Sometimes loss is sadly a part of pregnancy and it’s often a dark topic that nobody wants to talk about and you become a part of a secret society that no one wants to be in.
Around 1 in 4 known pregnancies end in miscarriage which means it’s still a pretty common occurrence.
When you think about it, every single baby that is born is a miracle. A fucking miracle. When you think of how many things fall into place to make that little person, it truly is incredible and a wonderful thing. And when the pieces don’t fall into place it can be a devastating experience for the people looking forward to that little person being a part of their lives.
Whenever I hear that someone has miscarried the first thing I think is “I’m so sorry for their loss”, the second thing I think is “I hope people don’t accidentally say stupid shit to them”. Things like:
It wasn’t meant to be. It doesn’t cut it when they are out of your shoe size and it sure as hell doesn’t cut it when you’ve lost a baby.
It was God’s plan. A few people may find comfort in this statement but most would be downright offended so I would never throw that one out there.
You can have more. They are mourning THAT baby not any baby. I’m sad when they forget my side of fries so can you imagine what it’s like when someone finds out they aren’t going to have a whole person in their lives anymore?
It was probably from all your _______ (stress, jumping, eating, breathing, etc). Even if she was shooting heroin in the Ultimate Fighter Championship cage how on earth does someone think it would be any comfort to anyone to blame her for her loss? It is shitty and they should expect to be put in a guillotine choke hold for throwing that one out there.
At least you have your other children. So if someone has three children, they’d be willing to ditch one or two? Or how about, “Don’t worry that your arm and ear is missing because you have extra ones.”? Nope, not a good thing to say.
This isn’t bad, so-and-so had three miscarriages. Anything crappy can more than likely be trumped by someone else’s crappy but it doesn’t make the person feel better it just makes them feel like they aren’t entitled to feeling bad. They are.
You need to ________ (get on with your life, concentrate on the children you already have, whittle wooden whistles, etc). It’s one thing to suggest things that might get the loss off their mind but it’s another thing to tell them how to mourn. Some people hold it all in. Some people bawl and want to talk about it. Some people want to crawl in bed and feel like shit. None of them are wrong.
At least you weren’t that far along. If I won the lottery, I would have it mentally spent in about 20 minutes. These couples have had weeks, if not months, to think about a baby that isn’t going to happen now. Saying something like that is just undermining their loss.
When it all comes down to it, I know that people say these things because they are trying to make the person feel better and they don’t mean to be hurtful. On the flip side, people who avoid someone who has miscarried because they’re afraid to step in it, aren’t being helpful either.
I truly think one of the best things anyone can do when they find out someone has lost a baby is to listen. You can hear how they are grieving and see if there is any way to help them, then help.
Some of the things that I think would be better to say and do:
- I’m so sorry for your loss.
- I had a miscarriage too. Let me know if you ever want to talk about it.
- I don’t know what to say but I’m here for you and I want to help.
- Do you want to talk about it?
- Offer to help with housework, babysitting, meals, etc.
- Call and check in because the pain doesn’t go away in a couple days.
If all else fails, stick it in a card if you’re too worried you’re going panic and put your foot in your mouth. Bodily also makes a beautiful Care For Miscarriage Box that is very tasteful. The whole point is to let the person know that they are being thought of and that they aren’t alone.
As for all you pregnant ladies, I can’t tell you not to worry because you probably will anyway but I can tell you that in researching this site, I’m finding there isn’t a heck of a lot you can do to change the outcome of a pregnancy — most of the no-nos just “turn the screws” a little one way or the other. Sometimes they stick and sometimes they don’t, and it’s shitty when they don’t.
There is nothing we can do to guarantee we all get a healthy baby so that is all the more reason to rejoice when we do get one of those screaming, pooing, hungry little miracles.