In Pennsylvania, a pregnancy loss that takes place before 16 weeks gestational age is considered a miscarriage. According to the March of Dimes (2012), miscarriage occurs in about 10-20% of all known pregnancies. Because many losses occur before women realize they are pregnant, as many as 40% of all pregnancies may end in miscarriage. Parents who experience an early pregnancy loss have varied feelings and responses.
Assessing the needs of the parents is important, as it is incorrect to assume that everyone grieves a loss or that no one grieves. Some people view an early pregnancy as a union of cells and others visualize a baby. The length of a pregnancy does not influence how attached a person feels. However, 75% of women experiencing a miscarriage felt that they had lost a baby; only 25% felt the loss as a non-significant life experience. (Limbo and Wheeler, 1986)
Many mothers have felt surprised by how they felt about their own miscarriage, previously considering a miscarriage a small loss. So, it’s easy to see why outsiders often fail to understand how a woman's hopes and dreams have been replaced with heartache and loss.
"I would always look for clues to her in books and poems, I realized. I would always search for the echoes of the lost person, the scraps of words and breath, the silken ties that say, Look: she existed."
– Meghan O'Rourke, Story's End