Family planning, pregnancy and babies, we hear, talk and read a lot about these. Especially when one steps in their twenties (that is the average marriageable age in India) these topics begin to catch our eye more often.
My case was no different. The euphoric, ecstatic feeling of giving birth to an adorable human being sounds pretty exciting. Even when someone unrelated to us shares the ‘good news’ it evokes a similar reaction.
However, I wish to share my experience on a topic that’s seldom talked about. Miscarriages.
Till the unfortunate moment, when I suffered a miscarriage, I had never in my wildest dreams imagined the possibility of it happening to me.
It was not about living in denial but lack of awareness on the topic.
I had never in over twenty years of my existence, heard anyone talk openly about this devastating, heart-breaking phenomenon. Hence, I had absolutely no clue how to react to it.
The emotional breakdown, sense of loss and hormones played a havoc on my mind. Triggered by the storm of negative thoughts that cluttered my shattered mind. I couldn’t put a finger on what wrong had I done in my life to deserve this.
Where had I been unforgivably negligent to lose my first unborn baby, long before the joy of motherhood could fill up my life?
The worst bit was, though the body recovered from the loss in some time, the psychological impact of the loss lingered long after.
Depressive thoughts like nature didn’t think of me good enough to be a mother, streaked my thoughts on more than one occasion.
It was then that during one of my regular follow-ups with my (then) gynaecologist I learnt something life-changing.
“Miscarriages are pretty common all over the world, even though we don’t hear about them so often. They are particularly rampant around the start and end of the reproductive years, when the body itself chooses which fertilized egg would make for a healthy baby to go on and lead a healthy life.
It is quite a process of natural selection (barring a few cases where an accident or an underlying medical condition is the cause) and feeling sad about the loss is equally natural.
Self-doubt or blaming oneself for the mishap is surely not the way to handle the situation.”
I know, it comes across as regular professional advise, but at that hour of immense distress it had successfully erased the self-doubt and pain, my loss had left me with. The understanding of a miscarriage being something that happens to a large number of women, made me feel normal instantly.
His words of wisdom made the grieving woman in me, see a ray of hope that I too could be a mother someday. It changed my life in a positive way.
Over the years after a lot of talks, prodding and discussions, I was amazed to note that nearly 65% women in my own family had suffered a miscarriage at some point in their reproductive years. It was quite an eye-opener for me.
While the words of wisdom from my gynaecologist helped me cope with my loss, I wish to share that every woman’s body goes through a different process.
From my personal experience about which I have talked in detail here, I had initially thought that all women go through a similar sequence of events. How wrong I was, came to light when I started talking about my experience to my friends and peers.
For some women, miscarriages can be over in a day or two but for others, it could take longer.
For me what actually heightened the trauma associated with the loss of my unborn child was the sequence of medical procedures that felt discomforting and invasive (vaginal ultrasounds, mainly) in those hours of immense distress.
Besides, in the days that followed, the ongoing weakness and the dread I felt every time my souse and I talked about pregnancy and children added to the pain of the loss.
But why am I recounting these things today?
Lately, I have come across a number of blogs and accounts where I read about the miserable time women who had had a miscarriage had.
I read about young women giving up coffee, their favourite foods, dancing, aerobics and more, simply cause they attributed these to the probable cause of the mishap.
I have read women getting desperate about becoming a mother or their families blame them for being the ‘evil one‘ to have been faced with this tragedy.
In today’s times with advanced medical science and access to the treasure of knowledge on Internet, we are still stuck in such thoughts and beliefs because of less of awareness on miscarriages.
While the cause of a miscarriage can be anything from an accident to natural selection to an underlying medical condition, its impact on the woman is always the same.
I believe, just as sex-education doesn’t end at talking alone about the birds and bees, the need to talk openly about sex-lives extends way beyond pregnancy & childbirth.
It is important to talk, share and seek professional counselling (if necessary) to help the grieving woman come out of her pain.
If you or anyone you know blames herself for this unfortunate event of their life, please tell them what my gynaecologist had once told me.
Procreation is an important part of the lives of all living organisms, but we all must remember, it is still just a part and not life itself.
We must muster the strength to move on. Normally. And help others do so.
The song on my mind: Ye jeevan hai ~ Piya ka Ghar