Thank you so much for your comments, DMs, emails, texts, all your words, your prayers, your support, and your love during my healing process. It hurts yet oddly comforts to hear that so many women can relate to my loss. I am surrounded by a network of caring people and am so lucky to have you all – both in real life and through this series of tubes.
My loss does not compare to others’ losses. However I found certain things said to me (not you wonderful readers! you are so understanding!), intended to soothe, sometimes stung more than comforted. In trying to console, instead I heard rationalizations.
Women potentially hide their experience from the pain, out of “privacy”, or in fear of others’ reactions. I wrote the following because women who want to speak up about miscarriage, need to speak up and hear certain words over others.
Maybe not everyone turns to the internet for a tutorial of how to talk with a friend enduring a miscarriage, but in the event someone does I hope they find this, read it, and take it to heart.
The least comforting things to hear during a miscarriage:
1. It wasn’t meant to be/You wouldn’t have wanted this pregnancy.
Unless you are a higher being, I question how you know this pregnancy was not intended to happen. Perhaps you are referring to a chromosomal or genetic abnormality which my body found in the embryo? If so, while it might be true that a healthy pregnancy is “better” than one with impending problems, I did want this pregnancy. I did want to be pregnant, carry, and deliver and now I am not.
2. Better that it happened now rather than later.
Who are you to qualify my loss? Any loss is hard, no matter at 8 weeks or 8 months during pregnancy or postpartum. Loss is hard; it doesn’t matter when it happens.
3. It’s actually pretty common. 1 in 3!
There’s nothing I love more than being a statistic and pushing aside my feelings. Also, I hate to think that there are others who feel this pain.
4. At least you know you can get pregnant.
Yes, I did conceive, but it did not turn into full-term baby. Conception is only one step in the process. There is no way of knowing if I will actually conceive again. There is no way of knowing if my body is the culprit or if the embryo had genetic abnormalities (unless you have a D&C with pathology report – which may or may not happen depending on the scenario). Saying I can get pregnant again is little comfort when this loss is overwhelming.
5. You’ll try again!
You do not know my personal situation. You do not know if or when we plan to try again. It actually hurts more to think of “trying again” when I have a great loss surrounding me now. It is also overwhelmingly scary to think of trying again and potentially going through this again.
6. My friend/aunt/sister/mom/cousin had [enter number of miscarriages here] and went on to have [enter number of children here].
You mean I get to go through this ALL OVER AGAIN? Fun! Does it get easier each time? I’m happy for your friend/aunt/sister/mom/cousin but they are not me. (Note: I did find comfort in hearing personal stories of understanding or success straight from that individual, as opposed to retelling of another person’s experience.)
7. Now is not your time.
As if I didn’t already realize that, now I have someone who is not a part of this situation trying to tell me something I already know. I wanted this to be my time. Knowing it is not my time makes me hurt more.
8. How can you still have symptoms if you’re not pregnant anymore?
Until your body stops reacting to the embryo inside, many women still experience morning sickness, gas, bloating, heightened sense of smell, heightened emotions, and other lovely pregnancy symptoms. Only after the body has fully processed the pregnancy ending will it then act like it is not pregnant. So let me act like I feel because it’s torturous to be “a little bit pregnant” and have nothing to show for it.
9. I didn’t know you were pregnant! Why didn’t you tell me?
You’re focusing on the wrong end of the story here. I didn’t tell you yet because of that darn 1 in 3 chance of this happening and now look where I am.
10. I know you may not want to hear this, but….
Take any of the above items or add your own, but chances are you’re right – I do not want to, nor need to hear whatever it is you think might be good to say. Don’t say it unless it is the nicest, most understanding thing to say.
Helpful things to say to a woman (and her partner) experiencing a miscarriage:
1. I’m so sorry.
2. Your pain and sadness is real. It is ok to feel what you are feeling.
3. You are beautiful.
4. How can I help? Can I bring you dinner? Please reach out at any time.
5. I hate seeing you in pain.
6. Please take time to heal. Be kind to yourself. Go easy on yourself.
7. I love you.
8. What you are going through must not be easy.
9. You are strong, and it is ok to feel weak.
10. I cannot pretend to know what you are going through. OR I have been through miscarriages and I know they are so hard. Please know you I am here for you.
Again, thank you for your words. I’m getting there.
(Disclaimer: the “least comforting words” listed first are personally what I found to be the best intended, yet for me not the easiest to hear. Others might appreciate the things I did not. All this to say, tread softly when someone is mourning.)