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Destigmatizing The Invisible Trauma Of Miscarriage

(Ulises Ruiz/AFP via Getty Images)
(Ulises Ruiz/AFP via Getty Images)

Twenty percent of confirmed pregnancies end in miscarriage in the first trimester. More women are talking about it to destigmatize the loss. We join the conversation.


Sunita Osborn, licensed clinical psychologist. Author of “The Miscarriage Map: What To Expect When You Are No Longer Expecting.” Therapist and director of operations at Modern Therapy, a group practice in Houston.

Dr. Stacy Beck, obstetrician-gynecologist at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Magee-Womens Hospital. (@UPMCnews)

From The Reading List

Psychology Today: “Miscarriage: It’s Not Just a Women’s Issue” — “In recent years, miscarriages have finally begun to be discussed more openly—from public figures such as Michelle Obama sharing her experience with pregnancy loss to numerous platforms dedicated specifically to discussing miscarriage.

“While these strides are incredibly beneficial to promoting dialogue around this painfully common issue, there seems to be one very essential character that is often left out of the narrative: the partners. The woman who miscarried is often portrayed as the main character in the narrative, while her partner, if she has one, barely makes it as a supporting actor. Yet they too have experienced loss—not only the loss of their child, but also the loss of the dreams, hopes, and expectations they had for themselves and their families.

“The Partner’s Experience of Miscarriage

“After my miscarriages, I was fortunate enough to be frequently asked how I was feeling, how I was grieving, and what my next steps were. I deeply appreciated these questions and these heart-to-heart conversations immensely helped my healing. While my partner was often asked thoughtful questions by others, these questions often centered on how I, his partner, was doing rather than his experience with our loss.”

San Francisco Chronicle: “Miscarriage leave, a benefit no one wants to use, on the rise” — “The day after the miscarriage, Julia and Jack Altman watched ‘Friday Night Lights’ reruns and ordered a lot of restaurant takeout.

“Julia, who was then working part time as a nurse practitioner, called in sick for two more days. She was tired. Sad. The time off, she said, let her recalibrate.

“‘It was clear from the ultrasound that the pregnancy was not developing normally,’ said Julia, who was seven weeks along. ‘I kept on asking: Are you sure?’

“Now, Jack’s startup, Lattice, a 3-year-old San Francisco company that makes software for performance reviews, gives all employees five days off in the event of a pregnancy loss, the same number of days it offers for bereavement leave.”

Washington Post: “8 myths about pregnancy and miscarriage” — “Miscarriage is hard to talk about. It’s sad and it’s personal, but it’s not uncommon or unnatural. Scientific and historical myths make miscarriage harder to understand and harder to discuss. By unraveling those long-standing misconceptions about pregnancy and miscarriage, though, we can finally start an open conversation that will normalize the experience, lift the painful burden of stigma and secrecy, and give us common ground to build better ways to think about pregnancy and cope with miscarriage. Here, I examine eight of those myths in the hopes of promoting better understanding.

“MYTH: Miscarriage is a rare complication of pregnancy.

“FACT: Approximately 20 percent of confirmed pregnancies miscarry, mostly in the early months. About a third of women who have had two children have also had a miscarriage. This estimate of the rate of miscarriage has gone up in the past decade, not because miscarriages have become more common, but because we are diagnosing pregnancies closer to conception. A pregnancy diagnosed at the earliest possible moment with a home pregnancy test or a blood test, about five days before the first missed menstrual period (nine days after conception), actually has a 30 percent chance of miscarrying. And many more fertilized eggs never implant in the first place. Statistically, a fertilized egg is significantly more likely to perish than to develop into a full-term baby.”

This article was originally published on WBUR.org.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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