By Nikki Igbo
25% of pregnancies in the U.S. end in miscarriage. It typically happens during the first 14 weeks of
pregnancy with little to no indication as to why. I have had two
miscarriages. The first one happened at about 7 weeks. The second
happened at 11 weeks. I spent a lot of time not talking about either
miscarriage and that was a tragedy in and of itself.
I was living the experience of losing two pregnancies, two children who
I very much wanted, I felt deeply alone and misunderstood. I felt as
though I didn’t have enough information to cope with what was happening.
No one warned me about the sharp pain in my gut or the brightness of
the blood or what those losses would feel like. No one explained how
detached all the medical professionals would be or how one would even
ask me to collect a sample of the blood and tissue to bring with me on
my next doctor’s visit. No one was able to make the hurt go away or
reassure me that I could and would go on. No one told me not to give up
trying for a successful pregnancy. In those moments of discovering that
my pregnancies had failed, I never felt more alone or more devastated.
recently had a surprisingly candid conversation with a complete
stranger about my miscarriages. We were in a nail salon and we got to
talking first about our children. I told her how I’d just had my second
son two months ago and she told me about her two daughters. I told her
how my sons were two years apart while she told me that her daughters
had a nine year gap between them.
“My, you took a big break, huh,” I said.
“I lost one between them,” she answered.
“Oh, I’m so sorry. I’ve lost two myself,” I followed.
15 minutes later,
we were both misty eyed and emotional as we recounted our ordeals in
our respective emergency room visits. It was a beautiful and cathartic
moment shared but it only happened because we both knew and understood
that pain and time had been merciful in removing some of the sting.
as we were experiencing it, we had only our family members or close
friends to turn to–and they did not understand. And this, I believe, is
most often why those of us who experience miscarriage do not talk about
husband did not know how to comfort me while mourning his own loss.
He’d never experienced it before. My mother told me things like
“Everything happens for a reason” or “God has a plan.” She’d never
experienced it before. My sister didn’t even bother to call me. She’d
never experienced it before either. I hated every single one of them for
their inability to help me through it and I did not want to hate them
so I buried my feelings to save those relationships. What I most needed
was a listening ear, a shoulder to cry on and confirmation that what I
was feeling was okay.
was fortunate though. When I made up my mind to go back to living my
life in grad school and at my writing internship, my manager shared with
me how she’d experienced five back-to-back miscarriages. I remember
sitting in her office listening to her and seeing the tears stream down
her face. I remember her long and warm embrace. I remember her giving me
information about fertility specialists and urging me not to give up. I
remember her also glancing at the portrait of her toddler son she kept
next to her computer screen and her squeezing my hand.
She gave me hope.
those who have had one or multiple miscarriages, I urge you to be
candid and open about your experience. Your testimony never fails to put
life back into a better perspective. Your story lets others know that
they are not alone. Your honesty can help erase anger at God and doubt
in oneself and the worry and guilt that comes with the mystery of why
the loss happened in the first place.
those who have never experienced a miscarriage, I urge you to listen
carefully to the sisters who have, and be the compassionate,
caring, support and strength they need.
What’s your experience? Does it help to talk about miscarriage?
She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Political Science from California
State University at Fullerton and a Masters in Fine Arts of Writing at
Savannah College of Art and Design. When not staring in disbelief at the
antics unfolding on CSPAN, she enjoys philosophical arguments with her
husband, 70’s era music and any excuse to craft with glitter. Feel free
to check out her freelance services at nikigbo.com and stalk her on twitter @nikigbo or Instagram at @nikigbo.