The deafening silence in pregnancy trauma.
A friend of mine just lost her baby. (Yes, we are going there today)
I was meeting her for coffee. I asked how she was doing.
Not well. She wasn't her normal radiant self. Something was off.
We ordered breakfast. And slowly she told me... she had just lost her baby. After trying for an entire year to get pregnant, she did, and lost it.
She was afraid to share. So many emotions. Was it ok? How would I react? I listened.
And we went into it.. The grief. The anger. The resentment. The awkwardness. The despair. The hate. The rage. The depression. The loss of body. The alien inside her. The cruelty. The why would God do this? Why?! Why the fuck would this happen!?!?
And she felt so alone in this. She didn't know where to turn. What resources existed. Who could she talk to. She felt she had done something bad. That her body was to blame.
Her husband wasn't equipped. Not because he didn't care but because he didn't have the skills. But God how he tried. He felt like he needed to be strong, supportive, and holding as she went through this. But the truth is, he was just as devastated. Scared. Obliterated. In shock.
As we discussed more, we began to realize there were three majorly disconcerting facts here.
1. She blamed herself. That her body was the point of failure. That, that was the problem. But when we started to peel the onion back it was so much more. It was that she was in a male dominated job. High pressure. Extremely driven. No bullshit. No weakness. That type of mentality. And for those women society points to the body as the reason for the failure. Not the circumstances that led to it. Not the pressures. Not the draconian information about women's bodies. No, it was her body. She should hate it. She's too old. Too whatever! HURRY! Have that baby!
And her body is the last thing that should be blamed. It should be fucking worshipped. Instead, it is riddled with fear.
2. There was virtually no information on how to get through this. Yes, info on grief. Yes therapists. Yes self-help with "there is a silver lining" type shit. But what there wasn't, was support. Women coming forward. Women sharing their stories. Women feeling heard. A container of honesty. Of vulnerability. Now I'm not saying they don't exist. And there are amazing organizations out there. But, for the volume at which this is happening, there is still a horrendous stigma on speaking out about experiences like this. And this feeds that, "It's my fault" belief.
3. Who talks to the partners? They have feelings. They have fears and grief. They have shame and sadness. But, are they allowed to feel it? Most people who I've spoken to who have gone through this have all said they need to be strong. They need to be there for their partner. They need not to cry. To be their rock. They need, they need, they need to be something they are not. And when this false sense of needing to be an unemotional pillar is encouraged by families and society, we truly are on a collision course for disaster. Because this is not real. Both sides feel alienated by the other. The communication dries up. An unhealthy repression of emotions. It gets twisted. What could have been a moment of true partnership instead creates a giant chasm of silence. And the irony? They are simply trying their best. They really are.
So why am I writing this. I told my friend I would. She didn't want other people to feel alone. She didn't want it to be shameful. I'm writing this because I sadly don't think this problem is going to get better. I'm writing to the women who think this is their fault. To the partner who is just as grief stricken and afraid. To the stigmas that need to be destroyed. To the deafening silence for the people who feel helpless.
Know that you are not. Not at all. And if you feel alone, email me and we will talk.