Pregnancy is supposed to be a secret until you make it to 12 weeks. The reason for this is that most miscarriages take place before 12 weeks.
The Woman Post | Catalina Mejía Pizano
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Miscarriages are more common than we think, occurring in 10 to 20 percent of all pregnancies. Despite its frequency, losing a baby is still a taboo subject, when seen from a global perspective.
Let’s talk about science first. In general terms, a baby who died before 28 weeks of pregnancy is considered a miscarriage, while babies who die at or after 28 weeks are known as stillbirths. Each year, approximately 2 million babies are stillborn, and many of these deaths could be prevented. However, according to the World Health Organization, many of these deaths are not documented or systematically recorded, even in developed countries. Hence, the number could be larger.
Now, what future mothers are most worried about is that access to healthcare services and hospitals is not always available, and even worse, stigma and guilt also play a part in women who lose a baby. This explains why miscarriages are generally revealed only after a successful birth of a child. For instance, Beyoncé only revealed her miscarriage after Blue Ivy was born and Mariah Carey only revealed hers, after twins Monroe and Morrocan came into the world. When talking about her experience with miscarriage, Beyoncé mentioned: “I learned that all pain and loss is, in fact, a gift. Having miscarriages taught me that I had to mother myself before I could be a mother to someone else”.
It is worth highlighting that the WHO has warned that women who lose a baby during pregnancy are at risk of developing mental health issues at least for months. But, why is it a taboo subject if one in four known pregnancies will end in miscarriage? The cultural and societal beliefs concerning the loss of a baby, vary around the world. In some African countries, people believe that a baby might be stillborn due to witchcraft and evil spirits. In other cases, grief, shame, and guilt prevent people from talking about their experiences.
These are some reasons why the world needs to normalize speaking about miscarriage:
1. It Is Way More Common Than We All Think
Since 20% of pregnancies may result in miscarriage, it is of vital importance to prevent women from suffering in silence. More information and support networks would be helpful to normalize losing a baby.
2. Parents Should Not Think It Was Their Fault
A large percentage of miscarriages are caused by the body signaling that the baby had chromosomal problems that would not allow it to grow. Hence, there was nothing that could have possibly been done to prevent the miscarriage. However, some parents feel guilty and wonder if they did something wrong. If the world spoke more about the subject, the fault could be prevented.
3. Infertility Problems May Influence Parenting Decisions
A study from 1990 revealed that if parents had experienced infertility problems before having a child, they were more critical of their parenting, describing it as “overprotective, child-centered ore ven neglectful.” This is why talking about miscarriages and informing parents how common it is, could potentially influence the way people treat their children and the way they experience parenthood.
It is also key to remember that being informed about miscarriage is not only a must for women trying to get pregnant but for all of us because almost everyone will know someone who has suffered pregnancy loss and we can all do better by understanding their grief!