Opinion | Women Breaking the Silence on Miscarriages

To the Editor:

Re “Your Miscarriage Doesn’t Have to Be a Secret” (Sunday Review, Oct. 13):

I am glad to see so many women willing to break the silence on miscarriage. I am a historian, and I spent 15 years researching my forthcoming book, “The Myth of the Perfect Pregnancy: A History of Miscarriage in America.”

After I miscarried my first pregnancy, I set out to learn why, given how common miscarriages are, we have come to expect perfect pregnancies, and grieve even early losses so deeply. I discovered that many of the innovations of modern life — from effective birth control, to emotionally intensive parenting, to prenatal care complete with ultrasounds and home pregnancy tests, to aggressive baby gear marketing, to detailed pregnancy websites and apps — have promoted unrealistic expectations about how much we can control pregnancy and encouraged bonding with pregnancies that are not yet secure.

Understanding that women once regarded early pregnancy losses as a normal part of reproductive life gave me equanimity and perspective in my subsequent pregnancies with my two children.

Lara Freidenfelds
Chatham, N.J.

To the Editor:

Although it’s been nearly 30 years since my sixth, and last, miscarriage, this powerful article triggered still painful memories of each and every one of them. After my son’s birth, I lost a pregnancy at 18 weeks, long after I started wearing maternity clothes and being visibly pregnant. I suspected something wasn’t right after 15 weeks, when I seemed to be getting smaller instead of growing bigger.

When my husband and I tried to add to our family after our daughter was born, I went through five more miscarriages, ranging from losses at eight weeks and nine weeks to ones that went until almost 19 weeks. None of the doctors I saw, including specialists in high-risk pregnancies, ever figured out what was going wrong or how it could be managed. We finally stopped trying, thankful for the two healthy children we had been able to have.

But those losses collectively shattered my belief that pregnancy was a benign and natural process, with an inevitable good outcome. That first midterm miscarriage, long past the point that was supposed to be “safe,” shadowed my pregnancy with my daughter. I was haunted by anxiety and could never really relax and enjoy what turned out to be an uneventful gestation.

And all those losses left me with a profound sense of isolation from friends and family who blithely assumed that every pregnancy resulted in a healthy baby. Articles like these, I hope, should help other women feel less alone.

Merri Rosenberg
Ardsley, N.Y.

To the Editor:

I want to thank you for opening up a discussion about miscarriage. Miscarriage is such a personal journey for each woman, and having a space to air the range of emotions and physical pain is fundamental to healing. My biggest challenge is making sure I do not forget my little Baby Anna, who died at eight weeks. Giving the baby a name and talking about her with my children has helped all of us process the loss as a family. Please keep the discussion open.

Amanda Bonagura
Floral Park, N.Y.

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