A lot of people don’t like the term "pregnancy loss." It’s too generic, and doesn’t seem to mean anything. In fact, some people are upset by the term. I’ve heard people say, "Loss makes it sound like I misplaced my baby. I know my baby isn’t missing, he died!"
As a society, we are generally uncomfortable with death. People use all kinds of euphemisms to avoid saying the words death, or dead. Terms like “passed on,” “born to eternal life,” and “I’m sorry for your loss.” They are intended to soften the blow somehow, or make it easier for loved ones to cope if they don’t have to hear the dreaded D-words. Loved ones know better than anyone that their dear friend or family member has died, and euphemistic terms don’t make them feel their grief any less acutely.
So why do you use the phrase "pregnancy loss" so often on this site?
When it comes to the death of a baby, there are a lot of specific medical terms we can use to describe the event. A miscarriage happens before 20 weeks gestation, a stillbirth occurs after that point. A neonatal death can occur pre-term or at full-term, or even weeks after birth. A therapeutic termination is usually preterm, but may occur after a baby has died in utero. A termination may also result in a baby that lives for only a short time.
In other words, this site covers a lot of different types of death. All of them have specific language associated with them, not to mention all of the of medical terminology surrounding pregnancy loss. Medical terminology tends to be very upsetting to women, since the proper term for a miscarriage is a spontaneous abortion, and the term for a woman who has had multiple miscarriages is a habitual aborter. Not exactly the kind of language most women are looking for when they are seeking out information and support for their experiences.
So, in the interest is addressing all readers on this site, I use the term pregnancy loss whenever I’m referring to a topic that would be of interest for all grieving moms. If I’m writing about a subject particular to miscarriage, or stillbirth, I try to use the preferred term as often as possible.
It is never my intent to offend readers or discount the reality of your baby’s death. Rather, it is my intension to be as inclusive of all my readers’ experiences as possible.