Today is Pregnancy & Infant Loss Remembrance Day.
As Scary Mommy said in her blog post about miscarriage and the encouragement of society to STFU until you hit 12 weeks, “Imagine what happens when a pregnancy that no one knew about — but still has altered her in so many ways — suddenly ends? Imagine having to carry the burden of that grief all on your own while the rest of the world exists in blissful ignorance of the loss you suffered.”
I mentioned to my husband how shitty it is that bereavement leave doesn’t cover miscarriage/stillbirth – it only covers the ones who’ve already breathed air on the outside.
This past week I had coffee with a longtime recruiting client who I hadn’t met with since spring and he asked me how things were going, and I was brief, but I told him – we were on our 5th round of IVF, we had a miscarriage this summer, and our international adoption was pushed back 2-4 more years. He was kind. I moved the conversation back to work related topics and we finished up our business at hand.
So with that, I took the first step towards being open professionally with my loss, and then today, I took a leap. I mean a huge ass ginormous LEAP. My blog readers here know about my miscarriage, as do the few friends/acquaintances in my life. But on the professional side, no one. “Medical leave” was as much as I could exhale when I needed to take a few days away with my husband to grieve. “Medical leave” was as much as I could explain to candidates and hiring managers and coaching clients about why I would not be available. It’s a term that few will question, few will ask for detail on. If I were to say “I had a miscarriage” the conversation would be awkward, they might think I’m either too fragile to work or weird for sharing “female stuff” (all of my clients are male) or making excuses for…something. And the last thing I want to look like is weak. It’s probably my biggest fear in life. Looking weak.
But I did it. I posted it on LinkedIn with the blog post on miscarriage I referenced earlier, encouraging businesses to include miscarriage and stillbirth as part of bereavement leave policies, and stating that I am the 1 in 4.
It may seem like a little hop to some, but in my business? It was a ginormous leap. I want to do whatever it takes to take the shame out of miscarriage, to erase the silence that happens when we tell someone our baby has died, to eliminate the assumptions that this is rare, strange, and/or unimportant.
So today, I got loud.