What Not To Say

“Well thank goodness it was early on in the pregnancy.”

“At least you know you can get pregnant!”

“Everything happens for a reason.”

“I’m sure it was for the best.”

“It just was not meant to be.”

“I’m sure next time will be fine!”

“Just relax. It will happen when it’s meant to happen.”

These are just some of the things that you really should not ever say to a woman who has experienced a miscarriage. While you mean well, and we do acknowledge that and appreciate it for what it is, these words are not helpful, constructive, and they do not make us feel better. Because I guarantee for each of these phrases, our thoughts will protest and struggle against them.

Here are some examples of how the post-miscarriage mind works:

“Well thank goodness it was early on in the pregnancy.”
Yes! Thank goodness, indeed. It’s not like I LOVED the little baby growing inside me as soon as I saw a positive test result, no. Thank goodness I didn’t get attached.

“At least you know you can get pregnant!”
Yes, right! Now all we need to worry about is staying pregnant. Phew! What a relief!

“Everything happens for a reason.”
Really? What’s the reason that this happened? Can you tell me, because I cannot figure it out. I’ve tried, but nothing happens.

“I’m sure it was for the best.”
Hm. Yes. Finding out that my baby was dead, and going through the physical pain of losing said baby was for the best. Thank GOD we didn’t have to go through the alternative. You know, nine months of bliss, the birth of our child, the happiness that followed.. That would have been just awful.

“It just was not meant to be.”
Why the hell not?

“I’m sure next time will be fine!”
Really? Because I’m not. What if next time is not fine? What if this happens again? How can you be so sure?

“Just relax. It will happen when it’s meant to happen.”
First off, don’t tell me to relax. You try relaxing during, and after a miscarriage, and see how well you do. Second, what if it’s never “meant” to happen? How is that fair?

So you see, while you may mean well in saying these things to us, they usually are not received as well as you may think. Sure we’ll smile, and we’ll nod and agree with you, but inside we are screaming these things to you. We don’t want your words of wisdom, or advice. We don’t want to know just how common miscarriages are while you tick off the names of women you know who have had them. In lieu of these phrases, you could try ones such as these:

“I heard about your miscarriage. I’m so sorry. How are you and your husband doing?”

“I’m so sorry to hear about your loss. If there is anything at all I/we can do for you, please don’t hesitate to ask.”

“I heard you lost the baby. You must be feeling very sad right now. Would you like to talk about anything?”

“I heard about what happened. I just wanted to let you know I’m sorry, and that this really sucks and you don’t deserve it at all.”

Sometimes, all we need is acknowledgement of our loss, and our pain. I think that a lot of the time a miscarriage is overlooked by many people as a loss that is not valid, because most of the time it happens to early in the pregnancy. For me, one of the most helpful things anyone ever offered me in response to my bad news was a simple, “Man. That sucks.”
Because you know what?

It does suck. A lot. When you are planning for, and anticipating a baby the moment you find our you are pregnant, you are in love. It doesn’t matter if you are pregnant for 3 weeks, 5 weeks, 7 weeks, or 18 weeks. You love your child immediately, and losing that child is traumatic. Not only do your emotions run wild, but your hormones do as well. You have to deal with the fact emotionally that your baby has died, and to top that all off, your body has to deal with it as well. Your pregnancy is supposed to be a time of joy, and of a shared love with your partner. There is, after all, a life growing inside of your body. While I was pregnant, I smiled. All the time. Every time I was at the store and passed a baby section, I would take my husband’s hand, and place my other on my belly, dreaming of what our baby would look like. Thinking of the things that I couldn’t wait to buy him, or her. Waiting anxiously for the days when people could tell I was pregnant, and I could buy all of those cute maternity shirts I had been eyeing.

I would dream of the day that I gave birth, and met my much anticipated little one. I would spend my lunch breaks thinking about what he or she would look like as a toddler, as a child; as a teenager. I dreamed of the endless possibilites that lay before my little baby…

And when you find out that you lose that baby, before you even got a chance to meet them, it hurts. It is like a little piece of your soul is ripped unexpectedly from your body. I never even officially found out if my little one was a boy, or a girl (though I had a feeling that he was a boy). Now, instead of marking off the days of how much longer I have before I meet my little one, I wistfully eye the calendar every Saturday and think, “20 weeks. You should be 20 weeks.”

I should be feeling my baby move inside of me. We would be finding out the gender soon, and be able to call our baby by the name we’d chosen. But none of those things are happening for us now. And that. Sucks.

There is always hope. I have happiness in my life, and I don’t dwell on my miscarriage every moment. But I do think about that little baby that I’ll never get to meet every single day of my life. I still get sad. I still count the weeks that pass that my belly remains the same size instead of swelling. I am back at square one of hoping, wishing, and wanting for my baby. I love my children so much already, and I have not even met them yet. And I am not the only woman out there who feels like this. Chances are that girl you know from work, your sister or your aunt, even your mother, have all felt the same way. A woman who loses their baby before they get to meet them has a special kind of pain. It is a pain that, unless you have experienced it, you cannot understand.

So thank you for trying, really. We do know that people often fall short of what they want to say when faced with someone who has just had a miscarriage. The best thing that you can do, honestly, is to just be there with an open ear, and a dry shoulder for us to cry on.

Because believe me, we’re going to need it.