Miscarriages and Grief

by Sherry F. Colb

In my column for this week, I take up the question of how to talk, within a pro-choice framework, about the grief that women experience when they miscarry a pregnancy.  In this post, in the interest of full disclosure, I want to talk a little about my own miscarriage.  It happened many years ago, and it was not an especially "bad" one, in the scheme of things.  It happened early--before my "6-week visit."  Nonetheless, I felt extremely sad and distraught at the time, and I occasionally still think about how old "he" or "she" would be now if I had been able to take that pregnancy to term.

The very word "miscarry" encourages women to think of pregnancy loss as a personal failure, and I felt additionally isolated in my grief by the seeming triviality (by society's lights) of what had happened.  What I had lost was still only an embryo or an early fetus.  Yet it felt like more to me.

Though my column explores this at greater length, I share my own story here to add my voice to those who wish to rectify the gap in our support for women, pro-choice women, pro-life women, and undecided women, all of whom need the space and communal understanding to grieve about a lost pregnancy, if and when they endure that loss and experience grief as a result.