Having a baby is possibly the biggest joy of a mother’s life if she is mentally and physically ready for the job at hand. Your life is going to change forever, I still remember my gynac telling me, and it did. Motherhood becomes the epicentre of our existence, doesn’t it? But what if the baby cannot make it to the world? What if a woman loses her child before she can have her or him? How do you go back on your journey of motherhood? The mental preparation, the joy, the anxiety and the anticipation of a life-defining event, how does one cope, when such a change doesn’t formulate?

SOME TAKEAWAYS:

  • 10-15 percent of pregnancies end up in miscarriages between sixth to twelfth week period.
  • As per a study, 29 percent of the participants showed symptoms of post-traumatic stress one month after pregnancy loss.
  • Women are often discouraged from speaking about miscarriages, they are left to themselves in dealing with their loss.
  • Lack of communication also keeps women from forming a support system and reaching to other women who may have had a similar experience.

How do you go back on your journey to motherhood? The mental preparation, the joy, the anxiety and the anticipation of a life-defining event, how does one cope, when such a change doesn’t formulate?

Miscarriages among women of reproductive age aren’t uncommon. According to a study titled 1st-trimester miscarriage: four decades of study, 10-15 percent of pregnancies end up in miscarriages between sixth to twelfth week period.  The expecting mother’s age also affects this percentage, with losses ranging from 10 percent for women between 20-24 years of age to 51 percent in women between the age of 40-44 years. And yet a measured silence surrounds the discussions around this issue. Losing a baby is utterly painful, but can you imagine how traumatic it must be to not be able to share this pain with anyone because of the stigma?

Also Read: Data Reveals A Pattern Of Miscarriage Cases In Maharashtra

Since women are often discouraged from speaking about miscarriages, they are left to themselves in dealing with their loss. This could have a negative effect on their mental health. In a study on 650 women, by Imperial College London and KU Leuven in Belgium, 29 percent participants showed symptoms of post-traumatic stress one month after pregnancy loss, that declined to 18 percent after nine months. A total of 24 percent of the participants experienced symptoms such as anxiety, on the other hand, 11 percent of the women experienced symptoms of depression one month after their loss.

The fact that women continued to experience symptoms of PSTD beyond the nine months span that their pregnancy was scheduled to last, indicates that grief and trauma don’t affect every person identically.

The silence around miscarriages often keeps women from seeking help that could save them from the turmoil that depression and anxiety can throw them into. It is like being shoved into solitary confinement, where they must “deal” with their problems on their own, instead of opening up to their loved ones and friends. A concerned loved one could spot signs of depression or anxiety from a conversation and urge you to seek professional help. Besides, just being able to share your ordeal with someone can ease it to a great measure.

Lack of communication also keeps women from forming a support system and reaching to other women who may have had similar experience. You are not alone, just to know that can help deal with the sense of helplessness and loneliness. It could bring you out of that solitary confinement and not just seek support, but provide the same to others as well.

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The fact that women continued to experience symptoms of PSTD beyond the nine months span that their pregnancy was scheduled to last, indicates that grief and trauma don’t affect every person identically. Similarly, one person may take a few weeks or months to get over such a loss, for another, it may be a process of a lifetime. Which is why we must learn to keep our judgemental gaze aside when it comes to dealing with miscarriages. Instead of shaming someone for not getting over a loss despite the passage of a stipulated time, ask how you can help ease the process of healing for them. Empathy is the only thing one must offer to women dealing with miscarriages, not advice or judgement.

Image Credit: Livestrong

Yamini Pustake Bhalerao is a writer with the SheThePeople team, in the Opinions section. The views expressed are author’s own.

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