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the box you lifted, the wine you had, the termination you had, or anything else in your life that led to early pregnancy loss. People often ask when they should tell people they are pregnant. My stock answer has been that she should tell whomever she would want support from regardless of how the pregnancy goes. Family and close friends certainly are appropriate to tell at any time. With miscarriage, you go through all of the stages of grieving that you would experience with any other loss. There is no such thing as “just” an early miscarriage. From the time you get a positive pregnancy test, you have visualized what your family will look like with this new person, formed a concept of what this baby would be like, planned your work/life schedule, and essentially created a full existence to incorporate this event. Whether loss occurs 10 minutes, 10 years, or 50 years after your positive pregnancy test, you will grieve and this is completely normal. You need friends and family to support you. Many of them will be able to commiserate with you. We would not expect anyone to undergo any other traumatic loss without support, nor should we. It is well documented that men an women grieve these losses in completely different ways. Though it is important to traverse this experience with your partner, it is also important to have a wider field in which to express yourself. Women still occupy a peculiar societal space. While moving forward with power in the workplace, we still so frequently define ourselves by our “womanly identities.” It is clear that woman still do the majority of housework and child rearing, and are judged both by ourselves and others by how well we carry out those tasks. Miscarriage hits at the heart of these insecurities. Internally, we are indoctrinated to feel like our fertility status is linked to our intrinsic identity, and any glitch in the system makes us less of a person. Until there is more understanding of the frequency and randomness of pregnancy loss, and public willingness to claim our losses, we cannot move forward. We all live in fear that saying we have miscarried will be responded to with disparaging or pitying silence. The reality is that the response will be a resounding round of, “me too.”

Miscarriage is difficult when you have had children because you feel like you have a more firm conception of what this baby will be. It is differently difficult when it is your first pregnancy and, no matter what your head knows, you feel like this could be your reproductive destiny. I have first hand knowledge of both of these situations. My first miscarriage happened when watching the movie Titanic. I was finishing my residency and knew all the facts, but still emotionally felt sad an worried. I subsequently had four healthy term births intermingled with several more miscarriages. We all feel like we have the ability to control the outcome. Like the person whose team won the game while they wore their lucky shirt, I never again went to the movies while I was in the first trimester of pregnancy. Crazy, right? Yet, some of those pregnancies went uneventfully and some did not. Ultimately I was able to understand emotionally as well as intellectually that these events occurred at the moment of fertilization and had nothing to do with me in the concrete sense. It is time that women come clean with their miscarriage experiences for themselves, for the women surrounding them, and for todays girls who are tomorrows women. Miscarriage is not your fault. It is not shameful. It is not failure. It does not increase your risk of miscarriage in your next pregnancy (though it doesn’t decrease it either). Fertility does not define you. Only through facts and communal honesty about our losses can we stop grieving in silence.

FRANCESC A’S STORY by Francesca Muratore

Tuesday September 30, 2014 at 2:07pm was when I was ushered into the room for my 37 week checkup. I was seen twice a week at this point because this was considered a high risk pregnancy. Besides this our little boy was doing great, every appointment showed him growing on point, heart rate was perfect, and the night before my husband and I spent it

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Profile for Jenny Witte

Mamatoga Summer 2015  

Mamatoga Summer 2015  

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