How I told others about our miscarriage
By Juliana Kassianos, Transformational Fertility Coach, Yoga Teacher and Founder of The School of Fertility
One of the hardest things I found immediately following our miscarriage was talking about it, no matter whether it was to family members, friends or strangers. Everything was still so raw and the only person I wanted to communicate with was Steve, my husband, as he was the one person who shared my grief and who knew how best to comfort me.
NOBODY KNEW WE WERE PREGNANT
When we got the positive pregnancy result, like most people, we decided not to tell anyone other than our parents. We were going to wait until our 12-week NHS scan, by which time the risk of miscarriage decreases, and we’d have a visual confirmation that all was progressing as expected with the pregnancy. This meant that when we had the ‘missed miscarriage’ following a 10-week scan, all our close family and friends had no idea we’d even been pregnant. I think this is why I found it so hard to start the conversation. After all, what are you supposed to say? “Oh, by the way we were pregnant, but now we’re not”. It’s not exactly something that’s easy to slip into conversation or announce out of the blue.
WE DON’T TALK ABOUT MISCARRIAGE
It was also hard because as a society we don’t openly talk about miscarriage, which I know from my experience, does make you feel slightly alone in what you’re going through. I think there’s this age-old attitude of past generations that you’re supposed to just get on with things and not talk about your emotions, which thankfully is starting to change, but I think it still plays a part in the silence that surrounds the subject.
TELLING OUR FAMILY
Both our parents had known we were going for a 10-week scan, so Steve called and messaged them soon after to let them know what had happened. I know it wasn't easy for him to make the calls and I certainly couldn't have made them myself, as I wasn't up for speaking to anyone at that point. It was comforting having our parents support though, just knowing they were there for us.
We were due to go on holiday with the rest of our family less than a week after the surgery, which meant we needed to let them know, so that they understood if we needed time to be by ourselves. We let our parents pass on the news and not wanting to upset our little nieces, we just told them that I'd had a small operation, which meant I couldn't go swimming. The fact that they didn't know, did make it slightly harder. At times, I felt I had to “fake it” around them and pretend I was fine, but it was better than unnecessarily upsetting them with the devastating news, which we at the time, hadn't even got our heads around.
NOT WANTING TO WORRY PREGNANT FRIENDS
My best friends who I’d normally turn to for support, were in their second trimester of pregnancy at the time. I felt opening up to them might make them worry (even more) that something might happen to their pregnancy’s, even though of course miscarriage isn’t contagious. I just thought it might bring the fear of something happening that little bit closer to home. Also, I didn’t want them to be concerned about me, especially whilst pregnant, which knowing their caring characters, I knew they would be.
HEALING THROUGH SHARED EXPERIENCE
The one person I did open up to, was one of my best friends who I knew had experienced a miscarriage before she had her beautiful daughter. It wasn’t easy starting the conversation, but once I had, I felt like I could share all my thoughts, feelings and emotions with her. Just the mere act of sharing our stories made me feel like I wasn’t so alone.
THE POWER OF THE WRITTEN WORD
I considered messaging my closest friends on our group WhatsApp to let them know what had happened, but how do you put something so personal in a tiny little message, plus I didn’t want to come across as though I was seeking sympathy.
Instead, I used my blog and Instagram as my way of letting everyone know, as it meant I could tell my story, but in constructive way that I hoped would help others who have been unfortunate enough to have gone through something similar. It allowed me to express a lot of the emotional side of what we went through, which I probably wouldn’t have felt so comfortable doing face-to-face if I’m honest.
Bear in mind though that it wasn’t until a month after it happened that I posted my first blog entry on it. I wanted to write it from a positive place and it took me a good few weeks to come to terms with the fact I was no-longer pregnant, and we were no-longer going to have our little one.
THE RESPONSE RECIEVED
Once the news was out, I received a mx of responses. My friends sent me such heart-felt lovely messages of support – thank you if you’re reading this! Some came forward with their own miscarriage stories, which was amazing, and they offered so much love. I think some genuinely didn’t know what words of support to offer, so didn’t say anything at all. Then others tried to be supportive and positive, but unintentionally said things which I felt were slightly dismissive, which was a little difficult to deal with at the time.
THERE’S NO RIGHT OR WRONG WAY TO TELL OTHERS
If you’ve had the heart-breaking experience of having a miscarriage and choose to be open about it, I don't think there’s a right or wrong way to tell others, nor a best time either. We all experience miscarriage and the after effects in different ways. It’s about doing what feels right for you, when it feels right for you and not putting pressure on yourself either.
For you, it may be in person, by speaking to someone you trust who will wrap you up in their arms and give you a big hug. You may ask a friend to spread the word, so you don’t have to tell everyone directly in person or talk about it at all if you don’t wish to. Otherwise, like me, you may prefer to say it in writing.
From my own experience, I truly believe being open about it through my writing is one of the things that has really helped me to process all my thoughts surrounding what happened and ultimately heal from it. I also hope that by doing so, I can inspire others to talk openly about their own experiences, so that we can all help each other feel more supported and less alone.