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Challenge: Pregnancy and Infant Loss

Miscarriage is common, but it still matters

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It’s not uncommon for a woman experiencing a miscarriage to be told “it’s common” before being sent home with a body and heart in pieces.

The sorrow and grief caused by pregnancy loss is often dismissed for that very reason. Because “it’s common.” Medical providers see it daily. It’s certainly nothing new.

Until you’re the one experiencing it. Generally speaking, miscarriage and pregnancy loss ARE common — after all, an estimated one in four pregnancies ends in loss. But individually? Losing a baby feels anything but common. The depth of grief is immeasurable, and though it’s a common experience, those of us who have lost babies still don’t quite have a sufficient word in our vocabulary to effectively describe the emptiness of such a loss.

At any given time, we are walking among women who are (often silently) carrying the grief of pregnancy loss. Women who were told “it’s common” and sent home without much more than a prescription to try again.

The thing is, pregnancy in general is common. But we don’t dismiss it because of that. We don’t shrug our shoulders at pregnancy announcements and respond with “it’s common.”

No, we LOVE to celebrate pregnancy. We LOVE to hold it in high regard and refer to it as the miracle it is. We LOVE to recognize it with a sense of wonder and awe. We LOVE to care for pregnant women and ask them how they’re doing. We LOVE to anticipate the birth of a new baby.

We approach pregnancy with excitement and glee. We NEVER seem to tire of it.

But pregnancy loss?

Too often, we respond to it with a dismissive “it’s common” and leave women to grieve alone. We tell them to try again or encourage them to find something to be grateful for. Or maybe we even ignore it. The pregnancy that was previously approached with joy and celebration is suddenly forgotten along with the grief that follows.

Yes, pregnancy loss is common just as pregnancy itself is common. But if we are able to celebrate with mothers who are pregnant, we should also be able to mourn with mothers who suddenly are not.

If we can acknowledge the joy of pregnancy, we should also be able to acknowledge the grief of pregnancy loss. If we can see beauty in pregnancy, we should also be able to see the ashes of pregnancy loss. If we can smile with a happily pregnant woman, we should also be able to cry with the one whose smile has been replaced with tears of pregnancy loss.

Pregnancy is common. So is pregnancy loss. But they both matter. Neither should be dismissed. Let’s honor each accordingly.

This post originally appeared here. Jenny Albers is the author of Courageously Expecting: 30 Days of Encouragement for Pregnancy After Loss. You can connect with her on Facebook and Instagram.

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