news item: grand losses: musings on my miscarriage

I hope the title gives everyone fair warning about the subject of this news article. This article was submitted by Julia, of 3 bed 2 bath 1 baby, and I avoided reading it until last night. Because I knew it would ‘trigger’ my EMOTIONS, and I wasn’t sure I wanted to deal with all that again. But then I read what Julia wrote in response to why this article piqued her interest:

I recall my first MC, and when my office found out, not a single person asked how I was doing when I returned after 2 weeks.  No one.  The feelings of loss are profound, even when the life was young.

THIS. This was me also, no one knew what to say, so a lot of people just said nothing. And I get that, I really do on some level. But on another level, if I’d had a serious illness or a limb amputated, no one would avoid me, no one would ignore me out of some ‘discomfort’ they felt. And it felt like I had lost a part of me. Because I had. A miscarriage for a very wanted child, no matter how early on it is, is a loss of life. A loss of love.

The author of the article also talks about how people would also say things that were totally inappropriate. Like, relating a worse story of someone else’s miscarriage, or multiple miscarriages. The author acknowledges that people say things like this, because they are uncomfortable, because they don’t know what to say:

What I’ve learned is that people are afraid to get close to their unnamed pain, their historical landmines, and bevies of unspeakable regret, sadness, and interior discontent. People want to be there but don’t know how to be or try to be and unfortunately say things that feel awkward at best and downright cruel at worst.

And the author also wishes she could somehow alleviate the guilt we put on ourselves, the guilt of questioning that maybe we did something to cause the miscarriage:

I daydream about pleading with women not to blame their beautiful bodies for their reproductive devastations. I wish I could dare every woman who has at some point or another wondered if they were somehow the root cause of a reproductive disappointment to turn that question on its head. “What if you are not the reason that this happened to you? What if it just is?” I can’t help but wonder if this would illicit more anger, more grief, more relief, and/or more hope. Or maybe something else completely. I am confident that it would engender less competitiveness, less perfectionistic strivings, and more self-love.

I can’t tell you how many times I have meticulously relived our IVF process and examined it for all the possible mistakes I could have made that caused us to miscarry. I know, on some level, that there was nothing I could have done to keep that pregnancy. But I also know, on another level, that I need a reason, I need an answer to why it happened. And there will never be one.

That, I think, is the issue with all the trauma and discomfort around miscarriage. With an illness, a breaking of a bone, there are answers, ‘you have this disease, and it happened because of this…’ or ‘you have a stress fracture because you ran too much…’ There are no answers with miscarriage. Even when you are able to know the baby wasn’t viable, there are no answers as to why, ‘why did conception even happen then, why did implantation happen, why did the pregnancy last this long…’ Instead there is just loss. And grief. And an emptiness.

We hope you’ll read Grand Losses: Musings on My Miscarriage and share with us your thoughts. And to those of you who have miscarried, our hearts are with you.


  1. I suppose people might just not know what to say. I mean, when I had a friend lose her child to cancer, I rehearsed what I’d say to her. You don’t want to be dismissive “you’ll see him again one day” or whimsical “I’m sure he’s smiling down on you” or ultrarealistic “there must have been something wrong from the start.” But all of these things are said to people who go through MC’s.

    A simple, “I’m sorry for your loss” is all I needed… the ignoring of my loss actually amplified the emptiness I felt.

  2. I can relate to this article, reactions to my miscarriages ran the gamut from no reaction to trying to hard to be helpful when a simple “I’m sorry” would have done better. The worst were those who implied it might have been something I’d done or implied it might not hurt as I wasn’t late in my pregnancy. My heart goes out to anyone enduring miscarriages but particularly those who fought hard for one after IF…


  1. […] a touching and revealing write-up of this week’s PAILblogger-submitted news item, “Grand Losses: Musings on My Miscarriages.” (Thank you, Julia, for the […]

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