You want to comfort the grieving parents and not cause more pain, so never say these things after a miscarriage.
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After my miscarriage, I sought comfort from a Facebook support group. One thing that became incredibly obvious from the stories of ladies shared there is that people just don’t know what to say after a woman has a miscarriage. People want to offer a comforting word or piece of advice, but unless they have been there themselves, they seem to be at a loss.
I’m hoping this can be a simple PSA to help friends and family who want to offer love and support after a miscarriage. I was extremely blessed that I did not hear most of the “Not” list myself, but I heard a number of women in my support group mention them repeatedly.
I will start by saying that if you are not motivated to act in love and support, say nothing at all. I am hopeful that anyone reading this will be wanting to help rather than hurt their loved one who is experiencing this grief.
After a miscarriage or stillbirth, the couple grieves the loss of their baby. Much of the time, they are also grieving the loss of their dreams, aspirations for this child, plans, and so much more. Even if the baby didn’t seem like a “real person” to you, the couple may have had so many dreams and plans for that child. They will grieve the loss of their dream along with the loss of the child. Be patient as they grieve.
What You Should NEVER Say
1. It was meant to be.
I disagree. It was not meant to be. However, even women who agree with this sentiment, don’t find it to be comforting or helpful.
2. I understand.
Unless you have had a miscarriage, don’t claim to understand. Even if you have had a miscarriage, you still might not fully understand because every experience is unique.
3. Get over it.
Everyone will eventually find their new normal after their grief. This phrase won’t make it come any faster. It will likely make things worse.
4. At least you can try again.
First, not every couple can try again. After many losses (some you may not know about), some couples may not want to try again…EVER. Second, you cannot replace one baby with another baby any more than you can replace your mother with another.
5. Everything happens for a reason.
This goes back to “It was meant to be.” For the same reasons, this just isn’t as helpful as it is meant to be.
6. God needed another angel.
I don’t believe that people become angels after death. I believe that people’s spirits live after death, but not as angels. Angels are separate beings. Even mothers who do believe that people become angels, don’t necessarily find comfort in this.
7. Your baby would have had special needs. (This is usually not phrased so nicely.)
Lots of children are born with special needs. Many individuals with special needs lead long and happy lives.
8. You were too (young/old/poor/busy/uneducated…) for a baby anyway.
Do I really need to explain why this is more hurtful than helpful? I hope not.
9. Don’t say anything that you wouldn’t say after the death of a spouse or parent.
This is a good filter to use.
What You Should Say Instead
No, “What Not To Say” list is complete without offering a list of phrases that are consistently considered to be comforting. These are phrases that brought me comfort and have brought comfort to many other couples experiencing loss.
1. I’m sorry for your loss.
This is the go-to phrase. If you have nothing else to say, just say, “I’m sorry for your loss.”
2. I’m here for you if you need me.
I might throw in, “I’m here for you even if you don’t need me.” Or, “We can sit together in silence if that’s what you need.” Ask them what you can do for them. Don’t be surprised if they don’t know.
3. When you’re ready, I’d love to hear about your baby.
Much of the time, parents are robbed of that moment of boasting about the length and weight of their baby. My Wyatt, who I miscarried at 16 weeks gestation, was 3-3/4 inches long. After giving birth to my sleeping baby, he looked like a cross between an alien and a Polly Pocket doll. I don’t think I actually told anyone that because no one seemed to want to know. Most of us want to share whatever few stories we have of our babies with others. It’s all we have left.
I hope you have found this to be helpful!
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