Monday, October 22, 2012

"just a miscarriage"


Last Monday I huddled in the rain with a small group of people. Some I knew, some I didn't. We gathered to celebrate and remember our lost babies. I turned to the woman next to me, "Who are you here for?"

I was trying to capture the stories of everyone present. I wanted them to know their loss mattered and I wanted them to know they were not alone; that their story had been heard.

She turned slightly, "Oh, I just had a miscarriage. Years ago."

I wanted to say, "Oh no. No, no, no, no, no. You did not just have a miscarriage. Your baby died. And it still hurts enough that you came to an event by yourself years after the fact to connect with and remember your child."

I said, "I'm so sorry for your loss," and turned to speak with someone else.

In the past I have ranted something fierce when someone I know drops the "just a miscarriage" line, but I try to hold back when meeting someone for the first time.

Can we drop the qualifiers, please?

My heart aches when someone says, "I don't know what you've been through. I couldn't do that. My loss was so early. It's different. Not as painful. Not as difficult."

I don't think that's true.

Just because Charlotte lived long enough to be given a name and have a birth date does not make her any more human than a baby who died at 8 weeks.

I know I've said this before, but I'm going to say it again: your loss is the most painful for you because it was your baby(ies) who died. My loss is the most painful for me because it was my Charlotte who died.

I don't know what it's like to miscarry. I don't know what it's like to choose between miscarrying naturally and a D&C. I don't know how it feels to see blood when you least expect it.

I don't know stillbirth, or genetic disorders that make it impossible for babies to survive.

I do know what it's like to miss a tiny soul who carried unfathomable depths of hope and happiness within their tiny heart. All of us who have lost babies know that unique pain.


We create entire lives in the space of time between, "I wonder if ..." and "I am!!"

If you erase the labels - stillbirth, neonatal loss, miscarriage ... - you'll see what's really missing.

Boys and girls and dancing and jumping in puddles and first words and 'I love you mama' and brothers and sisters and weddings and laughter and tears and joy and comfort and a feeling of completeness.

Let's forget about stillbirth, neonatal loss and miscarriage and focus on what really matters:

My baby died.

Your baby died.

We're both heartbroken.

We'll always miss them.

12 comments:

  1. So. well. written, Angela!

    I always feel so sad for women who feel that their loss is less than someone else's. Although I know the feeling as I too felt the same after losing my first baby to an ectopic pregnancy at 6 weeks. I also felt the same after losing Claire at 17 weeks but the babyloss community made me realize that gestation and age do not matter... the loss of your baby is what really matters.

    Thank you for putting it all into words.

    x <3 o

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  2. This is beautiful. Thank you for recognizing loss as loss, regardless of gestational age. I, too, have not felt the pain specific to miscarriage, only stillbirth, but I really appreciate you pointing out that every loss is a baby gone. A dream shattered.

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  3. Thank you for this. I just found out that I am most likely experiencing a blighted ovum. It is a heart wrenching pain and people are so rude and act like it doesn't matter because I didn't birth it. I am glad to know that there are people who understand a baby loss is a loss no matter when it occurs.

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  4. That was very touching to me! Thank you for that post! I HATE that people say "just a miscarriage" - loss is loss. Much love to you mama! I love your blog even though I can't read it as often as I'd like... <3

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  5. Thank you! I've always said to myself "how come I follow these baby-loss blogs when I truly don't know their pain because I 'just' had a miscarriage." I now see that I'm allowed to grieve just as much as anyone who's lost a baby. Just differently. I too should have a 2 year old running around enjoying his or her little brother (and probably tormenting him) but he/she is in Heaven with all the lost babies preparing to meet us again.

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  6. Beautiful message, beautifully said.
    I'm so sorry for your loss

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  7. SO beautifully written! Someone said to me after Jonathan was born that it must hurt less to have lost him at 20 weeks than to have lost a baby a full term. I did not say anything but the sting and pain that caused still lingers in my mind. No matter how long he live...HE LIVED and I will miss him everyday for the rest of my life.

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thank you!

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