“Uh-oh, You Did Not Just Say That” (What NOT To Say To a Miscarriage Survivor)

I don’t talk about it very often, so not a lot of my friends and family know that I had a miscarriage. Not just once, but twice.

The first one was in January 2009 and the second one was in November 2009. On both occasions, I got upset over something really stupid, cried a lot and was so stressed out. I know that simply being upset does not cause a person to miscarry but sometimes I still wonder. 

“The reason for miscarriage is varied, and most often the cause cannot be identified. During the first trimester, the most common cause of miscarriage is chromosomal abnormality – meaning that something is not correct with the baby’s chromosomes. ” – American Pregnancy Association

For a long time, I blamed myself even if I knew there was nothing I could have done to prevent what happened, no matter how hard I tried. I still remember both days like it was yesterday. I was venting and crying over something that really upset me and the next thing I knew, I was bleeding. The first time it happened, I was brought to the ED, hoping against hope that it wasn’t what I thought it was, only to be told by the doctor hours later that I was having a spontaneous abortion. The second time it happened, I just started crying – because I knew with absolute certainty that I was, once again, losing my baby.

It’s been 8 years, and we have, since then, been blessed with our beautiful daughter, Sophia. But we have never forgotten. And if we don’t talk about it, it’s not because we’re ashamed of it and pretending it never happened. If anything, we don’t talk about it because of the embarassed looks and the awkward conversations, and not wanting to deal with the comments from well-meaning people who don’t quite know what to say.

So what do you say to someone who has just suffered a miscarriage or infant loss?  When you know someone who just lost a child, there’s always this burning need to say something in order to comfort them. But a lot of times, even if you mean well, the words just don’t come out right. My husband and I have heard many while we were grieving, and I’d like to spare some poor couple in the future from the additional pain and sorrow that these supposedly “words of comfort” bring. Today, in observance of Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day, I want to share with you the top five things I personally heard that a miscarriage/infant loss survivor does not want to hear from you:

#1: “Well, it wasn’t like you were really planning on having a baby.”

Yes, maybe not. But regardless of whether it was planned or not, I always think of babies as a wonderful blessing, and you saying that just adds to the guilt I already have, like I lost the baby because he or she wasn’t part of my 20 year plan.

#2: “At least you lost it early on, while it’s still not a real baby.”

I lost my babies on my 9th and 11th week respectively. It really is irrelevant how long I’ve had them, they were still my babies. DH and I were actually ready with names, whether they turned out to be boys or girls. So please don’t minimize that fact by insinuating that what I just lost were blobs.

#3: ” You already have children, maybe you should just be content with them…”

Having other children does not lessen the pain of losing one. I found this quote which I think could not have been better said.

lost child

#4: “Are you in pain? Do you need more painkillers?”

I know you’re probably concerned about my physical well-being and want to make sure I’m comfortable. But believe me, “in pain” is an understatement for what I’m going through. I actually wished for pain so severe that would eclipse what I’m feeling inside. Every part of me aches, and no amount of painkillers can make it better.

pain

#5: “You can try again for another one.”

I just lost a baby, and right now the last thing on my mind is “trying for another one”. Please let me be in this moment to grieve the life of the child that I just lost and will never know.

wonder

What then, do you say or do? Do acknowledge their pain and grief. Do understand that at this time, tears are cathartic. Do offer to stay and listen or maybe hold their hand. And when you feel you can’t find the right words, a simple “I am here for you” is enough. I know I would have appreciated that ♥♥♥

 Irrelevant

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