The Normalization of infertility and loss
Did you know:
“ 1 in 8, or 7.4 million, women of reproductive age have received help for infertility in their lifetime. 12% of married women have trouble getting pregnant or sustaining a pregnancy.”
“The estimated figure is that miscarriage happens in around 1 in 4 recognized pregnancies, with 85% of those happening in the first trimester (weeks 1 to 12).”
I am #1in8 I am #1in4
I share this not for #sympathy but to build #strength and to normalize the conversation about the loss and infertility …
So this is for you or anyone who’s reading this who is also #strugglingtoconceive. As a #mentalhealthadvocate the discussion around infertility and the #psychological #effects is often unspoken of and underestimated/ underreported.
In an article published by the American Psychological Associate in June 2012. Elizabeth Leis-Newman interviewed Janet Jaffe, PhD, a clinical psychologist at the Center for Reproductive Psychology in San Diego and co-author of the 2010 book "Reproductive Trauma: Psychotherapy with Infertility and Pregnancy Loss Clients." Jaffe states, that the tragedy of miscarriage has traditionally been private, an event grieved largely by the mother, on her own.
Many health-care professionals have advised these women that the sadness would grow less pronounced over time, especially following a successful pregnancy. Unfortunately, this is the message relayed to patients today.
However, new research suggests that some women may mourn for much longer than expected, even after the birth of a healthy child, although the range and severity of the symptoms may vary. Believe it or not, that's also true for men, as new studies have found that men grieve over a miscarriage more than once thought. Because it is medically common, the impact of miscarriage is often underestimated. For me: My miscarriage and infertility were riddled with #guilt and shame for not trying harder, not taking better care of my body. Looking back, I remember I can vividly recall getting shit from my friends & or family when expressing wanting to be a #parent. Especially with my history of trauma, abuse and neglect. In some instances, I was categorized as a murderer and/ or Satanist for getting an #abortion for an unviable pregnancy or aborting a child when being in an abusive relationship or for simply miscarrying in general. However, my experience, although unique to me is quite common.
30% of infertile couples worldwide are diagnosed with unexplained or idiopathic infertility and the problem is defined as the lack of an obvious cause for a couple's infertility and the females’ inability to get pregnant after at least 12 cycles of unprotected intercourse or after six cycles in #women above 35 years of age for whom all the standard evaluations are normal. Being only 30 years old, I am thus part smaller category of those trying to conceive (TTC) who are unsuccessful.
According to the #CDC About 6% of married women aged 15 to 44 years in the #UnitedStates are unable to get #pregnant after one year of #TTC. Of those, about 12% of women aged 15 to 44 years in the United States have difficulty getting pregnant or carrying a pregnancy to term, regardless of marital status (impaired fecundity).
Still, for women who miscarry early, their grief is less socially acceptable than the anguish of someone who miscarries later in their pregnancy. says Jaffe. "With later losses, people can have a funeral or memorial service. When it's an early miscarriage or even a failed IVF cycle, it is often unacknowledged by others, [yet] these are invisible losses that feel disenfranchised and not validated."
So, before you speak, before you judge ... take a moment to consider all the things you do not know or understand. We’re all battling something we may never speak of.
For those in need of support or resources I’ve found a few that I’ve used below:
From hurt to healing (free booklet from the March of Dimes for grieving parents)
Share Your Story (March of Dimes online community for families to share experiences with prematurity, birth defects, or loss)
Centering Corporation (grief information and resources)
Compassionate Friends (resources for families after the death of a child)
Journey Program of Seattle Children’s Hospital (resources for families after the death of a child)
Share Pregnancy & Infant Loss Support (resources for families with pregnancy or infant loss)