Why we should talk more openly about early miscarriage during pregnancy self

It’s common practice in the medical community to suggest women wait to share their pregnancy news until they are "out of the woods.” in medical terms, that generally means waiting until after the first trimester, or around 12 weeks in. When you’ve hit this mark, you’re apparently in an ostensible safe zone—a time to celebrate and let your baby bump show.

Take it from me—a psychologist who specializes in women’s reproductive and maternal mental health, and someone who had a miscarriage at 16 weeks—there is no such thing as guaranteed safety in pregnancy, and a loss at any stage can be fraught.First trimester

It’s time we stop being afraid to speak openly and honestly about the realities of miscarriage and grief at any point during pregnancy—whether it’s during the early stages or later on.

Miscarriage remains a taboo topic shrouded in stigma, silence, and shame. But it’s actually really common. Approximately 10 to 25 percent of pregnancies result in miscarriage. And about 80 percent of all miscarriages happen during the first trimester, according to the american college of obstetricians and gynecologists (ACOG).

Given the fact that miscarriage is not a disease, and therefore can’t be “cured,” these statistics aren’t going anywhere.First trimester the sooner we acknowledge that early miscarriage is normal, the sooner women will shed shame and engage in frank conversation. Let’s unpack the age-old messaging of “wait until the second trimester.”

It reads something like this: “don’t share your good news until you are in the clear. This way, if your good news becomes bad news, then you won’t have to share your bad news.” but suggesting that women stay mum during these preliminary weeks and in the event of an early miscarriage further stigmatizes all women who don’t experience full-term pregnancies. It implies that you probably won’t want to (or shouldn’t) share news of a miscarriage, so you shouldn’t say anything until the risk of that happening is lower.First trimester

Don’t get me wrong, it’s completely understandable if you’d like to keep news of your pregnancy to yourself for however long and for whatever reason. Miscarriages are undoubtedly difficult and, for some women, they can be traumatic to talk about. But it’s worth reflecting on whether you’re choosing consciously not to talk about it or reflexively avoiding it because it’s so ingrained in us not to talk about grief.

The reality is, a miscarriage at any stage might require support. When we encourage women to be hush-hush in the early weeks of pregnancy, we’re potentially robbing women of support they need should a miscarriage take place.Good news

Opening up about loss and expressing grief candidly can create a sense of community and connectedness during an otherwise isolating time. It also might inspire others to do the same.

Back in 2014, in the aftermath of my own pregnancy loss, I created the #ihadamiscarriage campaign in an effort to bolster support and eschew silence. I wanted to foster community and a safe place to grieve.

I was 16 weeks along, out of the proverbial woods, and I had already shared my good news with just about everyone. So, upon losing my pregnancy, I was smothered by much-needed support. Had I not been open about the fact that I was expecting, I may have mourned alone.Good news I was undoubtedly relieved to be surrounded by ongoing support. Others, of course, may prefer navigating a loss more privately.

Grief affects everyone differently, and sometimes we don’t have a clue what we need until we are living it. From the therapist’s chair, I’ve heard it all—and one thing holds true: the pain of sharing or not sharing a loss, whether it happens at 5 weeks or 40 weeks, is poignant and individual. If you want to share pregnancy news early, go for it. If not, that’s OK too.

Deciding when and with whom to share the news of a pregnancy is a highly personal decision.Early miscarriage but whatever you choose, know that you deserve support (if you want it) through the journey of pregnancy, at every stage, no matter the outcome.

Of course there is value in learning the facts and figures about pregnancy from health-care providers: the checkpoints, myriad milestones, and how best to care for ourselves through the process. But let’s open up the dialogue beyond the medical details, and the 12-week "rule," and strive to integrate loss and grief into the maternity conversation. In doing so, we might actually normalize what is already, in fact, normal.

Jessica zucker is a los angeles-based psychologist specializing in women’s reproductive and maternal mental health and the creator of the #ihadamiscarriage campaign.Early miscarriage