October is National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month, as designated by President Reagan in 1988 to "inform and provide resources for parents who have lost children due to miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, molar pregnancy, stillbirths, birth defects, SIDS, and other causes.”
I had a first trimester miscarriage when my oldest was just over a year old and I thought I was the only person in the world to have one. Not many people knew of my pregnancy and I didn't mention the miscarriage to most. Luckily, I found support on an online miscarriage support discussion group and began to realize that miscarriage is much more common than I had previously thought. In fact, sadly up to 1 in 5 women will experience a first trimester miscarriage.
When I became pregnant with my son after the miscarriage, I made it a point to start mentioning my previous miscarriage in discussions about the tenseness of the first trimester. And, lo and behold, I discovered that lots of women I knew had miscarriages.
A miscarriage is one of those sad and tumultuous experiences that is too often suffered in silence, leading to more fear, more doubt, more sadness, and, too often I think, to more medicalization of pregnancy and birth. Instead of allowing me to recognize miscarriage as Nature's wise checks-and-balances system, it caused me to become more distrustful of my body and of birth. It wasn't until the natural homebirth of my third baby that I finally realized the innate power and wisdom of our bodies, and recognized that miscarriage is often a part of that process.