(Not) Alone in the Crowd

There’s a great feeling of loneliness that goes along with miscarriage and baby loss. With each loss, I’d look around and see pregnant women and babies everywhere. Of course I was (am) hypersensitive to that, but there they were nonetheless. And it made me feel as though I was the only one going through this. The only one struggling for a family, struggling to breathe. I don’t think I’m alone in this. The secrecy that shrouds miscarriage and stillbirths makes it seem like a private club where you have to know the password to enter, yet nobody speaks that password out loud, and the outside world is barely aware of the commonality of club members.

It became clear early on that most people don’t talk about it. Some because they don’t want to deal, some who are afraid, and others who are ashamed. Quite often we don’t speak about it because we think that our family and friends won’t understand, and truthfully, they may not. And yet it is this secrecy that perpetuates the loneliness for us as individuals and as a community.

With each loss, I became more comfortable talking about it—my experiences, my feelings and shattered hopes—to anyone who would listen, and likely sometimes to those who didn’t ask. I was amazed by how many people admitted to having a similar experience, or knew someone who did, but just don’t speak about it. Sadly, the stats around miscarriage and baby loss are so high, we truly are everywhere. Yet we don’t know who “we” are.

Sometimes it comes out naturally. Like when I was at last month’s BlogHer ’13 conference. Of the 10 people at our lunch table, seven us had experienced loss. Of course, that was partially because I had surrounded myself with other ALI bloggers, but others joined us and once they heard our stories, they shared theirs.

This really hit home at recent event I attended at The Blossom Method which featured baby loss survivor Sara Connell telling her story about her losses, and how her mom then became her surrogate (yes, you read that correctly, and you can read the whole story). But I digress. There were about 15-20 people there, mostly women and a couple of men, listening intently and knowingly shaking their heads. During the Q&A portion one person after the next revealed their story. Their struggle. The couple next to me just lost twins. So did another couple behind me. Another lost their baby late term. And so on.

Now I know that this particular event targeted women and men within the loss arena, but it made me realize that until people started talking, no one knows each others story. Sure you begin to see the telltale signs, something that Mel over at Stirrup-Queens pinpointed perfectly in relation to infertility in general. I find that when I’m in groups of people, I wonder if anyone has been where I’ve been. Maybe that’s a sick after-effect of going through everything I’ve been through, but really I wonder because I want to talk to them, and let them know “me too.”

It’s true that you never know someone else’s back-story until they start talking. I’m guilty of looking at someone with their big, round pregnant belly or beautiful baby and thinking how lucky they are to have such a perfect life. But in reality, who knows what it took to get them to this point. The more we start talking about our experiences, not only amongst others who are in the know, but the outside world, the less lonely each of us will feel.

What do you do to feel less alone?

The Blossom Method: You Never Know

Editor’s Note:
My participation in The Blossom Method’s You Never Know campaign is voluntary and I have not received any financial compensation. I’m participating because I believe in what they do, and Double A and I have both benefited from working with them throughout our journey. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

About The Blossom Method:
The Blossom Method is a therapy practice offering support, community, comfort and hope to women and couples experiencing issues related 
infertility, pregnancy loss, genetic complications, pelvic disorders, NICU preemies and postpartum depression. They can be reached at 312.854.0061 or via email.


16 thoughts on “(Not) Alone in the Crowd

  1. To feel less alone, I have made a lot of connections in the ‘loss’ world. Whilst I am sad that others understand, to know what you are feeling is normal is a huge help x

  2. When I first suffered my loss, I had some friends and family come forward to share their own, but in the months since, they’ve faded away from talking about it, sweeping it back under the proverbial rug. As a result, I turned to online groups, blogs and forums (helpful and safe ones, it’s easy to get bogged down in crazy people telling you you’re responsible for your miscarriage because you even smelled a cup of coffee). I’ve found a huge connection to women who, now that time has passed, just need someone to whom they can say, hey, I’m having a bad day. Sometimes those real world people just aren’t willing to dredge it all up again without judging.

    • I agree that it is so hard when those you’ve come to rely on in the past don’t quite understand what you need in the now. I’m glad you’ve found a community of folks who do, and know all too well what those bad days feel like.

  3. I recently went to a training around adverse childhood experiences, and one of the presenters said something powerful – “Sometimes the most compassionate and healing thing you can say to someone is ‘me too’.” You captured that idea so beautifully here. It is so hard for most of us to be truthful and authentic about who we are and what we have experienced. Many of us us have strived to be ‘cool’ and to appear successful for most of our lives, and taking a turn towards vulnerability feels foreign and frightening. What you are doing here on this blog is brave and bold and inspiring. xoxo

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