July 21, 2018

Miscarriage doesn’t need to be a Dirty Little Secret.

“I guess that’s why people wait three months until they start telling people,” my boyfriend says to his mom over the phone as he broke the news.

For a moment I regretted that we had told those who were closest to us. I cursed myself for not being able to wait a little longer to share our excitement. But the more I thought about it, I thought: why? 

Why do we have to bear this burden alone? Why do I have to come up with reasons to tell my friends that I don’t have energy to go out? Or tell my boss why I can’t manage to pull myself out of bed? Why do I need to keep this dirty little secret, to prevent other people from the possibility of being uncomfortable with the news?

I think that last question bothered me the most—why should I hide my sadness in order to avoid creating an uncomfortable situation for another person? Could you imagine, an encounter at work: “Hey, how’s it going? I’ve noticed you’ve been away for a few days, how are you doing?” “Oh hey Bob, thanks for asking. Actually, I feel like sh*t because I was eight-weeks pregnant and had a miscarriage over the weekend. Thanks for asking, enjoy your coffee.”

Of course, that isn’t how an actual encounter should go down—and I am a firm believer in this Brené Brown quote: “Share your story with those who have earned the right to hear it.”

Do I think that I should be running around telling every single person that I had a miscarriage? Well, no. (Although, I guess sending an article to Elephant Journal isn’t exactly keeping it on “the DL.”) The truth is, I don’t want to talk about it over and over. But I also don’t believe in this hush-hush society, where we bear our burdens in secret, behind closed doors.

There is tremendous sadness in the loss of a miscarriage. There is grief, anger, confusion, questions, and supreme sadness. Why should women have to keep this secret to themselves? Seeing those two little lines was a really exciting time for my boyfriend and I—I mean, scary as sh*t, but we were excited. And we wanted to share that excitement with some of our closest friends and family. I guess the question then becomes, why build up the excitement if you might just let them down? I don’t know. Life isn’t easy. And in a world of perfect portraits through social media, maybe the grief, the challenges, and the downfalls make us a little stronger and bring us a little closer?

In the end, I know it’s each person’s choice, whether we choose to tell or we choose to keep it a secret. Fifteen to twenty percent of pregnancies end in miscarriage. Personally, I don’t think we should feel like we have to keep it a secret; I wanted to share it with my family. We shared in the excitement together, and now we share in the sadness. While it’s a personal choice, I don’t think that choice should be made on the fact that you don’t want to let other people down if it happens. I don’t think it needs to be this dirty little secret that we hold onto for years.

Miscarrying is sad. Devastating. Don’t feel like you have to hold that all on your own shoulders. The choice was mine, and I chose to celebrate with my small inner circle for those first few weeks—and now that I’ve had to break the sad news, I have a few select people who check in and understand why I may not be up for that bike ride or that yoga class.

Whatever you choose, I’m sure it’s the right choice for you. But never ever let someone else’s potential reaction dictate the reasons for your personal choices. Having a miscarriage doesn’t need to be your dirty little secret.


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Megan McDougall

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