Miscarriage can happen to anyone, but it's a topic that never seems to be talked about enough.
According to the March of Dimes, 10-15% of known pregnancies end in a miscarriage. And that number may be higher since some women miscarry before they know they are pregnant. Yet despite how common it is, women who have experienced one rarely talk about it.
And the problem could be even greater among military spouses and female service members where the pressures of military life, such as deployments and frequent moves, could make the grieving and emotional healing process harder. In fact, military life can be extremely isolating during circumstances like this.
Miscarriage affects the mother in more ways than just physically. It affects her marriage, mental health and her comfortability attending events largely geared toward military families with children.
Healing looks different for every woman, but here is a list of resources that might be what someone facing a miscarriage needs.
- Cohen Veterans Network. It provides mental health care for active-duty family members and veterans.
- Military OneSource. A Department of Defense program that provides active-duty service members and their families with resources and counseling at no cost.
- Contact your unit chaplain to find out what resources might be available at your current duty station. For example, Fort Bragg's Womack Army Medical Center provides bereavement support and conducts an annual "Walk to Remember" to honor lost babies during Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness month every October.
These resources can help locate stories and support from others who have also gone through a miscarriage.
- Misccariage Association
- Grieve Out Loud
- Today Show: Miscarriage Matters
- Pregnancy and Infant Loss Support Centre
- M.E.N.D. -- Mommies Enduring Neonatal Death
Books to Read
- "Grieving the Child I Never Knew" by Kate Wunnenberg
- "It's OK to Cry: Finding Hope When Struggling with Infertility and Miscarriage" by Malcolm Cameron
- "Grieving Together: A Couple's Journey Through Miscarriage" by Laura Kelly Fanucci
- "Brokenhearted Hope: Encouraging stories of faithfulness, healing, and hope in the midst of miscarriage and loss" by Heather Shipley
Because I have been through a miscarriage myself, I know what has truly helped me and what has been hurtful. The greatest support that you can give to someone going through a miscarriage is validation. Allow them to feel their emotions and give them a listening ear.
Next, understand that there are no words to "fix it," so offer that friend a hug or a home-cooked meal instead.
Third, be patient with them and give them as much time as they need to grieve and heal. Every woman is different in how they heal and the time frame involved. What you can do, though, is check on your friend often so they know they are not facing the loss alone.
Last, please do not try to minimize their pain with anything that starts with the words "at least." There is no comparison in pregnancy loss, no matter how far or early along a woman is. The pain and devastation miscarriage can cause cannot be measured.
Miscarriages happen for up to half of the pregnancies according to the March of Dimes, and for some women, they happen repeatedly. It is one of the most devastating losses a woman can experience in her lifetime, but there is support available.
If you are going through a miscarriage, please reach out for support. Do not face this alone, and please do not isolate yourself in your grief. There are some amazing professionals out there who can help you through it -- just refer to the list of support systems above.
Wendi Iacobello is a contributing author in "Brave Women, Strong Faith," where she openly shares her story of miscarriage and infertility. She has been an Army Spouse for five years and became a first-time mom in the fall of 2019 after a three-year struggle to conceive. In addition to being a stay at home mom, she is a blogger, freelance writer and instructional design assistant.
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