The “A” Word

Now I want to talk to you about the “A” word. There are few words in the childbirth arena that are as loaded with negative connotations as the “A” word. I am talking about abortion. For women who are trying to have children, abortion is usually the last word on their minds. But miscarriages occur.

If a woman loses a pregnancy or baby before approximately the 22nd week of gestation, it is a miscarriage. Women who were celebrating this pregnancy and longing to hold a baby mourn this loss. Sometimes they mourn publicly. Often they mourn silently. Still more often they mourn with no one to really support them. Their midwife’s job is done when the womb is empty. But their doulas’ job is not done. Here is a grieving woman who needs support and empathy.

However, why do we use the “A” word with this woman? Our society is strongly divided (almost to the point of civil war) over whether women should be allowed to have an abortion if they wish one. But that is not the case here. Here we have a woman who wanted a baby and whose heart is torn asunder. Why is her midwife or doctor using the “A” word with her? Why is she hearing that her abortion is now complete? Medically, a spontaneous abortion = miscarriage. Emotionally, this couldn’t be further from the truth.

When a woman is beginning the mourning process for the loss of the child she had longed for, please let’s not use the “A” word with her. Miscarriage is tearful enough. Abortion in this context is hurtful.