This is a topic close to my heart, especially since I experienced two losses before having my Sugar Plum. It didn’t dawn on me to write a post regarding this issue until recently since someone really close to me, unfortunately, went into early labor, and had a stillbirth.
As a person who has gone through this, I know that well-meaning people, people who love you, will sometimes say things that they intend to make you feel better but actually have the opposite effect.
There were moments when I’ve cringed at the comments from people who unknowingly say the “wrong”, seemingly insensitive things during this sensitive time. After hearing about my friends loss, I remembered how I felt when it happened to me, and tried so hard to say the right things. The best thing I could offer was to be there for her if she needed someone to listen to her. Most importantly, if you know someone going through a loss, letting the person mourn, and understand that after the first few weeks, she may seem okay for a while, but the reality of her loss may hit her at the most unexpected moment.
People really do not understand the pain unless they’ve experienced it first-hand. I will share a little bit of what happens when a woman is going through a miscarriage – she is mourning over…
- the death of her child
- 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 and will always wonder if her child was a boy or a girl, she will not get to see her child’s personality develop or see her child achieve his/her dreams
- her empty womb – she may still feel all the symptoms of pregnancy, but her brain now knows that there is no baby in there. There is a void there.
- a sense of failure. I know when I miscarried I often beat myself up because I thought it was somehow my fault. I failed, my body failed, I was being punished for a past mistake, I shouldn’t have eaten this or drank that – all of these thoughts can easily play through any grieving mommy’s mind.
Here are things you should not say…
1. Never start with “Atleast…” – Saying anything like that comes off as you diminishing the loss. No matter what stage the pregnancy is in, from the moment a woman finds out she’s pregnant, bonding begins, and love for the child growing inside grows daily. You do not want to make the person experiencing the loss think that the pain she’s experiencing is somehow unreasonable or wrong.
2. Any sentence that implies that God caused the miscarriage. Common examples include, “It was God’s Will.”“Well, God’s plan is perfect,” or “I’m sure God had a reason for this.” Even if the grieving family eventually comes to a place where they can trace God’s hand through their time of loss, these comments falling on raw ears all sound like, “God killed your baby on purpose, and moreover, you should be thankful.”
3. Try to come up with why the miscarriage happened. One, you’re not a doctor. Two, it doesn’t help because all you’re going to do is make the person feel like it was their fault. As women, the burden is already on us because we are responsible for carrying, nurturing, and protecting the child the entire 9 months.
4. Refer to the baby as an embryo, fetus, or tissue. To the mom, she had a baby inside her, don’t be afraid to say baby. This will also help validate her need to mourn for somebody real.
5. You can always try again – 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 recent 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.
Other things that bothered me…
- Hearing about people who were due around the same time I would have been, and ended up having healthy babies.
- Seeing pregnant women.