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The Unspoken Suffering of Parenthood

By Wendy Bjork
September 13, 2022

Editor’s Note: Everyone has their own unique journey with MS, and The National MS Society blog strives to amplify the diverse perspectives of people in the MS movement. While the content of this blog may be sensitive to some, the author is sharing her personal, authentic journey with MS.

According to research by Health Research Funding, the chances of a pregnancy ending in miscarriage are higher than most people realize. 

  1. As high as 1% of all pregnancies will result in a missed miscarriage.
  2. At least 20% of pregnancies are likely to result in a miscarriage.
  3. The overall risk of miscarriage is 17% to 22%.

The reason I am sharing this with you is once I saw the many shocking high stats, I knew this is more common than most people realize. I am also sharing because I am one of the statistics.

In March of this year, I was at a business conference, and we were told ahead of time there would be some self-reflection time created through guided meditation. The guy who led the meditation was incredible, allowing us to feel so many emotions and feelings we had maybe left unresolved at some point during our life.

When we experience trauma, it isn’t just the event that causes emotional stress, but also how we deal with it.

At the end of our hour-long session, I was all of a sudden hit by this giant wave of emotion as I realized my miscarriage occurred exactly 20 years prior.  

I hadn’t thought about that baby in a long time, and even though it was very early in my pregnancy, it was my first baby, and there was still a lot of unresolved emotion surrounding it.

I never took the time to grieve, probably due to the responses I received from friends, family and even the doctor.   

Knowing what the statistics are, I now understand the mechanical response from the doctor. But the responses from family and friends can hurt and lead us to having feelings of blame, shame and fear. 

Receiving an MS diagnosis and navigating that aspect of life is traumatic and stressful enough, when we simply want to live our life in a “normal” way. Part of our journey is being our own advocate, asking a lot of questions and being in alignment with the answers we receive. This also applies when we are expanding our family, no matter how many pregnancies or babies we’ve had.   

There are three things I would have found very helpful when I was diagnosed with MS as well as when I lost my baby.

  1. Know that it is not your fault.
  2. Don’t accept other peoples’ comments. If it hasn’t happened to them, they probably don’t know what to say. They probably mean well, so don’t take their stuff internally.
  3. Find a safe place to talk about it. We need to process our emotions instead of stuffing them down. Sooner or later, they will need to be released.
  4. Start considering what you are bringing into your home.  There are studies connecting home toxins to unwanted inflammatory side effects in our bodies.  

Sometimes things happen that are out of our control.  Our bodies are magnificent and very often there’s no rhyme or reason as to why things don’t go as we planned. Always give yourself grace,  remember it’s ok to take time to process and come to peace with what has happened.

We are each special and magical to be handled with care. It’s important to be honest with ourselves, honor our feelings and know it’s ok to ask for help. Whether it’s reaching out to a grief counselor, a spiritual leader, a trusted friend who has lived a similar situation, or all three.

Continuing to be honest with yourself, as well as others is paramount for your healing.

The National Multiple Sclerosis Society is proud to be a source of information on multiple sclerosis related topics. Unless otherwise indicated, the information provided is based on professional advice, published experience, and expert opinion. However, the information does not constitute medical or legal advice. For specific medical advice, consult a qualified physician. For specific legal advice, consult a qualified attorney.

Wendy Bjork

Wendy is an MS Warrior from northwest Wisconsin where she lives with her two teenaged sons and husband. After 35 years of dealing with the challenges of MS, she now empowers other women living with the disease to improve their mind, body, environment and relationships to help them regain control of their life. She is a #1 Amazon International Best Selling author, and you can follow her story on Facebook, Instagram and on her website at heartsofwellness.com.

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