Any woman who has been pregnant can tell you that it doesn’t take long after that first positive pregnancy test to start mentally planning for a child. You start dreaming of what that baby will look like, whether he’ll have his daddy’s eyes or whether she’ll have her mommy’s smile. And you begin planning a nursery and thinking about baby’s names.

But for a lot of women, those dreams are dashed because of miscarriage and pregnancy loss.

One in four women will experience a miscarriage or pregnancy loss in their lifetime, but the subject is rarely talked about. According to the American College of Obstetricians and the Mayo Clinic, between 15 to 20 percent of known pregnancies end in miscarriage. However, a 2015 study found that 55 percent of people believe miscarriage is uncommon.

It’s the secret sisterhood that no one talks about and no one wants to join.

It may happen while at work, while sleeping, while eating with friends at a restaurant. It could happen while on a play date, be discovered during a doctor’s appointment, or in the case of actress Ashley Williams, while grocery shopping with her son.

Williams recently wrote about her miscarriage as part of the Human Development Project, which brings awareness of pregnancy loss and how devastating it can be.

“What surprised me most about my miscarriage was that for many women this far along in their pregnancy, it actually wasn’t an emergency at all,” Williams, who miscarried at eight weeks, wrote in her blog. “This happens to one in four pregnant women your age,’” my midwife said. “If 25 percent of my peers are currently experiencing miscarriages right alongside me, why wasn’t I prepared? Why don’t we talk about it? Why was I feeling embarrassed, broken, like a walking wound? I live on the Upper West Side, the new stroller capital of Manhattan. How many other women have experienced a miscarriage in that very same Whole Foods?”

Williams said her miscarriage decimated her confidence, and like a lot of women, she felt like something was wrong with her. But she hopes to normalize miscarriage by talking about it. Talking about it gives us hope and strength, she says.

In recent years, Williams, Celine Dion, Nicole Kidman and Mariah Carey have spoken publicly about their miscarriages. Singer Pink talked about it on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” Michelle Duggar documented it on reality TV and music mogul Jay-Z rapped about it.

Still, the pain is unimaginable until you’ve lost a child of your own. I know too well what it’s like to hold your breath at every ultrasound, until you see that flicker of a heartbeat. I remember too well the panic that sets in when that heartbeat that was once there is no longer fluttering. I know the confusion that can set in when the ultrasound tech tries to explain as you are shuffled off in tears to another room to meet with the doctor. I remember what it was like to wake up from surgery, recovering down the hall from dozens of new moms with their newborns, only to have lost another baby.

It’s a traumatic experience, and for many people like me, talking about it with others can be therapeutic. Oct. 15 is National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Day.

“I invite you to start, with me, a vocal army of the 25 percenters who can normalize miscarriage in the social sphere,” Williams wrote on the Human Development Project. “You are not broken. You did nothing wrong. You are strong, you are brave, and there is hope. I was right there next to you at Whole Foods, bleeding out of my shorts. Now I’m well. I’m a survivor. Healed, I will try again.”

— Lydia Seabol Avant writes The Mom Stop for The Tuscaloosa News, in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Reach her at lydia.seabolavant@tuscaloosanews.com.