Why Doesn’t My Grief Count?

July 20, 2010. I completed a miscarriage my husband and I had known that coming for two weeks. My very kind OB/GYN allowed me to complete this naturally instead of a D&C as I had no signs of an infecti0n.

July 25, 2010. My sister delivered her beautiful, healthy baby girl.

Now, my sister knows loss like I don’t. Her first baby was also a beautiful, healthy baby girl. She died of SIDS at just four months old. I was twenty at the time and had no idea of the loss she experienced. I still don’t. What I don’t understand is why, because I lost my baby at 13 weeks that anyone would ever say “at least it was so early.” Or, because I already have two daughters, that anyone would say “at least you have other children.” Like if I totaled a car, “at least I have another one.” My girls are such a joy to me, but they simply cannot replace the child lost.

But the worst is having people compare our grief. Those who know we have both lost a child always assume that she must have grieved more. Maybe she did; but she also got to meet her child. She knows what her daughter looks like, she even knows that she had a daughter. I have lost a child not even knowing the gender. If this makes my grief less, I certainly do not feel that way.

I just wish people would think about what they say. That people would offer comfort, not to make themselves feel better, but to show that they actually  care and the my grief is justified. No matter how small the child is.

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10 Comments
  1. I totally agree with you. I also lost my first baby at 13 weeks and whenever anyone made a comment like that toward me I had to walk away because I really wanted to blow up at them. People can share their stories of loss, but shouldn’t compare. Everyone’s loss, no matter how, is a loss and it is devastating.

  2. There is also another type of loss no less painful – for the child that never was. Those of us who never had a chance to be married and have a family face this reality every day. I could not undersand this until some years go, when it really hit me that I am single against my will. Childless couples encounter this grief too, but they have each other – as a single woman I am told to ‘enjoy my life’, which of course I am attempting to do to the fullest as well as I can – and the loneliness and emptiness is very deep and scarring. No grave to commemorate what I don’t have, only the longing..

  3. I understand completely. I lost my baby at 9 weeks. But I found out about it at 10 weeks. The very day that it happened, I had people telling me “atleast it happened this soon and not further along..” In a way they are right, I think..because the loss would have hurt worse had I felt my baby kick or even knew the gender. But it’s still not something that anyone should say in hopes of comforting you. I have a friend that is having a hard time conceiving that even said to me ” it would hurt worse for me if I got pregnant and lost it because it’s been so hard for me to get pregnant..” I didn’t talk to her for almost three months after that. The way I look at it is if you don’t KNOW what to say to make me feel better (which nothing anyone says will) then don’t say anything at all. It’s more comfort in just being there then trying to say words that make it worse. Every loss, no matter at 5 weeks, 9 weeks, or 13 weeks…is a LOSS nonetheless. And I’m so sorry for yours. I think of my baby everyday, as I’m sure you do as well…but somehow I’ve learned to accept it and grieve my sweet Micah in the right way. If that makes sense. I pray you can as well.

  4. What’s worse is when you start to believe it yourself, because you hear from so many that it was a “blessing” that it happened so early. I don’t know about you (or other loss moms), but when I find myself talking to a woman who has had multiple losses, or a stillbirth, or has lost an infant, I feel like my one early loss is much less significant. I sometimes feel like I don’t have a right to still be sad after a year and a half, not compared to those who have endured more than I have. It makes me feel terrible, like I’m admitting that my son or daughter was not important.

  5. Dear grieving mothers,
    NO loss is ever insignificant! Each of us ever truly BLESSED with the gift of any tiny moment of growing life inside our naturally nurturing wombs, *were life -GIVERS for that miraculous experience* Our children NEEDED US; their MOTHERS* for that very integral span of time that we were forever changed in the biological shift and the knowledge of their BLESSED EXISTENCE! No matter what any less educated, closed minded, or plain emotionally detached human might say or think…..your pain is real and true and YOU. God gave YOU life! Those precious lives that we pray and long to hold for so much longer—-will always be a gift. Sorrow and devastation are the markers of the truth of His Love in our LOVE that indeed GREW with our incredible lost infants.
    That is the only ONLY part of any of this heartbreaking experience that any mother or father “deserve”:
    to FEEL the emotions inspired by the thoughts of those delicate angels who graced our path. HONOR His gift in that suffering. Love them, pray for them, and for eachother who FEEL this way. Speak out to those hurtful “supporters”, educate them how to hold us up strong as we continue to empower each other on this and other great forums: for WE will always remember. A Mother never forgets. Give your baby your loving voice, Mother. May God Bless you all**

  6. A loss is a devastating tragedy no matter what stage it occurs at. There should be no comparing or minimizing. A loss of life is immeasurable and tragic no matter when it occurs. We have the right to grieve and it is a natural part of healing our minds, souls, and bodies.

    1. You are so right. Thjirteen years ago I had to have an emergency c-section. They took y son at 23 weeks gestation because I had what was called HELLP Syndrome (Hemmolytic Anemia,Elevated liver and low platelet count) and my liver enymes were in the thousands. They took my son so early to save my life. Long story short he weighed a measley 14.2 ounces and was only 11 1/2 inches long. If it weren’t for him making the respiratory effort of a little cry they wouldn’t of made any effort to ventilate him. He spent four months in NICU on the ventilator then eventually had to have a trachesostomy. During this time my physician put me on anti depressants, high blood pressure meds and started me on Depo Pervairo for birth control. ki was told with the HELLP Syndrome that there was a 75% chance of getting it again if I ever became pregnant. Yes you guessed I got pregnant again. My marriage crumbled (resulting in a divorce)and I had my children (born and unborn) to think of. My son had to be referred out of state for complex airway surgery and we were introduced to Cincinatti Children’s Hospital Dr. Robin Cotton. My son was scheduled for his first major airay surgery at Children’s Hospital June of 2000. At this current time I am 8 months along in my second pregenacy and was cleared to go out of state for my son’s surgical procedure. Three days post operative I finally realied that I had not felt my baby girl moving. My mother who was an old OB nurse asked me if I had eaten that day. I told her, “No”. She went to get me orange juice to drink and I drank it. Then she asked me if, “if felt her move”? I said, ” No she hasn’t moved yet”. My mom went out to the nurse station and requested a doppler. One of my son’s nurses returned with the doppler and my mom checked me out. The doppler did not detect heart beat. So I was ambulanced over to University of Cincinnati Hospital. My second C-section happened the next morning. I delivered a four pound still-born little girl. It has been 12 years since that day and the hurt is still there.

  7. I lost one baby at 9 weeks shortly after seeing his precious heartbeat. The gender of the baby was never confirmed, but I believe he was a boy. I lost my second baby at 7 weeks without ever getting a heart beat. Shortly before my first pregnancy, my husband’s cousin lost her son who was 19 years old in a car accident. My Mother in law repeatedly told me that my loss is nothing compared to hers and encouraged me to stop thinking about myself and try to be supportive for the cousin. Of course I was devastated for my the loss my husband’s family endured, but I couldn’t make myself believe that my loss was so less significant. I just don’t think there is a comparison as it really is two different stories. After suffering through 2 miscarriages, I can’t even compare the pain I felt for each of them as even they were totally different experiences. I handled each one a little differently. I have felt angry about the comments made by my family who knew. My Mom who is religious told me to praise God that the baby wasn’t born with disabilities and went on to tell me that it would have been worse if I had to be bed ridden for nine months. I would sacrifice nine months for my child to have happy life anytime. Right after the miscarriages, these comments didn’t upset me as much as they do now, but I think that was because I was numbed by the shock of it all and didn’t really have the emotional strength to even consider how their comments made me feel. But, as a few months have passed, I have found myself remembering their comments and feeling overwhelmed with hurt. I also told a couple close friends, my Mom, and my husband when my due date would have been and reminded them that it was coming up. No one even called me that day to check on me. I decided to buy myself flowers to honor myself for my courage to even face the world that day. When my husband heard that I bought myself flowers he told me to tell people that they were from him. But, I didn’t because he didn’t think of it and he didn’t think of me. This has been the most difficult journey I have ever faced in my life. I have NEVER felt more alone. There is absolutely no one who felt those babies but me. No one understood their existence but me and therefore no one cares they way I do. This website has helped me know that I am not the only one to feel this way and it gives me hope that I will get through it.

  8. I am so sorry to hear that you lost your precious baby,
    I have been coping with similar reactions. I lost my baby at just over 11 weeks and my mother has been atrocious about it. Like you mentioned she has said ‘ah well, at least it was early’. But also, ‘it wasn’t a real baby at that age, it was probably deformed, and it was for the best you are getting too old for babies’ My Aunt told me to cut her some slack and that it was a generational thing, but my Aunt is her sister and from the same generation and she wasnt behaving so badly. My Dad died 3 years ago suddenly and my Mum has taken it hard, and she told another family member that a little baby who wasnt formed completely couldnt compare to losing my Dad (she never asked if I felt like that). I have had to put a bit of distance between us because I dont want to fall out with her and I probably would if I didnt hold her back a bit. When anyone mentions the baby or the miscarriage she scowls and its like a deep freeze hits the room.
    I hope you can learn to sweep those negative reactions away, as I am trying to do.
    Val
    xxx

  9. I lost my baby at 12 weeks. I saw his heartbeat at my first ultrasound and when they couldn’t hear it in the office I knew she was gone. We had only told our family about the pregnancy a few days earlier. They had no connection to the baby and I heard tons of comments about losing the dream of a baby. But I didn’t lose a dream. I lost a baby with a beating heart who grew inside me. A baby that I’ll never hold or see. Sometimes I want to scream that she existed. She was real. I didn’t lose a dream. I lost some one I loved and wished for everyday for years and now she is gone. I feel like people think that its time that I move on already, but how can you move on when you aren’t allowed to acknowledge what you’ve lost.

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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.

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