Influencer Danae Mercer took a break from her usual body confidence content this week to share the heartbreaking news that she had experienced a silent miscarriage. "I had the procedure for my miscarriage today," she told her 2.3 million Instagram followers. "There’s so much I didn’t know before this process, so much we are never told about. Even though it’s so incredibly, painfully common."
Also known as a 'missed' or 'delayed miscarriage', a silent miscarriage is when the baby has died in the womb but the mother doesn't display any of the typical signs associated with a miscarriage, such as heavy bleeding or cramps. But, despite around one in four pregnancies thought to end in a miscarriage, many have never heard of a silent miscarriage. In fact, like Danae, some people sadly don't learn about missed miscarriages until they've experienced one personally.
Hoping to raise awareness about silent miscarriages, and to open up the conversation about miscarriages in general, Danae documented her experience on her social media platform. After learning she'd had a miscarriage, the influencer explained there's several choices to make in terms of passing the baby: "When you have a missed miscarriage, you can either do a surgery or pills. I've opted for the pills."
Over on her Story, she shared a series of intimate photos as she transitioned through the miscarriage. "They've given me strong painkillers and the medicine," she wrote in one post, "Honestly, I'm scared a bit – all I've read online is pretty horrific." Later, she added that the "day has been intense" revealing doctors considered giving her opioids (pain medicine which produces a morphine-like effect) as the "pain got so bad."
In an emotional message after her stay in hospital, Danae praised the support and strength of the women in her life, and those on social media, who resonated with her experience. "After hours and an ultrasound, I am back home. Raw. Drained. But in the same breath thankful for you," she said. "For all of you in my inbox, telling me how you went through the same. For your messages explaining how alone you felt, how ashamed and silenced. For your strength. Because while I might still be reeling, and hurting and healing, I know I am surrounded by love."
She added: "I am convinced now more than ever of the incredible strength of women."
Speaking about the emotional and physical impact of a missed miscarriage, Kate Marsh, a midwife who works with baby loss charity, Tommy's explained that "any type of miscarriage can cause shock, upset and anxiety", but "the lack of warning signs can make a missed miscarriage hard."
As for the potential causes of these miscarriages, Kate explains: "If a miscarriage happens in the first three months of pregnancy (known as early miscarriage), it's most commonly caused by genetic abnormalities in the baby." Unfortunately, Kate stresses we often just don’t know the exact cause "because miscarriage research is historically under-funded."
If you're looking for support or more information about premature births, stillbirths or miscarriage, Tommy's have a free helpline 0800 0147 800 (open 9-5, Monday to Friday). There's also a Facebook group.
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