"This is the proper response to any woman who tells you she miscarried: I am so sorry to hear that and I hope YOU are OK." Amber Pawlik

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The 3rd Degree Women who Miscarry Get

There is today a very real bias against women who have had a miscarriage. When a woman has a miscarriage, she gets the 3rd degree from many people, usually other women, that she has caused it.

First, for anyone unfamiliar with miscarriage, let me make it clear that it is an awful experience. You may think that the only loss is the emotional one of losing a potential child. Actually, the entire experience is extraordinarily painful. To miscarry, a woman must dilate, go into contractions, and expel the growth. I say “growth” because in many miscarriages, a woman has no fetus to expel. An implantation occurred, causing a hormonal rise to trigger “pregnancy,” but in fact there is no fetus. When a woman goes into these contractions, she is in labor but without any of the planning or medication to get her through labor. It is very physically painful. This is not to mention the unknown and uncertainty of what is actually going on.

After a woman miscarries, it seems ubiquitous that many people will insinuate that the woman somehow caused it. The insinuation comes from all over, regardless of religious or political ideology. One woman I know blasted another for travelling while pregnant. Some women, tending towards Eastern medicine and general irrationality, blame it on the woman being “stressed” and unwilling to relax. A Christian woman I know blamed another woman’s miscarriage on former birth control use.

Like seeming everything related to pregnancy, none of these accusations are grounded in science. It is simpleton thinking—and totally lacking in compassion. They have one thing in common: a belief that the woman caused the miscarriage.

A recent news story outlines this 3rd degree treatment; except in this case it was 1st degree. A woman went to her doctor for a routine checkup with her pregnancy. She was showing signs of miscarriage. The doctor ordered bed rest. When the woman said she had 2 small children at home and bed rest was not an option, the doctor called the State and forced her into a hospital. When she requested to go to a different hospital, she was refused. Three days after being in the hospital, the woman miscarried.

This is the general treatment a pregnant woman gets. Because she is giving life to a new person, everyone feels entitled to tell her what to do. Any pregnant woman can tell you about the inane medical advice that other women give her and pressure her into. (Most women however seem to happily oblige to every worry about lunch meat and the almighty command to “RELAX”.) The book What to Expect when You’re Expecting, written by a non-medical person and popular among people who simply like catchy titles, is filled with this kind of shrill advice.

Let’s make something clear: there are very few women who would mishandle something as important as pregnancy. The overwhelming majority of pregnant women are happy to be pregnant and will do whatever they can, based on their own judgment, to nurture their growing child. Most miscarriages had to happen: something was wrong with the fetus, if there was one, and the body must expel it.

This is the proper response to any woman who tells you she miscarried: I am so sorry to hear that and I hope YOU are OK. Husbands can help by stating to others, "The most important thing is that my wife is healthy and safe."

This is also the reason I strongly encourage women to not announce their pregnancy until the second trimester, when the risk for miscarriage is much lower. It has nothing to do with being embarrassed about pregnancy. But you do not want to endure the 3rd degree you might get if you were to miscarry. Also, the advice people give about pregnancy is probably unwanted. And, besides, most of your friends and family probably can’t keep their mouths shut with a secret such as that. It is usually wise to keep quiet about it.

I recommend the same even when trying to conceive (“TTC”). If you are not successful at it, the advice given about it is, again, inane.

This treatment that women who miscarried get, which is ubiquitous, in my opinion, shows a basic lack of compassion in civil society. It is a very immature reaction to look at something tragic like a miscarriage and not have sympathy or compassion for the woman, and instead have condescension and blame. In teaching emotions to children when they are young, a very basic lesson is that when something tragic happens, such as death or illness, the proper response is to empathize or shed a tear. It is emotionally stunted to do anything else. However, this stunted emotional state seems to be the one most adults are in.

The 3rd degree that women who have had a miscarriage get is a sign of an unenlightened society that is lacking in compassion and does not respect the individual. An enlightened society would seek real answers to why women miscarry and, above all, would have compassion for the woman who went through that awful experience.

Amber Pawlik
April 7, 2011

Objectivist Sexuality: An Outline for Happily Ever After
Amber Pawlik
Objectivist Sexuality discusses gender, dating, love, sex, and relationships from an Objectivist viewpoint. Objectivism is the philosophy of Ayn Rand. This book discusses sexuality from a philosophical perspective but it also has a practical purpose: to give men and women the principles and values necessary to define, seek, and ultimately find the love of their life. The topics covered include masculinity, femininity, love, dating, sex, relationships, feminism, sexual evolutionary theory, homosexuality, and many others.

This article is protected under the US Copyright Act of 1976. No part may be copied.

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