For generations, there was silence.
Miscarriage, stillbirth and infertility were things you just didn’t talk about. It was “private business” and not for public discussion.
Then, there were whispers.
We light candles and speak softly about lost babies and difficulties conceiving. These are hushed conversations, if there are even conversations at all.
Sometimes it’s posts on our Facebook walls. Sometimes it’s very brief mentions of hard times when catching up with friends.
It’s small and it’s smoldering, and it’s not enough if we want to break through the stigma that surrounds pregnancy loss and infertility.
There’s even an international day of remembrance and awareness, October 15th. It’s usually a somber day, filled with waves of light, which are candles lit in remembrance of babies who passed too soon.
That day is wonderful, but remembrance and awareness are not enough. To truly bring these stories into the light and show the world who this affects, we need words. We need conversations.
We need a day to start conversations, and I propose June 15th.
There’s a movement brewing in the loss and infertility communities that’’s filled with passion for change and many strong voices. The problem is that it’s contained within itself.
We need to step outside of the movement, and let our voices be heard by those who know nothing about it. Those are the people we need to reach. They have the minds we need to educate and the hearts we need to touch.
The people who struggle with infertility and suffer through loss already know there shouldn’t be a stigma attached. At the end of the day, it’s everyone else who needs to be educated, and that’s where we need to be directing our voices.
June 15th is the day that I encourage each of us to start one new conversation about loss or infertility.
Don’t be afraid. I can hear the collective intake of breath now at the prospect of having these difficult discussions, but this isn’t something to fear.
It can be as simple as telling someone, “I was reading that miscarriage affects 1 in 4 pregnancies, WOW, did you know that?” and hearing what the other person has to say.
It can be, “Remember Amanda had a stillbirth last year? Let’s take her to lunch and let her know we remember Reese.”
Or maybe, “John, infertility sucks. Do you want to talk?”
Or even, “I had a miscarriage.” That one might take the deepest breath of all.
Not every conversation is going to go swimmingly, and that’s okay. We wouldn’t need a movement if it were something that were easily addressed. These discussions require passion and, honestly, a little bit of bravery.
No taboo topic has been brought out of the shadows without a little bit of courage.
If each one of us adds our own unique voice, the volume of this movement will rise and rise until we’re a roaring crowd of people refusing to accept that pregnancy loss and infertility are shameful.
Our voices can only be ignored if we don’t use them.
Whispers were a vast improvement over the silence, and they’ve gotten us this far. It’s time to come together and bring miscarriage, stillbirth and infertility out of the shadows with our own stories.
I’m going to be starting some conversations on June 15th. Want to join me?
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