Women Pose With Insensitive Comments About Miscarriage To Make An Important Point

"One in four pregnancies will end in miscarriage or loss, yet how many women do you know who actually talk about it?"

Private struggles are often silent. It's up to us to give those experiencing such struggles a voice, though it's often painful to speak up — especially when it comes to miscarriage and infant loss. RISE For Women, however, recently launched a photo series that explores the insensitive comments women sometimes hear before and after people learn they've suffered such heartbreak. As the awareness campaign emphasizes, #StruggleDoesNotHaveALook, which reinforces the fact that we never truly know what someone's going through by outward appearance alone.

As RISE For Women's Facebook post explains, "[One] in 4 pregnancies will end in miscarriage or loss, yet how many women do you know who actually talk about it? We are the face of 1 in 4 pregnancies."

"We wrote down the common things people say to us before and sometimes even after knowing about our losses," RISE added. "The things said to us can sometimes hurt. Our babies matter, too."

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Dana Dewedoff-Carney, founder of RISE For Women, launched "Project Benjamin" after losing her son at the beginning of her second trimester in June.

"I can tell you that I faced a lot in my lifetime. But nothing compared to the moment I found out our son was gone," Dewedoff-Carney told A Plus. "I have never felt more emotional pain in my life. I have never felt more alone in my life. And although this was our second loss — we had a five-week loss last year — this one really messed me up."

"I did not have an appointment with my usual doctor. So I had just met this doctor for the first time. A weekly routine appointment. And she discovered there was no heartbeat," she explained. "I screamed, and cried, and had to be held down just to do another check. And what made it worse, was when she pleaded to me that it was the wrong baby. And my body was doing its job to get rid of it. Well, 'it' was our son. That was our hope. Our dreams. Our future ... All of that was gone."

Thus, Dewedoff-Carney created this photo series in an effort to honor her late son and the babies of all those women involved with the project.

"I developed this campaign to raise awareness about how we talk to each other about pregnancy and infant loss. Because the truth is, we aren't really doing a good job at it. It's still a really stigmatized subject," Dewedoff-Carney added. "We tell women not to tell anyone they are pregnant until they are in the safe zone. So the women who lose pregnancies prior to say, the safe zone, they suffer in silence because they feel they can't talk about it with people. This project proved there isn't really a safe zone. Or we say things to people going through loss without really thinking about the effect it will have on that person."

"I choose not to be silent. I find comfort in sharing my story. It's a very unique and special one.," Michelle Thornton told A Plus. "My daughter, Micah, has become my teacher in this lifetime, which is ironic because I am a Health and Fitness teacher myself. She has taught me that my purpose is to help others, not just grieving parents."

"I have seen that when we allow ourselves to be vulnerable, we open up this big beautiful door of opportunities to connect and love," she added. "We begin to share more of what's in our hearts and our mind which allows others to better understand what we need and how we feel. I wanted to do this project to help other grieving parents see that WE are the ones that can put a stop to the silence. We can open up and allow others in." 

"As soon as I heard about this project and spoke with Dana about her vision I knew I needed to be a part of it," Dara Sawyer told A Plus. "After losing my first son Charles, in 2011, I vowed to always honor his life. Although, I only carried him for five months, he was my first love, my sweet boy and he matters."

"There is so much stigma when it comes to speaking about pregnancy and infant loss, that many suffer in silence," she added. "I knew these pictures would speak volumes, help educate, and give insight to others about what we as bereaved mothers feel. Being a bereaved parent can be a lonely journey, but it doesn't have to be. To every grieving parent reading this, you are not alone."

"Because of our son, and the other children named in this project, a bigger discussion happened," Dewedoff-Carney said. "It brings me a sense of peace. And to see #TheyMatterToo and #StruggleDoesNotHaveALook. That to me is success. It's helping others. My hope is that going forward people begin to talk to each other about their struggles, too."

Ultimately, this project proves that we must show compassion for those who've experienced immeasurable loss. We must never impose our opinions on new or prospective parents, as we don't know what they've gone through behind closed doors, and we must never assume that we have to offer comforting words to those who've endured this pain. Listening can often be the most supportive act of all.

And, if you've suffered a miscarriage or infant loss yourself, know that you don't have to cope with this grief on your own. If you can't turn to your partner or friends and family, seek the help of a medical professional. While the loss will always be part of your story, it doesn't have to be the final chapter. Allow yourself to process — and grow — from the pain. After all, you're stronger than you know.

"Silence is dangerous. And we should encourage each other to talk about our struggles. Because something to always remember is that we all struggle at some point in our lives. And sharing our struggles is what connects us all," she added. "I struggle still. I may be dressed up and smiling right now, but it doesn't mean I don't struggle over the loss of our son. Every day is different. So is every hour. It simply means that I am continuing to live in this beautiful and messy life. And that's why I'm talking about it. Because no one should live in silence. Talk about things. Get them out. I am." 

Visit RISE For Women's Facebook page to view the photo series in its entirety.

Cover image via RISE For Women / Facebook

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