Miscarriage, The Women’s Silent Health Issue

It was 10:30 in the morning on a bright and sunny Saturday in February. I was rushing around preparing to meet with my first client. When she walked in the door I took a deep breath and plastered a smile on my face. Little did she know that two hours before I was miscarrying in my bathtub.

October 15th is observed as National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. It is a day of remembrance for pregnancy loss and infant death including miscarriage, still birth, SIDS or the death of a newborn.
A week and one day earlier I had been told by my doctor that I would indeed miscarry. During that time my emotions ran rampant while the Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (HCG) levels in my body peaked and then took a swift nosedive sending me into an emotional tailspin. Uncontrollable sadness followed by raw anger and after that a quiet numbness. Before the miscarriage I had prided myself on being particularly resilient and strong. The setbacks I experienced in my life always fueled me to dig my heels in deeper and push harder.

Miscarriage, however, made me feel like nothing more than a helpless hostage in my own body waiting my impending doom. I had been told by my doctor that I would indeed miscarry and my job was to simply sit back and await my fate. Finally, one morning I woke up at four a.m. and felt the most excruciating pain. Deep in my heart I knew it was happening. I lay there in the dark pondering what to do. My husband was sleeping soundly. Our dog was too. Suddenly, for a brief moment, I felt like a small piece of my old self came clawing back from the grave, the woman whose inner strength and courage hadn’t been depleted by the dirty “M word.” If this is going to happen, it’s going to be on my terms, I thought.

I ran a full, hot bath and just sat. An hour later, still nothing. Just immense pain. I got up on my knees and contorted my body in various positions. Finally, in a single instant I miscarried. At first, I looked around and only saw a sea of red. In almost barbaric behavior, I tore apart clots and tissue with my bare hands until something caught my eye. Floating beside my left foot, there it was. I sat down and picked it up. I continued to sit there until the water turned cold and studied every inch of it. The color, the size, the texture. This was the only way for me to gain the closure I so desperately craved. It provided a way for me to take charge in a situation that I had zero control over, and that felt empowering. Then I got up, showered and prepared for my day.

It is my hope that one day women can talk as freely about miscarriage as we do about any other health issue we face. Roughly one in four women will experience a miscarriage. It’s time for women to stop feeling isolated and ashamed while they mourn the loss of something society still hasn’t learned to properly acknowledge.

Amanda Byerly
Written by Amanda Byerly