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When you love someone, it can be incredibly difficult to watch them go through a miscarriage. You want to say something that will hurt your loved one, but you’re not exactly sure what sentiments might cause pain. We’ve compiled a list of what not to say to someone who has had a miscarriage to help you avoid saying something that could inadvertently cause more pain.
While we appreciated every kind word that we received about our loss, there was also a lot of sentiments that sort of missed the mark.
Check out the top offenders below, and please think twice before saying these to someone who has recently loss their baby.
“I had a miscarriage and then went on to have 324,898 kids!”
Okay, so I don’t know anyone who has this many kids. But we did have people tell us about their own miscarriage story and then try and reassure us that we would also go on to have healthy children in our future.
While this sentiment is intended to provide hope to a couple that has miscarried, it can actually raise more uncomfortable questions for the couple.
- Are they going to be able to get pregnant again?
- Will the same complication happen again?
- Do they even want to try again? (More on that one below.)
The truth is that no two fertility stories are exactly the same, so just because someone else was able to go on to have healthy children post-miscarriage, the same may not be true for everyone.
“At least you have your healthy child(ren).”
Let me start this section off by saying, I am so freaking grateful for my daughter and my step-daughter. They truly got me through many of the rough moments in the days after my miscarriage. And yes, I know that I am so lucky to have the one biological child that I have.
However, it is worth noting that they do not replace the child that I lost. (And while we are on that topic, no future child will replace the child that I lost, either.)
It was clear to me that someone reminding me to be grateful was intended to give me something positive to focus my energy on. But instead, it made me feel like my lost babe was getting brushed off and your lost babe isn’t something that you can brush off, nor would you want to if you could.
To a couple going through a miscarriage, they have lost their child. To the rest of the world, it wasn’t yet a baby, but to the couple experiencing it, it was from the moment they got those two pink lines.
“There was probably something wrong.”
“Why?” is going to be the question on constant repeat in a couple’s mind after a miscarriage.
However, there is a very good chance that a couple may never know why they lost their child to a miscarriage.
So saying something like “there was probably something wrong” doesn’t really help anything.
Plus, let’s say that there was something wrong with the baby. Does that make the miscarriage any less painful?
I’d argue it doesn’t.
The likely reason that people say sentiments like this is because they are trying to relieve any guilt that a mom is feeling about the miscarriage. (Read all about my guilt here.) And honestly, that’s so nice that someone is wanting to make a mom feel better after such a horrible experience.
But even if the reason we lost our baby was because it had a chromosomal abnormality, I still lost my baby and that hurts just the same.
“You can try again.”
One of the first things that many of our friends and family asked us was whether we were planning to try again.
Ugh. This one was super irritating.
- Your fertility choices are no one else’s business (I talked about that here)
- It is incredibly insensitive.
In the days directly following our miscarriage, my husband and I weren’t 100% positive that we would ever try again. We had always pictured having another child together, but after our heartache, we weren’t sure we would be brave enough to try again.
So, people asking what our plans were felt like a harsh slap in the face.
A couple will tell you when they are ready whether or not they will try again. Until then, don’t mention it.
“Maybe it was caused by…”
On the night that we found out we had lost our baby, we had well-meaning family members try to suggest possible reasons that our baby had lost its heartbeat.
Let me tell you, this is NOT what someone who is grieving needs to hear.
A couple that is experiencing a miscarriage likely has a very competent OBGYN and/or other medical professionals who are looking out for their medical care.
They do not need your medical advice. If they have any questions about your experiences with pregnancy loss or about anything you might have information about, they will ask you.
What a couple DOES need to hear when experiencing a miscarriage:
A couple who is experiencing a miscarriage simply needs to hear:
“I’m so sorry for your loss. Is there anything that I can do?”
That’s it. It’s simple.
When you see someone you love going through a miscarriage, know that all they need is to know that you acknowledge the loss that they are experiencing and that you’re there for anything that they might need.
Cook them meals, let them know that you’re there if they need to talk or to cry and let them know it is okay to grieve for however long they feel is right. Genuinely being there for a couple who has experienced a miscarriage is the greatest gift you can give them.
A few other helpful words:
Please know that dealing with a miscarriage can turn a person into someone they don’t really like.
In the days after my miscarriage, I was so angry and jealous, too. If someone experiencing a miscarriage says something cross to you, try not to take it personally. They may just need some space to deal with their grief.