1 in 3. That’s how many confirmed pregnancies will end in miscarriage. That means that many of the women in your life--relatives, friends, coworkers, and neighbors--have felt the devastating pain of losing a child, whether it was the day after they found out they were pregnant, or the day they delivered him or her. No words can ever seem to console a woman enduring the loss of a pregnancy or baby, as it can be too deep, too difficult to grasp.
I am one of the women who know this loss personally, and through making my jewelry, especially for women who have also endured miscarriage, I healed and overcame. Here’s my story, not uncommon from millions of women who we acknowledge during National Infertility Awareness Week, April 18-24 this year.
I had always dreamed of being a mother, and I was one of the lucky women who got pregnant the first time I tried. I knew the exact day I was pregnant after using some apps and testing to narrow it down. I was beyond excited, telling my close family right away. But just a week into my pregnancy, I started bleeding, and knew immediately I was having a miscarriage.
I started the anxiety-inducing process of getting my HCG checked every few days to confirm it was going down, an agonizing wait to confirm what I already knew. I remember the phlebotomist being one of the most reassuring people during this time, telling me stories of other womens’ journeys through infertility concerns and then their eventual rainbow babies.
The most surprising part was the mix of emotions I did and didn’t deal with as I broke the news to my husband and family. I felt shame. Guilt. Embarrassment. My dream was crushed, even though I’d “only” known about it for a week. I learned quickly that no matter how long you were pregnant, it’s a true loss, and valid whether it happened early on like my miscarriage or much later.
My family, though supportive, didn’t have a very big reaction, probably to be sure they didn’t intensify or worsen my own feelings. Inside I was hurting more than I showed--if it wasn’t a big deal to others, maybe I shouldn’t be making a big deal of it? I didn’t know how to act, what to think. Nobody in my family or close friend group had openly been through a miscarriage, so there was no real path forward on how to act, or what to do next.
While infertility and miscarriage have been hush-hush, even taboo topics for decades, more recently women have started discussing openly some of these tough topics, taking to social media to educate others and tell their first-hand experiences. I hadn’t yet seen a webinar, YouTube video, heard a friend’s story, or seen a post about loss. If I had, I would have more of a framework for just how normal it was to feel devastated.
Slowly, friends started telling me they’d also been through the same thing, but hadn’t really discussed it until I bought it up. Finding a friend who can provide actual empathy is essential to the healing process. I leaned into my jewelry hobby (now business), turning to one of my favorite gemstones, Rainbow Moonstone, which helped me to remember and carry with me the little life I’d lost, and would always love.
I take comfort when I wear this piece that women around the world are doing the same. We form a silent, grieving, hopeful band of women who know the devastation of miscarriage, and also keep moving forward together.
My motherhood journey ended more happily than it did for some, as I went on to get pregnant and deliver two healthy babies. My rainbow babies are my world, of course, but I won’t ever forget my first loss. I validate, acknowledge, and hear the cries and courage of every woman going through infertility across the world, and send vibes to them that they, too, are tough as a mother.
For more resources on pregnancy loss, which I wish I had through my experience, check out: