Grieving the loss of a pregnancy

What do I say when the bleeding starts?


Yitgadal veyitkadash shemeh raba—

Yes, your name will be exalted and sanctified—


But not by me.


I am denied even this ritual of mourning because my grief doesn’t count.


My bereavement isn’t the right type.

And yes, I understand that pregnancy loss and still birth used to be so common that if you said kaddish for each loss, you’d never stop, and so the rabbis lifted that burden and left us with?




In a religion that gives us words to say on every occasion, for every action, what do I say now?


What do I say when the bleeding starts?


What do I say when the sonogram shows that the baby’s heart has stopped, or that there’s no baby left to see?


What do I say when the baby is found to have gotten stuck in my fallopian tube, where it

cannot grow?


Are my losses so insignificant that there are no words at all?


Yitbarakh veyishtabakh—

I want to praise your name.

I want to thank you for getting me through this.

I want to draw strength from my community that comforts mourners and consoles the



Halo atsalta li berakhah? 1

Please God, have you not reserved a blessing for me?


Barekheni gam ani,

Bless me as well,


Uvarukh ehyeh.

And I will be blessed.


1 Hebrew adapted from Genesis 27:36, 27:38, 27:33