miscarriage. And now we are telling more and more people about our story. Our steps are getting bigger as we are getting the courage to share, to enlighten and to educate.

We are no-longer hiding our truth. We are no longer keeping everything quite.

In fact, I’ve take a very big step this week. I told 2 people who are very important to me about this blog – my Aunt and Uncle. I took a big risk by giving them the website address and therefore the ability to read my inner most thoughts. And, I also told them about my goal to publish a memoir or at least start publishing pieces of my work. I’m petrified of failure, so sharing this was a significant step because now if it doesn’t happen, others will know about my failure. And, of course, there are a lot of other fears about sharing my blog with them. What if they hate it? What if they tell my dad (who for the time being I’m not telling about my blog, but expect to eventually when I feel the time is right)? What if they think I’m completely crazy once they read it (and they are certified to make a professional judgement given their educational and professional backgrounds). For me, it is one thing to face criticism from people I don’t know, it’s an entirely different thing to face it from my family and from real life people whose opinions matter deeply to me.

So, after a slight panic attack over my fears, I’m pushing them aside. I cannot think that way, because really, what if they love it? What if they know the right person to help me get into the publishing industry? What if we have two more people in our corner, supporting us in our struggle to grow our family? There are a million and one positive possibilities, and I need to focus on them as I work to share my story and hopefully inspire others enduring recurrent pregnancy loss and miscarriages.

So, in an effort to break the silence and reduce the stigma of miscarriage and infertility, I am going to keep sharing our story. I am going to keep risking my fears and telling people.

If you like this post, please feel free to share it and please return to myperfectbreakdown.com to follow my journey.

25 Comments on “Breaking the Silence and Sharing Our Story

    • Thank you! I too am glad to have you walking along side me.
      I believe that it is important that we, as in the infertility community, starts sharing our stories to help break the silence and reduce the isolation that many of us experience. So, a reference here or there to help share the knowledge is important! 🙂

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  1. Thank you for writing this and sharing. I too, have difficulty trusting myself taking risks from other people’s comments. One thing is not to disturb their perfect life, another is not to take more sympathy and attention from others. (I did not want that kind of spot light.)

    I slowly open up more. One day, I hope I will no longer hesitate to say what I want to say.

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  2. Thank you so much for sharing this. After our miscarriage, we were shocked. The thought of losing our baby never even entered our mind. What was more surprising was how many people we spoke to afterwards who had a miscarriage or knew someone who did. We vowed that we would become mentors to others going through IF…it’s time to stop hiding. I applaud you!

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    • Thank you for the encouragement! I think speaking out and supporting anyone else going through IF is wonderful of you!
      Also, thank you for stopping by and reading.

      Like

  3. I can’t imagine losing five babies… I’m so very sorry. I do want to thank you though, for sharing your story, even though it must have been difficult for you. I appreciate others being open, I learn so much from fellow bloggers, often more than from my doctors.

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    • Thank you Stefanie. I figure, as hard as it has been on me, at least by sharing I might be able to help someone else. So, I am both glad and humbled to know that my experience is able to help you.

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      • The last couple of months I’ve been struggling with the purpose of all this. The point of all of us struggling with infertility and so much more really. I’m having a hard time, but so far I’ve determined it’s the wonderful people I have met through this journey so far. Maybe in 20 years we’ll look back and understand the purpose in greater detail.

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      • I really have no idea what the purpose is. To completely turn our lives upside down and see where we fall out of all of it? I just have no idea….who knows what we will feel in 20 years! I’m thinking it might just be that I’m grateful to not be living the daily struggle, but maybe there will be a greater understanding of the purpose.

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  4. I was so fed up with living in secret about my losses by the time I started my blog that I decided to make it public and even created a corresponding facebook page that I shared with everyone. It was the most terrifying thing I have ever done, but the support I received has been amazing. I received a few well intended but annoying comments, but for the most part, I received only love and support. It’s weird, I’ve only recently become more private and have refrained from posting about this new pregnancy on my corresponding facebook page. I’m not sure why, but I think I’m just not comfortable with everyone knowing yet. It’s hilarious too because it really made me realize how many people just follow the myhopejar facebook feed, but not the actual blog! I think you’re amazing for sharing your story hon and you will know when you’re ready to open it up to everyone in your life.

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    • Thanks for sharing your experience. I know we too will eventually open up to everyone, and hopefully the people we think will not be supportive will surprise us.
      Also, our experience with annoying comments has been pretty limited as well. I think the annoying comments are meant to be supportive, and unfortunately people just don’t know what to say – or at least that’s what I tell myself to prevent any inappropriate responses on my behalf.

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      • I’d like to believe that too. I think people mean well, but like you said, they just don’t get it. It’s so frustrating. Hopefully through sharing our stories, we can make a better awareness and understanding.

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  5. Thank you for this, and I think it’s amazing and brave to start sharing what you’ve been through. I’m a very private person and have grappled with how open to be, but decided to share our struggles just on principle to try and break the silence and stigma on this subject like you say. But I get how vulnerable and scary it can be. I still have only shared my blog with a few people that I trust, and am trying to get brave enough to share with more. I also find a lot of the time I stay quiet just for fear of making the other person uncomfortable!

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    • Thank you for your thoughtful comment. It is really nice to know that others understand what I’m feeling and that there is a lot of fear associated with telling everyone I know about this blog.

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  6. Oh my, I am with you all the way on sharing the blog with family being the scariest thing! I showed my mother one of my blog posts and had her read it on my phone (I couldn’t bring myself to just give her the link). While she was reading, I felt like my heart couldn’t decide if it was going to stop completely or beat a rhythm that could rival any drummer.

    Sharing such a vulnerable piece of yourself with a stranger is so much easier than sharing with those that you love. I applaud your bravery and decision to share with your aunt and uncle.

    Mindy

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    • Thanks for the encouragement and for sharing your experience with your mom! I definitely have not had the courage to share this with my dad, at least not yet. I admire your courage to share even one post with your mom!!

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  7. Your writing is beautiful and so articulate. I too have just started blogging about our story – one I kept quiet even though I’ve been blogging a while. There does seem to be a real silence around infertility and pregnancy loss and I wonder if it’s because a lot of people simply don’t know how to respond or maybe there is a misunderstanding into how much grief surrounds those involved. I’ve noticed a real community since connecting with bloggers with similar backstories so I hope you can feel supported through this.

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    • Thank you so much for such a wonderful compliment. I am truly touched.
      I also really appreciate you sharing your story and your experience. I too have felt a sense of community and understanding in the blogging world that I have not felt anywhere else. I thinks its because we all get the crazy that comes with infertility. I also agree that most people just don’t know how to respond to our situations and really don’t understand the grief associated with being unable to conceive or being unable to carry a baby to term.
      Thank you again for sharing.

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  8. Pingback: What I’ve Learned from the Infertility Blogging Community | My Perfect Breakdown

  9. It’s really a nice and useful piece of information.
    I’m glad that you shared this helpful information with us.
    Please stay us informed like this. Thanks for sharing.

    Like

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