Rethinking Miscarriage

"Such disservice is done to those who miscarry.  The world acts as if it expects the baby will live.
Until the baby dies.
And then…’the baby’ never was.
Replaced instead by such an ugly word:
Miscarried." - Lori, Still Standing Magazine - (

pregnancy miscarriage

"Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici /".

I want to be perfectly honest with you. The first time I read those words on Lori's blog I was disappointed. I have a thing about words and the power we imbue them with. We are the master's of what words mean and in Lori's blog I felt that she was using the word miscarriage and empowering it with something beyond it's clinical meaning associated with it.

Hell, I was prepared to argue about how the word miscarriage was actually changed in the 1990's from 'spontaneous abortion' in effort to make the word better suited to the emotional levity of the situation.

But... I care about testing my thoughts and ideas in a forum and in most cases that forum is my wife and an ideal candidate as she is squarely in the camp of women who have experienced this type of loss.

A loss I will never know, except as one witnessing it from outside.

I will never know the distinct feeling of growing a human being inside of me, or that precious moment of feeling it move for the first time. I can't know how close a women would grow to the baby she carries... and that was the key.

That was what I missed in all of Lori's post.

It wasn't about me or the clinical definition of miscarriage vs. infant death or the death of the unborn. It was about how Lori saw it; what that word meant to her and, to her, it was ugly.

Now, I happen to disagree with her on the ugliness of the word 'miscarriage' as I see it purely as a clinical term for the facts about what happened, but separate from the humanity of  what that death might mean to those experiencing it. And as I try to understand Lori's position, I'm confronted with very basic truth of perspectives and how different people see different things and the intentions of those around us.

Miscarriage can mean different things to different people, but clinically it tends to refer to a spontaneous abortion of the pregnancy. In most cases it's considered a miscarriage because the baby is unable to survive after the abortion of the pregnancy, if the baby was able to survive after the abortion of the pregnancy we tend to refer to the baby as having been born.

But here's the thing, none of these change anything about the baby, who it will be or might have been, how much it was loved or will be loved, or how many or few pictures and stories we had of the child. In the end that child either meant something to someone or it didn't.

In Lori's case, every one of the children she lost was her child, physically, mentally and emotionally. And as such when talking with her one would want to utilize tact and careful scrutiny of terminology.

"Lori had a miscarriage." and "Lori lost a child." are both true statements, but one of those is preferred by Lori and as such that would be the one I would use happily because it's what she prefers, and frankly, she can choose what she prefers when talking about this and we can just accept it, or choose not to engage her on this topic.

In the end, life is precious to those that cherish it and so we should all, from time to time, hold someone close to us and cherish the life that we share with them.

So Lori, we may not see eye to eye on terminology, but all I can say is, "I'm sorry."

I'm sorry, for the losses you sustained and the shattered dreams and hopes you had been constructing for your children. Yours is a deep loss for you and I empathize with your position.

Luke is lucky to have such such a wonderfully, invested mother and I wish you all the best in the future.

This is what I think. What do you think?

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