Question (noun): A sentence worded or expressed so as to elicit information
Genuine question: If you’ve ever had a miscarriage, has any medical professional (in a formal setting) ever asked you any questions about it? Whether anything seemed to bring on the bleeding? What you’d been doing or eating in the week preceding it? Anything that seemed like they were logging information with respect to miscarriage research?
I’ve NEVER had anyone ask me, anything. I’ve just been told that I’m miscarrying and sent home. So how are they doing their research into the causes etc of miscarriage? (For my first trimester miscarriages I wasn’t even given any information regarding where to go for emotional support, I was just told how to medically manage them, what to expect in the physical regard – nothing to do with the mental repercussions, as if telling me “miscarriage is common” was supposed to deal with that aspect. Err if it’s so common, so should the support be!).
We know that 1 in 4 pregnancies end in miscarriage, but do we really know much more than that? That statistic is not research by the way: that’s just counting. So given that we’ve so many case studies, why not conduct some research? There are so many women in desperate need of answers.
I think I know why they don’t question women after they’ve had a miscarriage, it’s probably because they don’t want the women to blame themselves. If they gave you a list of boxes to tick, it might give you “ideas” or “suggestions” about some of the things you might have done “wrong”.
But here’s the thing:
- Lots of women will blame themselves anyway
- Lots of women would like there to be more information about why miscarriage happens
- Lots of women will want to stop this happening (again or) to others
So this is why research is required. And I do think it’s something that could be broached sensitively. For example, medical staff could give out voluntary questionnaires, though perhaps not straight away. Or they could follow up with a call shortly afterwards, or ask women if they would be willing to be asked some questions about their miscarriage, at a later date. Surely where there’s a will, there’s a way?
I realise that this might result in a biased pool of information: it’s self-selecting, right? Doctors may assume that only the women who considered themselves “well behaved” would respond e.g. only those who didn’t drink alcohol or take prohibited drugs throughout their pregnancies. Or they might think that women might be inclined to lie, but isn’t that always the case when gathering data? Also, please give us more credit.
Even if they did only collect data from a biased group, so what? These women still had miscarriages too. Surely some information is better than no information? Perhaps questioning a women is considered far too subjective, anecdotal perhaps. But it’s only anecdotal, until it becomes a pattern. If a pattern is deemed worthy of a medical study, it may eventually result in proof of a new concept.
It feels like such a missed opportunity: there’s so much information yet no one is gathering the data.
If you have thoughts or knowledge to the contrary (I may well be missing the point here, or I may be completely oblivious to all the research that is going on), please feel free to enlighten me. Because I’ve sadly and genuinely, come to believe that doctors just think that babies need to make it to 24 weeks, pretty much, by themselves. At that point, it’s worth them intervening, but before that, they don’t really believe in the reality of a baby. I don’t mean this to sound harsh with respect to the doctors. In lots of ways, I have sympathy with them: there really is only so much they can do. A baby does need to get so far along to survive outside the womb. But I also think it’s why medical professionals are so numb to loss. It’s not just because they see it every day and it’s “common”, it’s because they’ve already trained their brains to believe that a baby needs to get to a specific point, say, 24 weeks.
So let’s retrain the brains. Let’s remember that these are people’s babies and though the odds may be stacked against them, the odds are there to be beaten. Let’s improve the odds. Let’s stop accepting that miscarriage is common, and really find out why why WHY that’s the case.
Dear Doctor, miscarriage may be common to YOU, but it’s not to US. Yes, we have become the 1 in 4, but we are people, not a mere statistic. We are women, we are families, we are someone’s child. We had hopes, we had dreams. So I repeat: it may be common to you, but it is not for us. This is not something we saw happening every day, but it is something we now – regrettably – have to live, every single day. So let’s stop accepting the unacceptable. Let’s improve that statistic, so that other pregnancies don’t become one too.
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