BRANDON, Miss. - Having a miscarriage has become an unfortunate, annual event for Bailey Henry. However, it also led her to discover her "life’s work" in helping other women around the world deal with the trauma.
The 32-year-old created "The Miscarriage Guide" postcard that’s handed out to women in doctor’s offices after they suffered a miscarriage. The card starts with "This is not your fault" before listing symptoms women may experience during a miscarriage such as blood loss and other symptoms.
Henry and her husband have been married for six years, living in Brandon, Mississippi. She suffered her first miscarriage when she was 27 years old in October 2017.
"I never thought that infertility would be something that I would have to worry about," she told FOX Television Stations.
Henry then suffered five more miscarriages. She said doctors never figured out why she continuously suffered miscarriages, only diagnosing her with "unexplained reoccurring pregnancy loss."
"It’s been hard on my marriage," she continued. "I’m blessed in that we have grown closer and stronger together."
Bailey said adding to that pressure was the stigma that women are supposed to have multiple children, especially in the South.
"I’ve beaten myself up for a long time now," she added. "But honestly...at this point, I wouldn’t change it for anything."
"I know I am exactly where I’m supposed to be, even if it’s hard," she explained.
Inventing "The Miscarriage Guide"
Henry said she came up with the idea of "The Miscarriage Guide" postcard along with a website,a book and social media pages after realizing she would leave the doctor’s office empty-handed when going through a miscarriage.
She said it was in stark contrast to when she found out she was pregnant and would leave the doctor’s office with ample materials on what to expect with pregnancy and motherhood.
"So I realized...going to the doctor’s office one day to find out that I’m pregnant, and you get a stack of information...and then to go home when you’re losing your baby...you are absolutely empty-handed and clueless," she said.
"You get more literature and more information when you get Botox, when you adopt a puppy, when you buy a car, when you get new tires on your truck," she added.
Henry said doctors across the U.S., Australia, New Zealand and India have accepted her postcards to hand out to women suffering a miscarriage.
"I hope it’s making all the difference in the world...because it would’ve made all the difference in the world to me if I had something to hold and take home with me as I was losing six pregnancies," she said.
Henry did offer one piece of major advice.
"I would say they [women] really, really listen to their bodies and take their time to grieve and heal," she said.
A miscarriage is when an embryo or fetus dies before the 20th week of pregnancy. Causes can be difficult to determine but are not at the fault of the pregnant woman, according to the website.
According to the Mayo Clinic, symptoms can include vaginal spotting or bleeding, pain or cramping in your abdomen or lower back or fluid or tissue passing from your vagina.
According to the March of Dimes, for women who know they’re pregnant, about 10 to 15 in 100 pregnancies (10 to 15 percent) end in miscarriages. Most miscarriages happen in the first trimester before the 12th week of pregnancy. Miscarriage in the second trimester (between 13 and 19 weeks) happens in 1 to 5 in 100 (1 to 5 percent) pregnancies.
Coping with a miscarriage
Henry said not talking about her experiences was also painful as relatives avoided the topic.
She understands that each woman reacts differently to experiencing a miscarriage. However, she said it’s OK to ask women how they feel, and if they don’t want to talk about it, a person can perform acts of service— such as bringing dinner— to show support.
"The worst thing is not mentioning it at all," she said. "The silence is deafening."
‘"It’s OK to take time to grieve after a miscarriage," the March of Dimes website says. "Ask your friends and family for support, and find special ways to remember your baby."
Henry said her miscarriages unexpectedly led her to become a women’s health advocate, but she doesn’t mind the mission despite her ordeal.
"I don’t know if I’ll ever go on to have biological children," she said. "And if I don’t, that’s OK. There’s more than one way to be a mother."
But she still looks forward to the day when she’ll be able to carry out a pregnancy and bring her child home.
"I cling to a little bit of hope for that, yes," she added.
This story was reported from Los Angeles.