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October was Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month, highlighting the pain and suffering that those who've lost unborn and newborn children can have. And are often expected to undertake alone. Even Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg entered the discussion.
Miscarriages in particular are not often considered a serious loss by society in general. Couples often do not reveal that they've had a miscarriage because it's not often considered a "real loss" in social circles and can instead be seen as a "defect" or problem with the parents rather than a cause of grief.
Pregnancy is very deeply connected to a couple's sense of identity and to a woman's self-esteem. When that pregnancy doesn't come to fruition, through no fault of the couple, shame can come as a result. Not only is the pregnancy lost, but so are the expectations created for the child that will never be born. Worse, pregnancy later on can be affected by the anxiety created by fears of another miscarriage.
It's also been found that social stigmas regarding miscarriage can cause couples to remain silent about their grief and pain. Yet social support is the primary way that those suffering loss can find help and reduce stress and anxiety.
Family and friends who are supportive of those who've undergone a miscarriage can simply "be there" and as a result help those who are suffering. Not knowing what to say may seem like a problem, but being there to listen is really all that those suffering grief need to have.
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