Why It’s Not “Just a Miscarriage”

When someone you know has a miscarriage, please don’t refer to it as “just a miscarriage.”

I know it might not seem like that big of a deal to you. Maybe you’ve never lost a baby in utero so you can’t imagine it would be that painful. Or maybe you have lost one, and it wasn’t very hard for you.

That doesn’t mean it’s not hard for someone else.

We all handle loss differently. There’s nothing wrong with you if your miscarriage wasn’t difficult, just as there’s nothing wrong with you if  it was.

So please, don’t say it’s “just a miscarriage.” Not only does that minimize someone’s legitimate grief, but also it’s just plain wrong.

There’s no such thing as “just a miscarriage.” Here’s why:

8 reasons why it's NOT "just a miscarriage"

Why It’s Not Just a Miscarriage:

  • It’s not “just a miscarriage.” It’s the loss of  a baby. Many times, it’s the loss of a baby that the couple could not wait to hold.
  • It’s not “just a miscarriage.” It’s the loss of someone’s dreams for her child. Each time we found out we were expecting, I began dreaming. I dreamed about whether or not it was a he or a she. I dreamed about fun things we might do in his or her future. I dreamed about proms, trips to a nail salon, and watching little league baseball. Even after our second (and third and fourth) miscarriage, I could not stop dreaming when I saw those two lines on the pregnancy test. Even when I knew we might not see any of those dreams come to fruition, I couldn’t stop dreaming.
  • It’s not “just a miscarriage.” Instead, it’s the source of intense guilt. Every single time I have miscarried, I have struggled with guilt. Even thought I know in my head it wasn’t my fault, it’s still hard to convince my heart. Guilt is a common struggle for those who have recently miscarried. This is even more true if the pregnancy was unplanned (or not necessarily someone’s ideal situation).
  • It’s not “just a miscarriage.” It’s also a lot of physical pain. Miscarrying cramps are not the same as contractions (I’ve had both), but they are still painful. Sometimes, immensely painful. Please don’t minimize the physical pain of a miscarriage simply because it’s not full term.
  • It’s not “just a miscarriage.” It’s also a hormonal roller coaster. I don’t know how to explain this other than to say it’s like postpartum depression without the baby. A woman’s body is going through some crazy hormonal shifts when she miscarries. Pair that with the fact that she’s also grieving the loss of a child, and it’s understandable why she might cringe when someone tells her it’s “just a miscarriage.”
  • It’s not “just a miscarriage.” It’s also hard on a marriage. Anytime a couple goes through a loss, it’s a strain on their marriage.
  • It’s not “just a miscarriage.” It might also be someone’s unanswered prayer. I begged God to save each of our babies. He didn’t choose to do so. Four times. I was, therefore, not only grieving the loss of my child, I was also struggling in my faith and wondering why God felt so distant.
  • It’s not “just a miscarriage.” It’s also something that has the potential to hurt over and over again. Some women get pregnant shortly after their miscarriage and have a healthy pregnancy. I can’t speak for these people, because that is not my story. Maybe it doesn’t hurt as long. Or maybe it does. I don’t know. What I do know is that even now, almost 3 years since my most recent miscarriage, baby showers are still hard. So are pregnancy announcements. When someone has a miscarriage…and another has a healthy baby, the healthy baby is a constant reminder of what was lost. It’s not AT ALL that we’re not happy for those with healthy babies. We absolutely are and would never wish a miscarriage on another. It’s just that it hurts to think of what we’re missing out on.

So please, for all of these reasons and for some I’m sure I’m missing, don’t call it “just a miscarriage.” Don’t act like she should be “over it” by now.

Because the truth is, you don’t get over grief. It just changes on you. It might look different today than it did yesterday. But it’s not something you get over.

Is there anything else you would add to this list of reasons it’s not “just a miscarriage”? Share in the comment section. 

Bible Study and Devotional : Unbeaten by Lindsey Bell*If you’d like to read more about how I’ve worked through my miscarriages (with my faith intact) or if you find yourself asking God questions like, “Where are you in this?” I’d love for you to check out my Bible study and devotional, Unbeaten.

It can be read alone or with a group and goes into a lot more detail about how you too can be unbeaten, even when it feels impossible at the moment.

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  1. I was only 2 weeks pregnant but I’m at a loss for words. I didn’t get to hear my child’s heartbeat or find out the gender. I didn’t get to announce that I was even expecting. I was excited, making plans for my child’s life, and my own. I am only 19 and truly felt ready. I guess my body and future had something else planned for me. I didn’t think in a million years this would happen to me. Maybe someone has advice on how to overcome this. I feel like I could have done something to prevent this. I feel like I am at fault. I don’t know what to do. Thank you all for sharing your stories and I am so sorry to you all

    • Please know that you didn’t do anything to cause your loss. The vast majority of miscarriages occur due to genetic abnormality in the embryo, and as little as I’m sure this helps right now, there is likely nothing at all you could have done differently.

      I never saw a heartbeat with my losses either. All but one time, I lost the baby before I got to tell anyone but my husband and mom. I felt like it wasn’t “real” enough to be sad about outwardly at the time. Like I was inconveniencing people with my mood. I no longer believe that. My advice would be to let yourself feel what you feel. It will get easier, but it will be a slow process. If you find yourself laughing or smiling, don’t feel guilty about that. Find someone, anyone, who will let you talk about it. Do something to remember your baby if that would help you. It does me.

      Lastly, I’m so very sorry. You will be okay. <3

  2. I went on to have a healthy pregnancy 4 months after a miscarriage and it still hurts that our first baby is not here with us now 9 years on.

    We still talk about it, we still miss our baby and the guilt during my pregnancy with my daughter was hard. I felt like I had betrayed my first baby by having another. As if I was just trying to replace him/her which was not the case.

    I still have the peace Lilly my mum bought for me to remember my very first baby in pride of place in my window ledge and my 2 older daughters know all about our missing baby. Nice my youngest is old enough she will know all about our baby too.

    • Hi Danielle, Thanks so much for sharing your story. I’m so very sorry for your loss. I don’t think you ever forget. I was talking to my husband today about how it still stings to see a newborn baby. I wonder all the time what our babies would have been like. Hugs, my friend. Thank you again for sharing your beautiful story.

  3. I feel like I’m home reading this and reading all the comments. I had two misscarriages last year, 5 months apart. And there is not a day that I don’t think about my babies. The emotional pain you go through, singled out you know? Pointed at because you can’t do that ‘basic’ thing everybody else can do -reproduce-. I try hard for the demons not to get to me. I’m scared to get pregnant again and loose a third baby. I get sad also thinking I might never be able to have kids. It’s just hard to be positive. I praise every single woman here. You are strong and thank you for sharing your experiences. It’s so comforting to see you are not alone.

    • Hi Alejandra, I’m so very sorry for the losses you have experienced. Ugh, my heart hurts for you. I don’t have any answers, but I wanted you to know you’re not alone and I’m praying for you today. Hugs, my friend.

  4. If I would have had my first baby he/she would be 16 years old this past September. Since the first miscarriage I have had 6 others 2 little boys and 3 more miscarriages. To explain the last 3 After the first 7 my doctor after many test that showed nothing wrong went out on a limb when I got pregnant with my 8th baby and put me on progesterin (not oral) and heparin, after we saw his heart beat at 7wks I felt a little better maybe secure would be the right word about carring this baby full term at 10weeks I was told I could stop the progesterin I did but not until a week later when I saw his little wiggling self on ultra sound one more time, then at 3 months my doctor said I could stop the heparin I told him I was scared too so he told me I could continue to give my self the shots if I was to scared to stop them and so I did. I went full term plus a week with my baby boy then 36 hours of labor only to end up with a c-section lol and he is still a stubborn little boy at 10 years old today. 3 years after I had home I got pregnant again only used the progesterin this time and I now have a 7 year old little boy and I could not imagine my life without them even when they drive me crazy fighting non stop. After my youngest child I had 3 more miscarriages, See if. I didn’t catch my pregnancies early enough they would not stick it took the progesterin started at the right time for the baby to stick as the doctor put it the first 2 of these were unexpected but welcome and the third we were trying for and lost last Thanksgiving. As of now my husband and I being in our mid 30s are done having babies
    God blessed us with 2 amazing busy smart athletic and crazy boys and for that I am forever thankful.

    • Hi Amelia, I don’t know how I missed your comment when you first shared it but I wanted to say thanks for sharing your story and I’m so very sorry for all of the losses you have experienced.

  5. Wow, you really nailed this. A lot of thoughts that I have been unable to articulate in the last five years and 4 miscarriages. Even though they were early, even though we only saw anything on an ultrasound once, even now that I have my twins through IVF, it still hurts and careless words still sting. Thank you, I’m going to share this.

    • Hi Margo, I don’t know how I missed your comment when you first shared it but I wanted to say thanks for your kind words and I’m so very sorry for the losses you have experienced. I’m glad my post was able to voice your feelings. Hugs, my friend. You are not alone.

  6. Tomorrow is 7 years since I lost my baby. I was fine when I woke up today – went to the store, had lunch, planned to sit by the hotel pool for the afternoon and now I haven’t moved from this bed. I am not sure what happened but man do I miss my baby…

    I’m sorry to all of you who have angel babies. I grieve with you.

  7. This is great and helps so much. thank you. I had a very early miscarriage last month, my fiance doesn’t understand as we were only 5 weeks so to him it wasn’t real yet. But we have been trying a year with no luck so for this to happen was my dream come true only to end in devastation. I don’t have any children so to have even a glimpse of being a mum was a massive deal for me. I’m still very bitter about it all.

    • I’m so very sorry for your loss 🙁 It does seem to be very different for some guys for some reason. Hugs to you, my friend. And praying for comfort for you.

  8. The twins should have been born in April of 1996. The one I lost first by miscarriage and the other by tubal pregnancy about a week later by emergency surgery. I still think of them every day. We wanted them, and still it hurts so much when we hear of a newborn healthy baby. We wanted our own baby and wanted to watch them to grow up to make something great of themselves. We love other babies, don’t get me wrong. It is just painful to think, “what if”!

    • Oh, I can totally relate to the “what if” thinking. The oldest baby we lost would be 6 now, and I still think of her all the time. I guess when you love big, you grieve big. Hugs, my friend. Remembering your sweet babies with you today.

  9. I too have recently gone through a miscarriage and reading this was as close as you can get to perfect… We found out Christmas day 15 weeks and one day along and to this day I am still struggling with the pain I must say people have told me numorous times to just get over it I’ll have another like it’s nothing and it hurts really bad…. I’m sick of people telling me to just get over it… Or it could have been worse… It’s hard no matter how far along a person was it’s still a baby…. your baby….. Anyways I’m so sorry for the losses you have faced I couldn’t imagine… We r still trying as we speak and yet nothing I do know it’s hard too when ur trying again and u keep getting negative results back every month… it breaks my heart everytime… over and over again….

    • Oh Chelsea, I’m so so sorry for your loss. Ugh, my heart is just breaking for you. I wish I could say something that would help…but I know from experience that there really are no words. Hugs and prayers to you, my friend. Lifting you up today.

  10. It’s definitely not just a miscarriage when you are told your daughter has no heart beat. Or you have to go to the hospital and give birth. Going through all the pain of labor but knowing you can’t take her home after. Or when you hold her in your arms for the first time and its also the last time. I prayed everyday for her. For god to keep her safe. But he took her instead. I miss my baby so much. I named her Railynn. She passed away on April 12th 2017.

  11. I’m going through the same thing, what hurts the most is that people minimize my pain because I already have to beautiful boys. They say I tested to early.. 5 weeks pregnant! I should have waited .. 5 weeks was nothing .. how can it be nothing? We have been TTC for the last 3 years. With absolutely no luck.. it was the first positive.. I have people tell me I should be thankful I have my boys… yes I am grateful but I wanted this precious little angel too.

    • I had many people say similar things to me as well…”At least you have one child….” “You should be thankful for the child you do have.” I always wanted to say back, “I am thankful for him! But that doesn’t take away the pain of losing this other child!” I’m so very sorry people have not been more supportive. Hugs and prayers coming your way, my friend.

  12. Getting pregnant right after a pregnancy is terrifying. I got pregnant 6 weeks after my first miscarriage and miscarried that baby also. I then got pregnant 6 weeks after the second miscarriage and had a healthy full term baby. I was scared of miscarriage through every pregnancy after. Not a day goes by that i dont look at my rainbow baby, now 7 years old, and wonder what her siblings that I lost would be doing and what they would look like. I dream about them all the time.

  13. The worst for me was being avoided by people I thought were my friends. It was almost like I had some disease they were afraid to catch 🙁

    So sorry for you loss and those that have commented.

    Also along the lines of it being hard on a marriage. It’ll change your husband. My husband went from wanting to try again to after a d&c with hemorrhaging completely counting it out. We have 2 girls but that doesn’t change me wanting the child we loss. And I definitely don’t feel ok with this being it, this being the end. But he’s scared, scared to lose me in another surgery if it’s needed, scared to go through it again.

  14. The worst for me was people saying that I had plenty of time to have another and I’d get pregnant again. I don’t CARE about getting pregnant again, j care about the baby I just lost and will never know.

  15. My husband and I suffered through loosing 7 babies before we had two beautiful gifts from God. I wish I had a dollar for every time someone told us “it wasn’t meant to be.” It’s heartbreaking. And almost every time minimized because people simply don’t know what to say. News flash say nothing! A simple I’m sorry works!

  16. Never say to a mother that “it wasn’t really a ‘baby’ yet”. I had that said to me when I lost my first baby and I can still feel how I felt when it was said.

  17. I read this through tears. I have 4 children, including an angel. You’d think since I already had 2 children when I had my miscarriage, I’d be okay with it. It’s been 4 years, but it still hurts every single day. I had a really hard time with it. I still do. I tried hard not to question God, but there were days when it is all I did. Our baby was extremely sick. I was told I would miscarry weeks before I did. I saw specialist after specialist. It was some the worst pain I ever felt. No one really said anything, which was hard too. I wanted someone to acknowledge how hurt I was. My husband would hold me while I cried myself to sleep and I was very depressed, waiting for my body to purge this human from me. I tried to trick my mind into thinking I wasn’t pregnant, as if that was possible. Every time I cramped, I thought it was happening. For 3 weeks, my two older children had to watch me fake through the motions of my life. It was the longest 3 weeks. I told myself every time that I had an ultrasound, that some miraculous miracle had changed all that was wrong. I blamed myself for this rare disorder that my baby suffered with. We didn’t want to know the sex and still don’t know. I imagine meeting him or her (named June) someday. Our silver lining… We conceived another baby the same week of what would have been June’s due date. Our daughter, Ryce (pronounced Rice), is now 3 years old and is smart as a whip. While I wanted that baby more than anything, I wouldn’t have this daughter. It’s bitter sweet. Had I given birth to June, he/she would have only known pain and suffering. I couldn’t have calmed him/her with my touch b/c there was so much wrong. And if I had had June, I wouldn’t have Ryce. I feel myself, but I still feel like I am missing a part of me. There are days I barely think about it. There are days, like right now while writing this, that my mind transports back to those weeks. Such vivid memories. I’d wish to give them up, if they weren’t so important. Until we meet again.

  18. You shouldn’t assume anything about the way a miscarriage feels physically to a woman. Calling what I experienced “cramps” is severely downplaying what I actually experienced. Yes it started with cramping, more severe than my normal period cramps. These last about 24 hours before the full blown contractions kicked in 30 seconds apart for 2-3 hours. It was the most excruciating pain I’ve ever experienced and I would never label it as “cramps”.

  19. We have had three miscarriages. After our second one, which was in the 2nd trimester, my husband’s boss said, “it’s natural selection”. That was over 2 years ago and those words still haunt me.

  20. Thank you so much for finding the words I never could! I found this1 week after I found out my baby’s heart stopped. I was numb until I found this. I didn’t know how to explain how I was feeling. I was angry, mad, sad, devastated but didn’t know what to say. This was everything and I mean everything I was feeling. Perfectly written, the words I had been searching for right here. It has helped me tremendously!

  21. Wonderfully written – thank you for sharing your story. My husband and I lost our second child in miscarriage just days before our sister-in-law gave birth at 36 weeks. Her son had an undiagnosed birth defect and he only lived for moments. Walking that path of grief was quite the journey. I’ve shared your story on Wings of Hope – our local outreach program for women who experience pregnancy loss. https://www.facebook.com/wingsofhope and http://wingsofhopemankato.weebly.com/ Thank you again for being a voice!!!

  22. Thanks for sharing Lindsey. I do want to tell you though that even if you get pregnant again right after a miscarriage, it is still just as hard. You still think and pray about the one that went to heaven before you got to meet him or her. You still think about them. You still grieve. So sorry for your loss. By the way for those reading and don’t know what to say, say that or say “What can I do to help?.” Just don’t say you need to confess whatever sin you have that made you lose that baby. I had that said to me and I still carry those words around with me.

    • I can’t believe someone said that to you! That’s terrible. And so, so wrong. Wow. Just wow. I’m so sorry they said that. Thank you for sharing. And thanks for letting me know it’s still hard, even when you do get pregnant shortly thereafter. I have had some friends who have seemed to “get over” (as much as you really get over) theirs quicker than others, but I think everyone is just different. I too am so very sorry for your loss. Blessings to you today.

      • I don’t think you ever truly get over your angel babies. No matter how people seem, People hide alot of emotions just because it hurts if you bring it all back up again. I have had one preterm baby, she died shortly after birth and two miscarriages following, and just recently got pregnant straight after a miscarriage. This was very hard for me to accept the fact I was pregnant again, and still is. I am getting more excited as the months go by, but I will never forget how it felt loosing my babies. Life is uncertain but I know dwelling on these angels will never bring them back, what keeps me going is knowing they are in a better place. I have no idea if this baby is the one I will get to hold, get to truly do the motherly things but I will always have hope and trust that these things are out of my control and that is ok with me, cause it’s not my fault and there is nothing I can do but keep having faith in the unseen. I pray you all find some peace in your loses one day knowing that there is a bigger plan, that we just don’t know.

    • That’s horrible, I’m so sorry for the ignorance of that person.
      I had a friend who lost a pregnancy and was told ,”well, now you can enjoy your baby and she won’t have to grow up too fast.” She had an 11 month old when she has a miscarriage. Some people are just ignorant.

  23. Thank you for this great article, Lindsey! You hit the nail on the head. Please know that you are in my prayers and have a special place in my heart.