Even though miscarriages have often been considered a secret for couples to bear in silence, that taboo is breaking down. Even celebrities are sharing the news — and with more people. Earlier this year, rapper Jay-Z released a song sharing intimate details of a miscarriage with wife Beyoncé Knowles, and since then, reality-star-turned-entrepreneur Bethenny Frankel (The Real Housewives of New York City) disclosed that she had suffered one as well.
“There is an abundance of change in American culture, and I’ve always been bothered why people don’t tell their loved ones about their loss,” says physician Roger Harms, chair of Obstetrics & Gynecology at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. “Miscarriage is a terrible misnomer, suggesting that something happened. Guilt is built in with the words that we use.”
Miscarriage is the spontaneous loss of a pregnancy before the 20th week. It’s not as rare as some might think: 15% to 20% of known pregnancies end in miscarriage, says the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. The actual number may be even higher, because many occur so early that a woman may not even know yet that she’s pregnant. Sometimes, even if fertilization is unsuccessful, placenta can begin to form, causing a false positive on tests.
…Women who miscarry also often feel an overwhelming sense of guilt, even though in most cases nothing they did or could have done would have prevented the loss, Zweifel says. “Even if they can figure out why it happened, and it’s not attributed to their behavior, women still find a way to blame themselves as a way to somehow prevent a future loss.”
But some women find that Facebook and other online forums provide an outlet for support. “It blessed me so much to know that so many people were with us as we went through this difficult situation,” Webber says. “Over the weeks, months, and even year, people still send me encouragement through Facebook. It has really been a blessing.”
For some, online forums about pregnancy loss are a better venue for discussing their grief than general sites such as Facebook. “It is much easier to talk with other women who have gone through a similar experience than an audience of people, some I haven’t spoken to in years and many who do not know what it is like to lose a baby,” says Kristin Johnson of Portland, Ore.