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Miscarriage, the '12 Week Rule' and Jizo

Earlier this year I did some training by the Foundation of Infant Loss. It covered loss by miscarriage, stillbirth and an infant. When I posted about it on my Facebook page I had some responses from women who had been devastated by such a loss. For me to get a response from my posts is rare, but again when I posted about a campaign to get more help for parents who had miscarried once more I had responses.

Then I came across an article about how the Japanese have small stone statues that line the paths of cemeteries. These small figurines dressed in red caps and bibs honour the souls of babies who are never born. They are believed to be protectors of children and unborn babies in traditional Japanese Buddhist teachings. A baby who is never born can’t go to heaven, having never had the opportunity to accumulate good karma Jizo helps smuggle the children into the afterlife in the sleeves of his robe.

For the Japanese these Jizo statues help them to find comfort, acknowledge their loss and work through their grief. How different it is to how we are in Britain, and this left me wondering why we struggle so much? One thing that kept popping up was about the ’12 week rule’, how it is viewed as best not to tell anyone about the pregnancy until after 12 weeks, as 1 in 4 pregnancies end in miscarriage in that first trimester. That if friends and family were told, and then if there was a miscarriage, you would then have to share the tragic news. But if they don’t tell anyone about their loss, are they in effect cheating themselves out of the potential for comfort from friends and family?

One very good reason for not telling people about a miscarriage is that because it’s something we don’t tend to deal with often as a society we don’t always know what to say or do, and we worry we’ll say the wrong thing, so don’t say anything. This is why the Miscarriage Association launched a campaign ‘Simply Say’ see

I was encouraged on both my pregnancies to not tell anyone but very close family that I was pregnant until the 12 week point, which I did. It’s a personal decision, but I for one will never readily encourage someone to keep quite. If we are going to be able to learn to be supportive and understanding of miscarriage we need to start by being more open and honest about this very emotive and tragic subject.

What do you think?

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