Why I Do Not Use the Word Miscarriage

Miscarriage. I hate this word. Do you know what it means? In medical terms, it is defined as the loss of a fetus before the 20th week of pregnancy.

Please take a moment and say those words to yourself.

How did they make you feel?

When used in a medical situation, I have found my doctors and nurses to use this word very gently and with compassion. My experience with this word with my medical staff has been one of great humility as they have been present at the very lowest point in my life. They did not take it for granted and came along side me. I will be forever grateful to all that have shared the tears we have shed and still shed.

When used in a non-medical situation, I can tell you as a mother whose daughter is labeled as a miscarriage, or spontaneous abortion, these words are daggers to my heart.

Why? This is technically what Halia’s death is called.

Yes, medically, she was a miscarriage. But people who do not have any context for this word throw it around to distance themselves from the pain, alleviate their discomfort, solve the problem. They tend to visibly show signs of relaxing after hearing about a miscarriage because “you can try again”, they don’t need to worry about it since there was something wrong from the beginning, or “at least you were not farther along”…

Let that sink in.

When I talk about Halia to a stranger, they always want to know more such as how old she was, how far along was I, what happened. To see the expression of relief on their faces when I announce that she was 18 weeks gestational, I am heartbroken. That moment of realization causes them to immediately dehumanize her because she was just a “fetus.” They can no longer see the beautiful little girl that I carried and loved.

To me, she is the embodiment of so many dreams dashed. She was so spunky in the womb. No joke, I could feel her doing flips by week 12 and I felt such secret elation as I prepared for my long awaited daughter. I called her my spunky one as I lay in bed with her acrobat performing routines. My daughter is so much a part of who I am that to label her a miscarriage in the worldly sense completely ignores who she was to the people around her.

Why do I not use the word miscarriage? Because I want you to know how loved she was and is. If the world could use this word to describe the dashed hopes and dreams of the heartbroken families, then I would gladly use this word to help the world better understand my daughter and my family. But until that day, I will continue to make others uncomfortable by saying that I lost my daughter. Because this is the truth. As a mother, this is my truth.

Next time someone tells you that they miscarried, do not try to put a bandage on their wound. Sit in their grief and acknowledge that their child is loved and will be held in their hearts forever. Because this is their reality.

Do you know why I tell people we lost our daughter? When I say I miscarried, people seem to relax and sigh with relief. They feel the need to say something. “You can just try again since you are young.” Or “something was wrong with the baby” or “at least you were not farther along”…

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