This post is not intended to knock people who have said some of these comments. I myself have mistakenly said these to someone before I had gone through a miscarriage. I have been told each of these statements at some point during my losses and although it can be difficult to know what the right thing to say is and most people genuinely mean well, here is why I find these statements so hurtful:
You can always have another! -or- You can always try again.
Although it is true that many couples struggle with infertility, the end goal of getting pregnant is not the positive pregnancy test but the baby. Merely being able to get pregnant is not a comfort for most women who experience a miscarriage.
Many women can go on to try again after a miscarriage, and indeed many find comfort in that idea after time. However, for someone grieving a loss, one baby does not replace another. Each loss needs to be dealt with individually and the woman needs to think about trying again on her own time when she is ready.
Be grateful for the children you have!
Even if a woman has living children, they do not replace the baby she lost. Grieving does not mean you are ungrateful!
I know what you are going through.
If you have not lost a baby, please do not say this to a mother grieving a miscarriage. Just as with anything else in life, unless you’ve experienced it yourself, you simply do not know how it feels. However, if you have had a miscarriage, it can be reassuring to a woman grieving a miscarriage to hear your story.
It was not a real baby – it was just a fetus.
This comment is hurtful on so many levels! It was a baby to the mom – you feel the connection and the physical effects and your body changing from VERY early on.
At least you didn’t know your baby!
All women know their babies growing inside of them. You mean before it was a real baby and I got attached? Nope, this does not make any difference. It still hurts like mad. Some of us love our babies from the minute we found out we were pregnant.
There must have been something wrong. -or- It’s probably for the best.
Never speculate that a miscarriage was for the best. Miscarriages happen for many reasons, and you do not know what may or may not have caused this particular loss. The best for whom? Me? The now-dead baby? You? The greater good of the nation? This does not make the person feel better.
It won’t happen again
Everyone hopes that everything will be fine in the next pregnancy, but sometimes it isn’t. Women who have recurrent miscarriages often remember being reassured by others that everything would be fine next time, and sometimes this makes for an even harder time coping with the second loss.
After so many miscarriages you should be getting used to it.
I have had 10 miscarriages and each one was equally painful – no matter how far along I made it to. Each one was a baby and each one was important and wanted!
Be brave, don’t cry. -or- Get on with your life, this isn’t the end of the world!
It is healthy and important to grieve.
Remember, when a woman is going through a miscarriage, she is mourning over
- the death of her child and the fact that she will not get to hold her child or meet her baby face to face
- the knowledge that she will not get to watch her child grow up, see her child’s personality develop or see her child achieve his/her dreams
- a sense of failure. I haven’t met a woman yet who has miscarried and hasn’t wondered if it was somehow her fault. She failed, her body failed, she’s being punished for a past mistake, she shouldn’t have eaten this or drank that – all of these thoughts can easily play through the grieving mommy’s mind.
6 SIMPLE WORDS TO SAY:
I AM SORRY FOR YOUR LOSS
can add some to this list –
My very best friend found out @ 23 weeks that her baby had triploidy, a chromosomal abnormality, and that she wouldn’t survive. Sara Kay was stillborn 10 weeks later on 9/7/09. During that time (and still today), my friend went through hell. Her family didn’t know how to communicate with her, and she got to the point where she would really only speak to me and her husband. What I learned from her pain and from the people who cause her more pain is this:
1. Don’t say “It was God’s will” or “It was meant to be” or “God had a reason for this”. These type of statements don’t help, even though they are meant well. They will only make her angry.
2. Don’t try to send mom (and dad) on a guilt trip for not wanting to spend time with you and your healthy babies. Trust me, she has feels guilty for not being able to hold your child or attend your baby shower without you making it worse.
3. It’s been a year since Sara Kay died. my friend is not “over it”. She probably won’t ever get over it. Comments like “She really should be back to normal by now” and “When is she going to get over it” don’t help either.
You never get over the loss of a child, whether they were not born, an infant, a 12 year old or a 40 year old. There is no replacement. Thanks for sharing these tips of what not to say.
What you said about simply saying, I’m sorry, is awesome. When I had my miscarriage, in some sick way, I found it comforting to find out how many people I knew who had been through it, too. It helped to know that I was not the only one that this horrible, awful thing happened to. People could understand how I felt.
Some people would say something like, “Well, at least you weren’t pregnant for very long,” as if that made it somehow easier. I already loved that baby. I still think of what that baby might have been and it’s been 19 years.