I Feel The Stigma of Miscarriage & It’s Not Fair

I am the founder of Unspoken Grief.

I speak to so many families each week who have been touched by perinatal loss and grief.

I know just how important talking is — for our own health and to show others it’s okay.

I work hard to try to remove the stigma. To make it ‘easier’ for those needing support to find it.

For those needing to express their grief — to be heard — with compassion and care.

Yet, as I sit here typing, unsure if I want this to be published, I feel the stigma.

I feel silenced, over-concerned about what others will say — & what they won’t say but, will think to themselves.

I am currently losing another pregnancy. Another should-be child. 

I am holding on to my grief — to the words I want to type. For fear of others.

I feel the stigma I am trying to break. I can feel the pressure of society wanting me to keep this in.

I am embarrassed to type this — though it is nothing to be embarrassed about.

I feel the urge to keep the details inside. To keep my feelings inside.

For other’s sake — not mine. & that’s not fair.

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Devan McGuinness

is the founder and executive director of the award-winning resource Unspoken Grief .

  1. I hear you and applaud you for speaking and not shrinking back. It’s better to talk than to keep silent even though it can be very hard to find an empathic ear but you have created the right kind of community for yourself. Don’t stop talking. ((huggs))

  2. I just found you and unspoken grief after hearing of this site within my babyloss community. I have felt this post, these feelings. This world seems to treat grief so casually, as if it just too uncomfortable to address. I am doing my part to change that, and I am thankful that you are bringing your voice to this as well.

    I am so so sorry for this loss. That you are again grieving. Our losses (no matter when the occur) are devastating. Take care of and be kind to yourself during this time.

  3. Devan, I’m so sorry you’re having to go through this again, and that you feel such a burden because of the stigma that accompanies pregnancy loss. You have done so much good in helping to lift that stigma, allowing so many women and men to share their stories, and their children’s stories. There’s always going to be those who don’t understand, and don’t try to. That said, the rest of us are here, with our ears open, sending the virtual hugs and strength we’ve all needed. Please keep talking and sharing. We’re listening.

  4. I am so sorry. I am also sorry that you somehow feel guilty or bad for wanting to talk about it. I wish the stigma regarding pregnancy and loss wasn’t there. It sure would make it easier for all of us who have experienced it to cope. What a lovely world it would be if our grief wasn’t unspoken. Sending love and hugs.

  5. Devan,

    I am so so sorry for your loss. I know how much your heart is breaking right now and I wish I could ease it, but I know I can’t. Sending you many virtual hugs. xoxo

  6. I am so so sorry to read your post today. I wish that there was something that could be said or done to take this pain away from you. Know that you are not alone, and that you are supported, loved and least of all, that we understand.


  7. Devan McGuinness you are one of the strongest and bravest women I have ever “known”. While so many of us shrink back you charge forward. You shine the light into the darkest corners of your grief, showing us we are not alone. As you sound the rally cry for one of us, we sound the cry for you and we are all here.

  8. Devan, I’m so, so, sorry for your loss and that you feel you can’t talk about it. Know that the fact that this site exists, that you DO want to bring a voice to others, is helping many who too have suffered the losses and feel the stigma.

    Thinking of you. Much love.

  9. You go, girl. I’ve had two miscarriages and one stillborn child of a surviving twin. I have four healthy children, but I miss my other three, especially the one I gave birth to and held.

  10. I am truly sorry for your loss, and the stigma you are experiencing. I am currently going through the same loss, my third, and also feeling the stigma. I have also noticed that others seem to offer comfort to me by pointing out I must be grateful for my two living children. I am of course, however, it does not mean my loss is less. I then thank the person offering their version of comfort. Why? Why do we do that…because I feel shame or embarassed or not entitled to express my loss. People seem to want to do a quick nod to the loss, and shockingly some people very close, never even utter a word. This loss is denied, and ignored, and I lose faith that people are sensitive and caring.

    I just discovered your site today, and feel very supported just in finding it. I am grateful to offer my support to you, and to share my loss as well.

    Please take care, and express your loss however, and whenever you feel the emotions coming on.


  11. When I was 18 I miscarried my first pregnancy. I was young, but that baby was planned and wanted. My asshat boss wouldn’t let me leave work early to go to the hospital. When I finally finished cleaning and closing the restaurant and got to the ER, they left me sitting in a room for hours before someone finally came in. By that time, it was pretty much over.

    The doctor did an exam and removed the fetus, which was already outside my cervix. He put it into a bottle and the nurse held it up for a moment to look at it. I looked over, in that moment, and I saw. I wish I had asked to hold the bottle. To get a closer look. To examine what would never be my child. To say goodbye. But the moment passed so quickly and I didn’t think to.

    Then the doctor told me — and my parents, who had arrived by then — that they had to examine the “tissue” he had removed to determine whether or not it was, indeed, “products of conception”.

    I was SO ANGRY. First because he was so insensitive. He figured that since I was young, I should be GLAD to lose that baby. HE was certainly glad. And second, because he couldn’t even be bothered to have enough respect for me to be honest. I knew I couldn’t realistically expect him to call it a baby, but there was NO denying that what I’d lost was a *fetus*. Even from across the room, I could tell that. There were arms. Legs. Eyes. It looked just like all the pictures you have ever seen of an 8 or 9 week fetus. “Tissue”??? I knew the real reason they needed to examine it was to make sure it was all there, and nothing likely left inside me to cause an infection. He could have been straightforward about that. The idea that they needed to confirm what it was was just so idiotic and condescending. I couldn’t believe how badly they — the people who are supposed to be there to HELP — had treated me.

    I wrote a poem, soon after. I remember it started with:

    “Conceived in mother’s love for child, not man,
    And raised in love by gentle mother’s hand,
    This child shall live the love from whence she came
    And dance the dance inspired by given name:
    Terpsichore! The daughter of the dance…”

    Hey, I didn’t say it was a GOOD poem.

    This was the ’80’s. Terpsichore (Terp-SIH-coar-ee) was the muse of the dance, and the never-quite-spoken name of the Olivia Newton-John’s character in the movie Xanadu. I had the idea at the time to name my children, regardless of gender, all after the 9 Greek muses. I did wind up glad later that by the time I actually had my first baby (about a year and a half later), I had different ideas for names. But that first baby, the lost one, will always be Teri to me.

    At the time, I very much hoped for a girl first, so I chose to believe that my lost one was a girl. Later, after I’d borne 4 daughters and no sons, I switched to thinking that maybe my first conceived was a boy after all.

    Anyway, the poem went on to talk about the mother’s deepest fear, that the dreamed-of child never would come at all. I’m pretty sure I rhymed “never have the chance” with “dance” in there somewhere. And it ended with:

    “And none to turn to, for who could console
    A mother who a mother’s not, as yet,
    O’er a child she never knew,
    But can’t forget?”

    You never do forget. But it does get better.
    You never do forget. But it does get better.

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About Unspoken Grief

Unspoken Grief is a non-profit website dedicated to creating awareness and resources for anyone touched directly or indirectly by miscarriage, stillbirth or neonatal death.

©Unspoken Grief 2017; Devan McGuinness


Unspoken Grief exists to provide peer-to-peer support and resources. The information on this site is intended only for advocacy and educational purposes. It's not intended to give medical advice, to diagnose or to offer treatment for any medical or psychological conditions. Please consult your own health care provider for your own specific situation and needs.