When someone close to you has a miscarriage, it can be very uncomfortable to talk about. Something so personal and devastating has happened but you aren’t quite sure what to say. Although it is very common, unless you have experienced the immense pain of losing your baby, it is impossible to understand.
You might be worried you will say the wrong thing, so it’s important to know there are ways you can avoid hurting someone who’s had a miscarriage.
During my fertility journey, I had four miscarriages in 3 years. Four babies that I dreamed of loving, caring for, and holding in my arms. Each time I lost a baby, it was the most gut wrenching experience. It’s so painful that it’s almost impossible to actually describe in words.
I was so fortunate to have many extremely supportive friends. Friends who truly understood the pain I felt. I am forever grateful to those who are able and capable of showing that level of compassion. Friends who were able to share their own losses with me and help decrease the loneliness.
There were also people who were not sure what to say but wanted to at least say something. I know that no one intentionally means to say something insensitive. It can be so hard to know the right thing to do or say, I absolutely understand that. That is why I would love to help you avoid hurting someone who’s had a miscarriage.
(You might also be interested in 10 Meaningful Ways to Support a Friend After Miscarriage)
What Not to Say to Someone Who’s Had a Miscarriage
This might seem like a way to help someone who miscarried feel less alone, like “it happens to people all the time”. While that may be true, in fact, more than 500,000 miscarriage happen each year. This statement only makes her feel like she shouldn’t be upset. It implies she should just dust off her shoulders and move on-it happens.
Saying “it happens” completely devalues the life she carried and the pain she is experiencing. It can make her feel embarrassed for feeling like her world just collapsed. Saying a simple “I’m so sorry for your loss” is always an easy go to.
At least you can get pregnant.
Oh boy. This one hits a deep spot inside of me. This was said to me so many, many times. Having had 4 miscarriages, it was as if people thought it was a “lucky” thing that I was miscarrying, because “at least I could get pregnant.”
It is so important to realize that this statement insinuates that losing a baby is a positive thing. Whether you believe the “baby” is a baby doesn’t matter. To a woman who has miscarried, her baby was real and her world has just been shattered.
Just please, don’t say this statement.
How far along were you?
This seems very harmless. It’s just a simple question and is usually a go-to for people who really aren’t sure what to say. The statement itself is…harmless….but the implication behind the question is what makes it hurtful. Because the level of appropriate grief and pain is based on the number of weeks stated.
I always had to pause before answering this question. I wanted to ask-why? What does it matter? If I were two weeks or two months pregnant, I loved my baby the minute I had a positive test. I planned the next 50 years of my life based around this tiny baby and now my baby is gone.
That is all that matters. The love is there from the first minute, which means the pain is equally strong, no matter how many weeks or months she was pregnant.
At least you weren’t that far along.
Just as I stated above, there is an implication that having an early miscarriage is somehow more positive than having a late miscarriage. Losing a baby, at any stage in your pregnancy hurts emotionally, psychologically and many times physically. But what’s even more hurtful is when the baby or the mother’s grief is not acknowledged.
Having a miscarriage is already very isolating and implying that this was “not so bad” isolates her even more.
You need to just relax/stop stressing.
If only this were true! So many women could just take a bath and get a massage and poof-they would be pregnant and have a healthy pregnancy. This is also very well meaning, but it makes the woman feel as though she has done something wrong. It’s like saying-if she would stop stressing she would stay pregnant.
There is already an incredible amount of guilt with miscarriages. The very first thought is “did I do something wrong?” In most circumstances there is absolutely nothing she could have done to save her baby. Relaxing would not make a difference.
It will happen when it’s meant to be.
Again, this is another well-intended statement. Most people who say it think it is positive and that they’re telling the woman that there will be a right time and everything will fall into place. That might be true for some women. However, for a woman who has just miscarried, it can cause frustration and feelings of inadequacies.
She will wonder-Why wasn’t this baby meant to be for me? When is the right time going to happen for me?
Just remember she loved that baby more than anything and now she no longer has that dream. Providing comfort is so important right now.
What to do instead
I hope you have found some insight to how some of these statements can make a woman feel and you now have a better understanding of how to avoid hurting someone who’s had a miscarriage. The fact that you are reading this article shows you really care and want to help. There are many ways you can offer support and kindness to someone who’s miscarried.
The number one tip I share with my friends is to treat the loss as any other loss. Imagine losing the most important person in your life. What would make you feel better? You can also check out 10 Meaningful Ways to Support a Friend After Miscarriage for specific examples.
Do you have any more insight into how you can avoid hurting someone who’s had a miscarriage? I would love to hear from you in the comments below!