When Ashley Williams was 8 weeks pregnant, she was feeling tired and crampy. The actress, known for her roles in How I Met Your Mother and The Jim Gaffigan Show, believed the pain was the baby nesting into her womb.
“I’d been taught in my training as a doula that pain can be productive, and I had an instinct that the cramps I had been feeling all morning were miraculous evidence of new life. I tried to smile. The baby is nesting today. And, this kid’s powerful. Then I felt something on my leg.” She said.
What followed, as she had her toddler son, Gus, on her hip was a shock as she was buying pizza in Whole Foods and found a trickle of blood down her left inner thigh. Gus saw the blood on his mum’s fingers and asked what it was. Williams told him it was an emergency and quickly texted her husband to come home from work.
Williams learned that she had miscarried and in the days after her grief, her midwife told her 1 in every 4 women would experience a miscarriage.
This news came as a shock. “If 25 percent of my peers are currently experiencing miscarriages right alongside me, why wasn’t I prepared? Why don’t we talk about it? Why was I feeling embarrassed, broken, like a walking wound?” she asked.
Williams talked to friends, asking them if they had experienced a miscarriage and whether they felt they could talk about it. The friends who had experienced pregnancy loss admitted they didn’t feel comfortable talking about it, and Williams wanted to know why.
“Not many people talk about a pregnancy until 12 weeks gestation for fear they will lose the baby or choose to terminate for any number of complex reasons. What’s the point in telling people who never knew you were pregnant the depressing news that you’re not anymore?”
William shared her personal account, experiencing a miscarriage in this post, I Need To Talk About My Miscarriage.
Williams describes feeling inadequate, and broken after her miscarriage. She wondered if it was her fault. When she talked to other women, they shared feelings of being defeated and deficient after losing a pregnancy. Medicos would describe the event as an “Abnormality… Defect… Incapable… Incomplete… Not viable.”
Not many women talk about it because it’s painful and there are so many negative emotions around pregnancy loss.
But Williams wants to change that.
She wants to normalize pregnancy loss so that it is something all women can talk about.
“Tell the bartender to make it a double because you haven’t wanted to drink alcohol for months and now you’re allowed to. “Why?” Your bartender will say.”
“Because I’m not pregnant anymore,” you’ll say. “And I want to talk about it.”
The 25 percenters need to know they are brave and strong and sharing their experience will give hope to others if they ever experience it themselves.
It’s no wonder women don’t want to talk openly about it. But that’s exactly what Williams is seeking to change.
“I was right there next to you at Whole Foods, bleeding out of my shorts. Now I’m well. I’m a survivor. Healed, I will try again.”
The stigma around miscarriage needs to disappear. The pain needs to be recognized and felt so that those who unexpectedly experience the loss, feel supported, loved and are allowed the opportunity to grieve openly.
What do you think? Do you believe there is a stigma around pregnancy loss? What can be done to support women who experience miscarriage?