By Kaelanne Jordan
To families who’ve had to bury their baby after a miscarriage, “You are not damaged by any means, nor did you fail, [you] are not alone. So do not go through this alone,” says mental health clinician Crystal Johnson of the Archdiocesan Family Life Commission (AFLC).
She urged families to have faith in God and that He will guide them through their loss. “His love and grace are all powerful and there is a reason for everything, even when we don’t understand what’s happening,” she said.
Thursday’s conversation was on ‘Breaking the taboo of miscarriage’. Johnson shared that the discussion was inspired by October being proclaimed ‘Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness’ month, and the recent news of Chrissy Teigen’s miscarriage.
Teigen is the wife of American singer, songwriter, and actor John Legend. Johnson revealed that she knew “too well” what their family may be experiencing as she suffered two miscarriages.
Of her experiences, she said “I felt like my body failed me and I failed my husband. I felt damaged and I felt I broke the promise to have children because something was wrong with my body….” Johnson is now mom to three kids.
Commenting on Teigen’s decision to share intimate photos of their loss, Johnson described this move as one of bravery as some persons may prefer to experience their loss in isolation, not wanting others to know.
She added that it’s very “rare” for persons to share their experiences with miscarriage. “And for some reason, it can seem like a stigma, making some feel wrongfully guilty…” she said.
This, Johnson asserted can cause families to feel “isolated”. She observed women and men too are often left with unanswered questions about the loss and the emotional and physical recovery.
“… fathers are often overlooked. Men often have to bear witness of their spouse going through such physical loss and recovery which can make them feel helpless. It’s an experience that both of them may be going through. And men may be left with the same unanswered questions,” Johnson said.
When this is “not fully processed” by families, mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) can occur.
To this end, Johnson stressed having family support and spiritual grounding is critical.
“I could firmly say if it wasn’t for the support and love we received; the process would have been completely differently. It made me feel a sense of belonging, that I was no longer alone in this experience. And to also instil a bit more hope and faith in myself and my husband as a couple.”
She continued, “When we are down and out, company and connection to others is what will see us through. We need to talk it out. It’s the only way to process the experience, to receive healing, to recover and to move forward.”
Johnson ended Thursday’s conversation with a prayer for babies and parents who are “aching” and with hearts empty from a miscarriage.