It Was More Than “Just” a Miscarriage

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It Was More Than 'Just A Miscarraige'
Truthfully, perinatal grief due to miscarriage can be hard to comprehend for someone who has never experienced it. Part of me has this unrealistic expectation that people should “get it“, that they should understand the emotional and physical toll a miscarriage has on a woman, on a family.  People should get it, but every so often I am taken to task when I talk about my grief, my pain and the children I was never able to meet face-to-face.

I hear from people — usually well-meaning, that what I have been through “was just a miscarriage”. That for some reason that makes my pain less. I hear that I should be happy I wasn’t “further along” that I didn’t really “know my baby” and I shouldn’t “let it” bother me.

My children and my experiences are more than “just” a miscarriage.

To me, it is a deeper understanding of pain, of joy, of loss and of life. It is a new understanding of empathy, of supporting others and a new normal that I now live with. It is little lives that I never got to know, dreams that were never fulfilled and an innocence that I will never get back.

There are days where I don’t give it too much though and then in the next moment, the feelings can feel so raw and new that I am transported right back to the very moment.

Please stop saying that it was “just a miscarriage” there is no “just” when it comes to lifelong heartbreak.

Photo credit: adapted from Focx Photography/Flickr

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Devan McGuinness About Devan McGuinness

Devan McGuinness is the founder of the online resource Unspoken Grief, dedicated to breaking the silence of perinatal grief for those directly and indirectly affected by miscarriage, stillbirth and neonatal death. Using her own experience of surviving 12 miscarriages, Devan has been actively supporting and encouraging others who are wading through the challenges associated with perinatal and neonatal loss.


  1. Yes. Just yes.

    I wish my own family understood this.

  2. Jennifer says:

    This is all so true. The comments people make about being lucky you were not further along are so horrible. The same person who told me that with my early miscarriage also told me “at least you didn’t get to bring her home” after we lost our daughter at 32 weeks. A loss is a loss and it doesn’t matter where you were in your pregnancy. It was a baby you had hopes and dreams for.

  3. Thank you for posting this. I couldn’t agree more.
    “Just”…that word can make it so much more heartbreaking.
    Today marks the 7th anniversary of my first miscarriage. I was 16 weeks along and there were no signs of problems in my pregnancy.
    At this point I feel like I should be “over it”. 7 years, right? But despite my best efforts to NOT think about it, sure enough, every year around this time, I become overly emotional and moody. Like every year since that day, I found myself in tears today, missing our 2nd baby whom we never got to hold.
    To so many, it makes no sense that I’m still “hung up on this”. Perhaps if I had never experienced a miscarriage, I would feel the same way. But that’s not the case.
    It was not “just” a miscarriage, nor is it something I will “get over” in my lifetime.
    Does a parent ever stop missing a child they’ve lost?

  4. Very well put! I know these people are usually well meaning but after surviving two miscarriages I find that unless they’ve been through it they just don’t get it. And if your lucky enough to have a child already people think its okay to ask their family, friends and even complete strangers “so…when you going to start trying for number 2″. People just don’t understand that a simple question can stir up a lot of emotions for someone who has suffered a miscarriage or who may be trying tooth and nail to conceive!

  5. I wish people could realize that even “just a miscarriage” lives on with you forever, and “just” is so belittling to something that changes who you are as a person.

  6. My best friend miscarried her first baby two weeks ago. We’d only known she was pregnant for twenty four hours. She was eleven weeks. We both cried for days. She was carrying life inside her and then she wasn’t. What don’t people understand?? Her baby DIED. How come I’m not allowed to be devastated by that? I’m trying not to be angry about it, but I find it disgusting the way people brush it off.

  7. Constance says:

    Thank you for sharing! I just had my third miscarriage and most traumatic (physically) three weeks ago today. I ended up hemorrhaging and had to have an emergency D & C. This time around people have been very sympathetic and helpful. I guess by the third one people are figuring out what to say and how to help. God bless you.

  8. Thank you for posting this. I have had 4 early losses and they don’t seem to know how to fix me besides “trying again”. The “just a miscarriage” thing hurts, but what bothers me more is the “it wasn’t meant to be” or “you weren’t meant to be a mommy”. Excuse me? How is that even remotely reassuring? How dare you tell me that my hopes and dreams, my little children were not “meant to be?”

  9. Thank you for posting this. I have had two miscarriages in the past six months. The first was a missed miscarriage at 11 weeks with a d&c. It was a horrible, traumatic, life-altering experience. I still have nightmares about that awful day. My second happened a couple months ago when I was just under 6 weeks along.

    Regardless of what anyone says, those were my children. I carried them for a short time and loved them more than I ever thought possible. Any phrase that starts with “just” or “at least” minimizes my grief and makes me feel like I should “get over it.” I will never, ever be the same after my experiences.

  10. You are so right. It is the loss of innocence that rings true with me most. After losing my first ever pregnancy, I feel so angry that I will never again feel that niave joy and wonder at seeing the positive test. Instead I will be full of fear and anxiety, knowing what can really happen.

  11. Everything you said is right on!

    This weekend marks one year! One year since my first child went to heaven. And though it wasn’t very long that I even knew my baby was inside me (only knew 3 days), the heartbreak, the fear, the anger, the sadness – those feelings are still very real. I am healing, and I know it is because God has given me so much grace and help. But, coming back to the timeline of when I first found out I was pregnant, and then the few days later when I lost our Gabriel – it was gut-wrenching. We had hopes, we had dreams, and now our little hope and dream is in heaven. I hate how unfeeling people can be…you may be right that I didn’t “know” my baby very much…but the day you find out you are having your little one and the day that all that time of infertility and problems “comes to an end” – you know that child and there is instant love. And now that I am still “childless” according to everyone else’s standards, it is just hard. I know that I will see Gabriel in heaven…I know it. But, it is still hard. My prayers are for all women who go through this…I wish I could take this pain from you. I wish we never had to experience this kind of pain.

  12. Thank you so much for this article. My husband and I just had our second miscarriage in 6 months. We were married on May 31, 2013, and we had a surprise weding night baby. I started pregnancy symptoms early, meaning that we realized sooner. We miscarried. Then, we got pregnant again in Oct. I was so scared, but I thought if I could just make it to my birthday in Dec., we would be okay. We told our parents the weekend before my birthday and celebrated my birthday being pregnant. I woke up the next morning miscarrying. A very devistating way to start out a new year to your life and the Christmas season. We have heard everything from “just a miscarriage”, ” you weren’t that far along”, to “be glad you have only been married 7 months”, to “were you even pregnant?”. They all hurt. They are all insensitive comments. Thankfully, I have had some nice ones though too. And, I’m grateful that we have the assurance that our babies are in Heaven and that God comforts us. I’m learning to forgive people’s rude comments and to be gracious and Christ-like through it. But, I do believe it is something that people need to know and understand.

  13. Good response in return of this difficulty with genuine arguments and describing everything regarding that.

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