sharing your stories and remembering your children
By Emily Carrington EPLA Executive Director
When I was diagnosed with my first missed miscarriage, I didn’t even know what those words meant. I sat overwhelmed with both grief and confusion. After the diagnosis the doctor was kind and gentle. He invited me back at any time to answer questions. My brain reeled but seemed stuck at the same time. I didn’t even know what questions to ask. I had nowhere to put my thoughts while I was getting a crash course in pregnancy loss.
As EPLA describes in our educational resources, “a missed miscarriage, also called a missed abortion, is an early pregnancy loss in which the baby has died but has not been expelled from the uterus. When a missed miscarriage occurs, three options are available: to induce labor to expel the baby, to have a dilation and curettage procedure, or to wait until the body recognizes the miscarriage and goes into labor on its own.”
Some miscarriages start with sudden bleeding and some miscarriages *start* with the words “I am sorry there is no heartbeat.”
Following my missed miscarriage I realized that many of the terms used in early pregnancy loss are unknown to many people. Often the term miscarriage is used to lump everything together. This overgeneralization does a disservice to women and families suffering loss, as they have no way to understand what has happened to their baby and what will be happening to them.
Such generalization also allows for myths and misunderstandings to cloud early pregnancy loss. For example, not all miscarriages are “like a heavy period,” a common misconception that overlooks the hard labor many women endure to expel an embryo or fetus.
It is important that we are careful and precise with our language so we might know how to best care for each other.
Here at EPLA we work to clarify these misconceptions, share stories, and give voice to the suffering.
We believe that dignity is found in clinging to the truth. We must affirm the lives lost, the physical experience of the women, and the suffering of the family. This must start with a full understanding of terms.
In the coming months we will continue to highlight words such as ectopic pregnancy, molar pregnancy, chemical pregnancy, and more. We will explore medical procedures such as a dilation and curettage as well as natural labor following a miscarriage. This education is necessary for us to provide care for women and families suffering loss.
Emily Carrington is a freelance writer, wife, mother, and founder of the EPLA.