Thursday, March 1, 2012

No One Talks about It! A Commentary on Women's Issues

Just recently, a friend of mine and I went on our second "Just Girls" date. We left our little ones with our husbands and grabbed a bite to eat some place local. It was a great way for us to just talk without the distractions of our kids, and yes, even our husbands. What I love about this particular friend is that she holds nothing back. There really is no subject I can't talk about with her, so when it's just the two of us, we pour out our hearts, frustrations, excitements, and concerns.

As most mothers do, our conversations turned towards our children, the ones we have the pleasure of raising, and the ones that God brought home before we had a chance to meet them. She talked, in detail, about her first pregnancy, which ended in a miscarriage. She talked about her emotions, her expectations, her disappointments, and how her husband reacted (immediately and then again a few months later). We talked about how women handle miscarriages so differently, and I told her how much we had wanted to be there for her and her husband, but wasn't sure if we were needed.

I talked about my post-postpartum depression. I talked about how incredibly scary it was for me, how I didn't know how to handle my emotions, and how the other women in my life either didn't know how to handle my incessant crying because they didn't experience post-postpartum depression or how they fumbled their way through trying to help me. She expressed her regret in not knowing about my depression and how far it pushed me to want to have nothing to do with my newborn. She kept saying, "If only I knew, Jana. I'm so sorry  you had to go through that."

What we both came to realize is that women just do not talk about these things. It almost seems to be a secret that most women experience, but are too afraid to discuss. We women are designed to be social. We don't hesitate to talk about our children, our husbands, recipes, creative ideas, etc, but we stop short when it comes to talking about the "deep" stuff. Women are so very emotional. We are supposed to be! So why is it when it comes to miscarriages, postpartum depression, or dealing with losing a child later in life we clam up? Why aren't we talking about how we feel? Why aren't we banding together to form a support group around our female friends? Why is it we make ourselves scarce when our lady friends go through such tough issues?

That was not a rhetorical question. I mean it. Why?

I know one thing that Joe and I learned from my experiences was to be supportive to women who have just had a baby. Joe takes it upon himself (aren't I lucky?!) to talk to the husbands. He encourages them to be encouraging to their wives, even if the wives seem fine. I have heard him ask his guy friends "How is _____ doing? Emotionally? Just make sure you make yourself available for her emotionally." On my side, I have decided to make sure I check on the emotional well-being of my new-mom (whether it's the 1st or 8th child) friends. I let them know if they need to talk or cry over, well, whatever, they can. And that they are not alone.

What have you learned? What are your experiences? If you have been lucky enough to go to full-term and not experience any postpartum anything, what else have you experienced that you would hate other women to go through? What have you learned from your experiences?

I challenge you to share your experiences, whether it is here, with a friend, or a fellow sister. Women need each other. We shouldn't go through struggles alone. Never. 

Photo Credit 
And that's my two cents. :)


  1. You really hit the nail on the head with this one. I think in our society women are expected to be SUPER WOMAN and do it all and not let anything bother us. It's almost as if we are guilted or shamed if we aren't blissfully happy with our children or pregnancies.

    We've suffered two miscarriage one before my son and one after both left me in a very deep depression. It was hard to share with anyone, even my oldest closest friend, because as tangible as this child seemed to me it is hard to explain mourning the loss of someone others can't see. I even went to talk to someone because I could feel myself getting worse and I was told by the (male) Doctor, "Well, it's not like they said you couldn't have children." REALLY, SIR??

    I think children and pregnancy are looked at as such a happy and wonderful time that when something before or after birth goes wrong people don't know how to handle it. I know many people MEANT WELL, but there are only so many times you can hear "Everything happens for a reason."

    Sometimes people just need to lend a sympathetic ear or pair of arms because allowing yourself to open up to a friend about problems, big or small, can be cathartic.

    Oh, wow...word vomit, sorry.
    please don't use a red pen on my grammar :)

  2. Thank you for sharing, Trinity. I appreciate your words of truth and the shared frustrations.

    I have been thinking about this a lot today, and the more I think about it, the more I want to start a new series for women called "How to Handle Issues Women Face." I would like to post Do's and Don'ts on how to address a few topics such as:
    1. Miscarriages
    2. Postpartum Depression
    3. Losing a child
    4. Being Diagnosed with Cancer (or other malignant disease)
    5. Losing a Husband (death)
    6. Divorce (Another way of losing a husband)
    7. Choosing a career change (or choosing to stay at home)
    8. Having a child who is handicapped

    And more if I can think of them.

    I don't know how to handle all of these situations because I have not been in those shoes before, but I know others who have. For the sake of making sure I say and do the right things, I would like to get the conversation going. I will probably start in two weeks, so you ladies who have experienced miscarriages (I have, but my situation is a little unique), what advice can you give to others who are trying to be a comfort to you. What do they need to do? What do they need to say? What do they need to NOT do and say?

    Let's be there for each other, ladies!