As I understand it, you’re not suppose to talk about miscarriage. Or first trimester pregnancy at all, really, but mostly you’re not suppose to talk about miscarriage. They happen, of course, all the time, regardless of the conversation, but my best guess at social propriety is that you’re just suppose to power through, nothing-to-see-here like, suffer quietly, and reemerge to the world at some point, no worse for the wear.
September 10, 2012 by LizScott
Clearly, that’s not the route I chose to go, as I posted rather publicly about my miscarriage on Facebook. My brother tactfully mentioned “Well, uhh, that’s not really the status update people usually give on Facebook”, which is a very, very solid point. And there’s plenty of people on Facebook that I’d just as soon not talk about my reproductive process with, so I can see why one might not say anything.
But here’s how this went down: months ago, Mike and I signed up to do the RAGNAR Colorado relay with some of our friends. These races are 200 miles, split up between 12 people. Each person runs three legs of the relay over a 24 hour period. I know I’m not doing a good job of describing why this is fun, but just trust me: it’s really fun. It’s 24 hours in a van with fun people running in some gorgeous scenery. If you like running, road trips, and the people in your van, you will like a race like this.
And then we found out I was pregnant. Technically I know you’re not suppose to tell people you’re pregnant in the first trimester, but given that it was impacting my running pace SIGNIFICANTLY, we told the RAGNAR group, giving them the option to replace me as a runner. Either they didn’t care about their time or finding a new runner was too hard (or both!), but they claimed not to care, and all was good.
And then we found out the pregnancy wasn’t looking good, and then we found out it was over. I had a D&C to complete the miscarriage on Wednesday, 48 hours before the start of the relay. Now, of COURSE I should not have raced. Miscarriages are sad, and they are painful. But weirdly, post- D&C, I felt kind of great. I attribute this to truly horrific first trimester symptoms that went away very quickly (ok, fine, and painkillers). I woke up Thursday morning feeling better than I had in over three weeks, and frankly, I was tired of sitting on the couch feeling sorry for myself. I didn’t want to stay home that weekend; I wanted to do the relay.
My doctor gave me a side glance when I asked if I could do it, but she did confirm I wouldn’t do any harm to myself – I just likely wouldn’t be very comfortable running, and it might make recovery take slightly longer. My team was willing to step up and run for me if it turned out I couldn’t, so I figured there was no harm and just GOING, so I went.
Oh, you guys. It was the smartest thing I could have done, and I’m not being sarcastic. Everyone on my team knew what was going on, so suddenly I was allowed to talk about it. I didn’t have to pretend I was fine or just under the weather or any other euphemism we’re suppose to use to avoid talking about miscarriage. Of the five other people in my van, one woman was a nurse, one woman was an embryologist at a fertility clinic, and one woman had suffered multiple losses before having her two children. I found myself surrounded by women who could relate, sympathize, and let me just act like what I was going through was normal.
So I posted on Facebook what was up. That I was running the RAGNAR relay 48 hours after a miscarriage and I was so happy to be there. It was probably the most factual status update I’ve ever posted. And while I’m sure it was uncomfortable for some people to read, the response I received – messages of love and support and hope and even humor – did as much to heal me as any other part of this process. This year’s fertility challenges have often made me feel isolated and alone, and all the sudden I felt anything but.
So, I don’t know. I get that pregnancy loss isn’t something we discuss out in the open. Hell, fertility isn’t even something that is considered polite conversation. But for me, for this weekend, being able to share what was going on with me was incredibly helpful.