I know October is the official breast cancer awareness month. I do not wish to deter from that because it is something we need to be aware of. But October also holds another date I’m not sure many of you would recognize. During the month of October we discuss and raise awareness about breast cancer. Did you know that 1 in 8 women in the United States will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime? Everyone knows about this and talks about it. But would you know that something that has a statistic of 1 in 4 is rarely if ever talked about? This is because it’s considered a taboo.
Something that is taboo is something we don’t talk about, we’re afraid too for reasons of being uncomfortable or fear of judgment. Typically something that is “taboo” is something that isn’t commonplace. But is something that has a 1 in 4 statistic uncommon?I certainly don’t think so.
1 in 4 women will experience pregnancy and infant loss. I’m sure you know more than 4 women. But when was the last time you sat with a bunch of people and discussed how life changing and heart breaking a miscarriage is? When was the last time you called a woman who lived through infant loss a survivor?
We don’t talk about this because women are created to make babies, carry them for 9 months and then deliver a healthy babe into the world to grow up. And for a woman to get pregnant and lose that baby just isn’t normal. Guess what it is, tragically, normal.
Pregnancy and infant loss ARE life changing and heart breaking and the women who come out the other end ARE survivors.
At the end of October 2009 I found out I was pregnant. My first pregnancy! I was so excited, Carl was so excited, and once I got the nerve to tell them my family was excited. The word miscarriage never, ever crossed my mind. I knew what the term meant but it was real in my life, I never discussed it or even thought about it because I thought it was really rare. Everyone I knew who got pregnant had those babies, so why would I be different? I lived in a blissful state of naivety for 4 days happy as a clam dreaming about my baby.
Unfortunately it all changed very fast. I began losing the baby. I at first found every excuse not to believe it but I instantly knew it wasn’t good. I only truly accepted this fate during a relatively traumatic incident during the a Halloween parade. I sat and cried for weeks about that baby. I worked in a daycare for God’s sake! It was cruel punishment to go to work each day to see babies and know I had lost mine.
You might think it ends there but the effects linger. I got pregnant again shortly after. But once I knew I was pregnant I also was sure it wouldn’t hold. I spent my entire pregnancy with Sophia holding my breath and waiting for the other shoe to drop, there were times in the beginning when I honestly thought it had. October came again and I actually debated not going to the parade with my family. But I sucked it up and bundled up my newborn and went out. I spent the entire parade wanting to cry but wouldn’t because I didn’t want t ruin anyone else’s good time. And when I got pregnant with my son you would think having a successful pregnancy under my belt would make me comfortable again. Nope. I will never being able to view another pregnancy with the same rose colored glasses again. I will always wait for the other shoe to drop.
This is how I felt even though I had known for less than a week. Imagine how the women who managed to see their babies on ultrasound or the ones that actually got to find out the gender feel. And yet we’re expected not to talk about it because it makes people uncomfortable, sad, or whatever. THIS IS REAL. Not all babies who are conceived make it to be born.
This Saturday, October 15, is National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day. Do your part to make this less taboo and lighten the burden on the women affected.