Miscarriages suck, but it's important to keep things in perspective.

Miscarriages are when a fetus dies before 20 weeks of pregnancy.

Growing up, I only knew one person who had miscarriages, and that was because she was a relative. My parents explained that it was something that happens occasionally, but since I had only one example for reference, I assumed it was rare and probably an extraordinary health issue with the potential mother.

I couldn't have been more wrong.

Yet, more than 30 years later, I know that a lot of people think that way.

Some facts

  • “An estimated 15 to 20 percent of known pregnancies end in miscarriage… the actual number is likely higher, because many miscarriages occur very early on, before a woman knows she is pregnant” (Our Bodes Our Selves)
  • “Early pregnancy loss is so common that many obstetricians consider these miscarriages a normal part of reproduction.” (Parenting)
  • If you've already been “pregnant once, the odds are 80 percent that you will go on to have a healthy baby [later], and as many healthy babies after that as you want” (Henry Lerner, MD, clinical professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Harvard Medical School and author of Miscarriage: Why it Happens and How Best to Reduce Your Risks)

But if miscarriages are so common, why don't more people know?

People don't like to talk about things they're embarrassed about or worse, feel guilty about.

When I was job searching in Israel in 2001-2002, the longer the job search got, the less I wanted to talk about it. Especially after the 8-month mark, every “how's your job search going?” unintentionally added to my frustrations about how I should have found a job already.

And that's fair, because job seekers have much more control over their results than they realize, and had I really known how to job search, I would have found a job sooner. In other words, long job searches CAN be prevented.

But my embarrassment is where the comparison ends, because…

“The vast majority of miscarriages (also called spontaneous abortions) CANNOT be prevented; they are random events that are not likely to recur. Up to 70 percent of first-trimester miscarriages, and 20 percent of second-trimester miscarriages, are caused by chromosomal anomalies.” (Our Bodes Our Selves)

Since most people don't know this fact, especially younger mothers-to-be, it's easy for them to assume that the miscarriage is somehow their fault. But don't blame.

Even people who should know better don't always bring up miscarriages unless there's an extremely compelling reason, such as a friend in need of support.

Case in point: since my wife posted on Facebook about her miscarriage this week, many people have reached out about their own miscarriages, including close friends that we were surprised hadn't mentioned it until now.

ONLY such a compelling reason will help someone overcome their own hard feelings about what they went through, but frankly, it shouldn't take so much.

Having spoken up about it earlier would have allowed them to get support too while educating people around them, essentially paying it forward by de-stigmatizing something that is shockingly common.

There's NOTHING shameful about having a miscarriage, but it is shameful to not talk about it.Click To Tweet

At the very least, talk about it to your close friends, relatives and anyone you'd like to educate and protect from unnecessary feelings of shame and embarrassment later.

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Jacob Share

Job Search Expert, Professional Blogger, Creative Thinker, Community Builder with a sense of humor. I like to help people.

This Post Has 16 Comments

  1. Sara

    I want to add something here, in case it might be helpful to you or anyone else reading this. A significant percentage of the population have a gene that diminishes the ability of the body to process folic acid and that can cause miscarriages. Women with this gene can benefit from taking a special form of folate and avoiding folic enriched foods, among other things. Anyone who is interested can find mire information by researching MTHFR. Dr. Ben Lynch writes about it. Wishing your wife a refuah shelaimah and comfort for both of you.

  2. Julie Walraven

    What a courageous topic to share, Jacob. Yes, you are right, it is far too common. Our third child was never born. I too miscarried fairly early on. We had two healthy sons before that, we were older parents (I was 35 and he was 44), and it was not as hard for me as many others because it was early in the pregnancy. I had a Bible study going at the time at our house and that year, before I miscarried, two other moms miscarried. They were younger but it wasn’t a first child for either one. I remember feeling much worse for them than me.

    My sympathy to you and your wife for your loss and thank both of you for being courageous enough to talk about the hard stuff. Blessings! ~ Julie

    1. Jacob Share

      Thanks Julie, in particular for sharing your story here publicly as well. Anything we can do to make handling miscarriages easier is a good thing.

  3. Jocelyn

    Sorry to hear – I admire your candour for sharing such a personal experience. Hugs and love to you and your wife.

  4. Heather Coleman-Voss

    Jacob, I am so very sorry for the loss that you and your wife experienced. Thank you for this candid and educational post.

    With much love to you both,

    1. Jacob Share

      Thanks Heather. The support we’ve received in the past week has been nothing short of amazing

  5. Andres

    God bless you both.

  6. Vivian

    Those are not easy times. refuah shlema

    1. Jacob Share

      Thanks Vivian, I appreciate it. My wife is feeling much better, both physically and psychologically

  7. batya7

    Thank you for your candid comments. I wish you and your wife healing in your hearts and a total refuah shleimah.

    1. Jacob Share

      Thank *you*, Batya. My wife is doing much better now

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