If news of pregnancy loss stirs up miscarriage grief, you aren’t alone

When Britney Spears shared the news of her miscarriage, I felt a strange surge of emotions. Though, now that I think about it, it shouldn’t feel strange anymore since it’s the same mix of emotions I feel any time I see news of a famous celebrity who has suffered a miscarriage. There is understanding. There is compassion. And there is a shocking amount of pain, nestled right up against miscarriage grief.

Related: What to say when your friend has a miscarriage 

Twelve years ago I had three miscarriages. Three. Two of them were quite early, at around five weeks, but one of them was farther along, involved multiple doctor visits and an eventual D&C. Few people knew this was happening. I hadn’t told a lot of people, aside from maybe my mom and sister, that I was pregnant. So the miscarriages, although traumatic for me and my husband, were largely unknown by family and friends. We carried the pain mostly alone.

We live in a society that is uncomfortable with pain—our own and the pain of others—and moms suffer as a result.

When I see news of a celebrity who has had miscarriage, part of me is grateful that they are using their platform to create awareness around the raw emotions of miscarriage. We live in a society that is uncomfortable with pain—our own and the pain of others—and moms suffer as a result. Many of us go through the anxiety-ridden first trimester in silence. And when we experience a miscarriage, we suffer through the pain alone as well. This isn’t helping anyone.

But alongside my gratitude that people use their large platforms to create awareness, there is a bitterness as well. A bitterness that awareness needs to be raised at all. That miscarriage affects as many women and families as often as it does. That women still, for the most part, don’t share the painful details of their miscarriage. That society is so uncomfortable with pain that we would rather turn away from it than hold space for someone going through it. 

Miscarriage might be more common than we’d like, but that doesn’t mean it’s any less painful. 

To be completely honest, part of me wants to look away when celebrities like Britney Spears or Chrissy Teigen share the devastating news of their miscarriage because it forces me to look, once again, at my own pain. I am forced to remember the phone call, on a bright May afternoon, when my doctor told me that a D&C was the only option if it didn’t want to risk a trip to the emergency room in an ambulance. I remember the anger I felt that the world kept spinning even though mine felt like it was falling apart. I once again feel the pangs of miscarriage grief.

Related: How to reduce miscarriage anxiety during pregnancy, according to experts 

If you feel this strange mix of emotions when a celebrity shares news of a miscarriage, you aren’t alone. It has been over 12 years since my last miscarriage, and I have a beautiful rainbow baby who is now a tween, and still the news sparked a wave of complicated and confusing emotions.

When celebrities share their stories of miscarriage, it is helpful on societal level, but it can be painful on a personal level. So if you’ve experienced pregnancy loss and you feel something that you can’t quite name or even understand when the news cycle focuses on a celebrity’s miscarriage, that’s okay. I’m no psychologist, but I do know that grief shows up in strange ways and it has no expiration date. 

Miscarriage might be more common than we’d like, but that doesn’t mean it’s any less painful. 

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