Is it OK to be Ignorant About Miscarriage?

I often see posts about things you should never say to a miscarriage momma and having been at the receiving end of these comments I often find myself nodding along.  If you can’t think before you speak, it’s probably best if you just don’t speak.  

I recently told somebody about my miscarriages and her response was, “Oh my pregnancy with my daughter was awful [lists perfectly normal pregnancy symptoms as if you’re hard done by]’ I didn’t even bother replying.  If you’re really that ignorant then I can’t even be bothered to make you feel awkward by explaining the details of an actually difficult pregnancy.

I suppose you could call a miscarriage ‘an awful pregnancy’ but please do not think we’re on the same level because I’d happily go through the awfulness ten times over if my baby was breathing after the ‘difficulty’ of having a bump.

Recently I’ve been wondering… Is it actually acceptable to be ignorant?

Part of me is ranting inside saying absolutely not! But the logical side of me is saying, yeh it’s pretty normal.

Humans are instinctively selfish.  We are all just trying to survive and deep down we’re looking after number one.  Unless you’re a mom then you’re looking after your kids but that’s still an evolutionary survival instinct because keeping our kids alive prolongs the life of our genes.

To narrow it down, we generally only care about things that affect us or that we can relate to.

That’s why everyone supports social media trends supporting cancer research because the majority of people have been affected by cancer.  Look at the recent natural disasters over in the USA.  Nobody has made a fuss about Haiti, nobody is praying for Haiti.  Yet those same ‘ignorant’ people will pray for Florida?

Social media memes will spin this as we’re all a bunch of racist twats that only care about white people… Not exactly.  We only care about stuff we can relate to.  We can relate to Florida because it’s a popular holiday destination or we see it on TV.  Seeing disasters gives us a ‘shit that could’ve been me’ feeling which plays on our instinct to survive.

Seeing Haiti under floods doesn’t trigger anything other than aww thats a shame.  Not because we’re racist, because we can’t relate.  It’s the same with Paris, most families have been to Disney and seeing the terrorist attacks gives that same, ‘shit that could’ve been us’ feeling.  Then there was another bombing shortly after that nobody prayed for, again not because we’re racist, ignorant bastards but because it was a place nobody had really heard of.  I can’t even remember where it was to be honest.

So it led me to think maybe it’s the same with miscarriage.  If you’ve never experienced baby loss, you’ve never ‘been there’ and don’t know of anybody who has, why should you know how to respond?

I’ve found that often people will respond, “I had a miscarriage at 17 weeks and its horrible…” then we can relate to each other and talk.  I had another person respond, “We lost twins.” and then we’re on the level straight away.  If somebody doesn’t want kids or had a perfectly normal pregnancy, is it ok that they’re blind to it?  In a way, yes.  I’m sure there are subjects that somebody could bring up and I’d come across as ignorant.

I think the point is, don’t be dismissive.  You can ignore that baby loss occurs everyday because it isn’t a factor in your life but if you become aware of it, then don’t dismiss it with awful comments like that person mentioned at the start or ‘Its just a cluster of cells.”  Well you’re technically ‘just a cluster of cells’ mate, I’d like to dispose of you in the hospital waste if you don’t mind.

So I think it is really important to speak up and #BreaktheSilence because then at the very least the next person that brings up baby loss with you, you can then say, “I know a girl at work who miscarried at 21 weeks” and it means that it’s not taboo and people can talk as openly as we do about cancer.

You know a blogger who writes about miscarriage so use me to break the silence the next time the topic comes up!

#miscourage #JusticeforStevie #ItsNotTaboo

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  • Tori Gabriel

    I am so sorry for both of your losses, Jo. My sister has recently lost two out of three of the triplets she is carrying and it’s horrific for her. Especially as they are still in there and she’ll have to deliver all three.

    I have been lucky. I have not been through baby loss and so I cannot relate and I am probably ignorant too. However, I can sympathise and empathise (to a degree). It needs to be spoken of more.

  • Bob Sangwell

    I agree totally Jo, and I think the other reason for it is simply not knowing what to say and therefore saying nothing or using a distracting technique. There is a tendency in the human psyche to be so afraid of hurting someone’s feelings that they don’t know how to deal with the situation. Do we talk openly and sympathetically or do we try to avoid the subject in case it is the wrong thing? Does the person want to talk about it or are they the type of person who would rather it wasn’t mentioned as talk brings back all the hurt? We share your feelings because we are family, but we will never know exactly how you feel. We remember Stevie and think about you a lot, but we don’t openly express our feelings for the above reasons. We know you are aware that we understand and any discussion is best initiated by you, when and if you feel ready. x