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:
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.
*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.