It is is Day 6 of National Infertility Awareness Week and we reflect on miscarriage and infertility. Today, let’s remember that there are mothers and fathers all around us, many of whom carry the grief of child loss.
As many as 50% of all pregnancies end in miscarriage, most often before a woman misses a menstrual period or even knows she is pregnant. About 15-25% of recognized pregnancies will end in a miscarriage (March of Dimes, 2017).
Infertility and miscarriage are often intertwined. For some couples, factors related to their infertility may allow them to conceive, but the result may be an unhealthy pregnancy that ends in miscarriage. Sperm abnormalities, endometriosis, endometritis, polyps, and low progesterone, among other conditions, can contribute to the loss of a child in a miscarriage. Couples who experience both infertility and child loss may grieve their fertility differently than couples who have never conceived.
Couples who have lost a child or children in miscarriage may not feel “counted” as parents in their communities, and yet they are parents. Be aware that when you ask couples questions such as “Do you have kids?” or “How many kids do you have?” parents who have miscarried children may be uncomfortable answering these questions, or may grieve every time they answer in a way that does not acknowledge their children in heaven. Make a point of letting others know that you recognize the parenthood of couples who have lost children, and that you recognize the spiritual parenthood of those who long for children. Particularly on occasions like Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, this recognition can bring great comfort and validation to couples who have miscarried children.