I still remember it clearly despite the years that have passed. I know the person who said the words might not remember that she made a comment, but the memory of it still lingers in my mind. Her words still ignite a fury in my soul that I decided to write about it.
Many women today are silently suffering from unexplained infertility or, worse, recurrent miscarriages. There are different factors why this happens: it could be due to a reproductive immune disorder (RID) such as Antiphospholipid Antibody Syndrome (APAS) (read about the other categories of RID here). It could also be because of physiological and environmental factors, or chromosomal abnormalities, among others.
I had lost two babies before I was able to finally hold my kids, Santiago and Lucia. The pain of my miscarriages almost cost me my marriage, my career… my whole life, actually. My world collapsed right in front of my very eyes, and I did not know how to take a step forward. I believe and felt that I was already a mother the moment I had seen two lines on the pregnancy test. It didn’t matter that my first baby was only five weeks in utero, or that my second baby had a heartbeat when I lost him/her. Losing them created holes in my heart that can never be filled.
People are usually sympathetic to women or couples who had suffered through a miscarriage. When I had mine, I heard almost all kinds of insensitive remarks from well-meaning people. These comments that are uncalled for may seem to be harmless, but to the woman who had lost her child, the words pierce through the heart like a double-edged knife.
Insensitive comments women get after a miscarriage
1. “Di ka siguro nag-iingat.”
There is no mother (at least those who want or pray for a pregnancy) who would deliberately be reckless and jeopardize the life of the baby inside of her. We try to be the best versions of ourselves for the baby that we carry inside of us, so telling us that the reason we miscarried was because we’re not careful is just distasteful.
2. “Mababa siguro matres mo.”
We hear this all the time. This is very common, especially to those who live or visit the provinces. While this may hold water for some scenarios, there are now many reasons why women miscarry. It is almost always more complicated than just a low-lying uterus.
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3. “I don’t want that to ever happen to me.”
When I heard this, I wanted so much to punch the person on the face. No woman would probably ever want to miscarry. I would not even wish a miscarriage upon my worst enemies, so this comment just blew me away.
4. “Baka’ di ka kumakain ng masustansiya.”
I go back to my previous point: Every woman is probably the healthiest version of themselves when they are pregnant. Period. So back off.
5. “Okay lang yan. Try again.”
First, it is not okay. Miscarriage is tough. It derails you. It makes you question your worth as a human being. It puts a strain in your relationships. Saying that we can just try again is even worse. While I love my rainbow babies dearly, they could not replace the emptiness that losing Basti and Basti (the two babies I lost) have brought to my life.
I hope that we don’t lose our sense of empathy and sensitivity in this day and age. It is always easy to judge people based on what we see on social media. Let us stop asking couples when they will have a baby (the truth is, I am also guilty of this sometimes) because we do not know their circumstance. They might not want a baby in the first place, and that is okay. It is a decision that some couples make, and we have no right to judge.
But for many, they may want a baby but are suffering from conditions that need specialized treatments — conditions like APAS and other RIDs, where the body’s immune system is terminating the pregnancies. These infertility struggles take a toll on the couple emotionally, physically, psychologically, and most of all, financially.
Let us be aware of what comes out of our mouth so that we do not cause any more hurt to the people around us. We all need a little bit of kindness — especially to the woman who has lost her child.
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Balot Amechachura-Del Rosario will be launching a book before the end of the year, outlining her struggles with APAS. Part of the proceeds of her book will be pledged to set up a foundation that she is dreaming of. To get updates on this cause, visit her blog, Chronicles of the Happy APAS Mama.