Why Are Miscarriages Shameful?

Photo by John-Mark Smith on Unsplash

Finding out I was pregnant a few months ago brought up the same feelings as the first time — shock, happiness, fear and excitement.

Finding out I miscarried at 7 weeks was unexpected.

While the news was sad, I found relief in knowing nothing the woman does causes a miscarriage. Unless you’re doing hard drugs, you aren’t causing a miscarriage.

But when I saw the empty ultrasound, I immediately blamed myself.

Was I working out too much? Was I taking the wrong prenatal vitamins? Did I eat something I wasn’t supposed to that triggered this? Should I not have been on an airplane?

The reality of being pregnant — feeling pregnant — and then suddenly not was overwhelming. Having my pregnancy symptoms physically and literally vanish overnight was confusing. But my doctor’s words were comforting.

She informed me there is no link to caffeine and miscarriages, despite many people saying pregnant women should cut back, and even eliminate, caffeine. She said working out only helps keep a pregnancy healthy, not hinder it. She said there is no direct correlation with miscarriages and flight attendants, regardless of many people thinking that flying, especially during their first trimester, is harmful.

What she did say was that one in three pregnancies ends in miscarriage. They are so common, but so few people know it (and believe it) because it was — and still is — viewed as shameful.

She explained that 70% of miscarriages are due to chromosomal abnormalities, meaning you cannot prevent or cause a miscarriage. “Having a perfect match,” aka carrying a healthy pregnancy to full term, is actually quite difficult to achieve.

I understand if women who have miscarried feel like they can’t open up about their experience. It’s emotional for all and traumatizing for some. But I hope as social and cultural stigmas continue to lift, that miscarriages will follow suit.

Thanks for reading

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Ashley Alt

Ashley Alt

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Life is better when we laugh. I write about the importance of mental health & believe our weirdness is what makes us great. https://ashleyalt.substack.com/