Having a miscarriage is an awful experience and I have found everyone to be so supportive and kind. However there have been a few things said to me with the best of intentions but they have ripped at me. So I am just going to put that out here.
It is important to remember that miscarriage is loss and there is a certain etiquette when it comes to loss. Here are some things that were said to me that I feel would be best left unsaid.
Things Not To Say To Someone That Had A Miscarriage
You didn’t want another baby so it is for the best.
Yes I had my tubes cut when my son was born and yes we didn’t want another baby – that is true. BUT we did fall pregnant, life did start in me. And that was taken from me. That was my baby, and when I found out it was there I wanted it with all my being. Both my children were surprises, that doesn’t mean I love them any less. When I found out I was pregnant with them I wanted them with all my being, just like with this pregnancy.
You are still young enough to have another baby.
I don’t want another baby, I never did. But when I found out that I was pregnant I wanted it. I wanted THAT baby, I don’t want another one. It can’t be replaced and I don’t want it to.
Don’t worry it wasn’t a baby yet, it was just a fetus.
When you find out someone is pregnant even if it is just 4 weeks they are “having a baby” yet suddenly I have lost “a fetus”. I’ve never met a pregnant women talking about “my fetus” – she always says “my baby”.
I know you are trying to make me feel better, but saying my baby had not developed yet is not helping me. I should have had a baby, not an operation to remove “a fetus” and one of my tubes. I lost my baby, you can say it. I lost my baby and I feel so sad.
It’s just as well, a new baby would have set you back financially.
Yes that is true, babies are expensive and having a third child would have been a huge expense. Babies also bring light and love into your family, a baby is a gift. I’m not thinking of the fortune I am saving by losing my baby, I am just sad.
Death and loss always is uncomfortable and painful. A simple sentence will do when it comes to miscarriage – I am sorry for your loss.
What things have been said to you about your miscarriage that cut through you?
When it came to my situation everybody was so considerate and compassionate except my mother in law.
I had a miscarriage at 4 months into my pregnancy, there was a lot of complications in my pregnancy that I was not even aware of until it was too late.
I won’t say that the following could be an exact reason as there are no factual evidence to support what I have been told by the doctors and nurses when I had the miscarriage. It was said to me that my body did not accept the baby (foetus) and disregarded it, there was a further complication with my husband and my blood types that possibly could have triggered the miscarriage itself. Apparently my body recognised my baby as a foreign object.
We had lunch at my in-law’s place a week after I had been discharged, I can’t recall exactly what the argument was about between my mother in law and my husband, but she ended up saying, “that is why god has taken your child away”. The table was so silent, all I remember is walking out from the dining room and straight to the car, I didn’t even wait for my husband, just drove myself straight home.
I have to admit a miscarriage is tough and also has a huge impact on relationships, my husband and I have experienced a lot of arguments during that phase in our life, it did make our bond even more stronger at the end.
It was the saddest moment of my life. ☹
I am so sorry to hear about your miscarriage, I am sure it must have been devastating at 4 months! I am also so sorry to hear about your experience with your mother in law. I think often people want to find a reason for why something bad happens, an explanation, something to blame. Maybe that was the case with your mother in law, but it doesn’t change how painful and hurtful it is when someone says something like that.
I hope you are finding some sort of peace. I agree with you, my miscarriage was also hands down the saddest and most painful thing to happen to me.
After my son was born it took me some time to get myself together, and allow my mother in law to spend time with him.
I personally felt that she wasn’t happy for our pregnancy and didn’t want us to be so fortunate to have a baby. She really disliked me.
That has now passed and my son was my rainbow baby.
A miscarriage is no less than a family member passing away and deserves to be mourned completely.
Losing a baby must be heart wrenching, because the moment you find out you are/were pregnant, you immediately think of another life that was growing inside your body, a little person.
I didn’t think about JD as a fetus ever, like you said, it’s your baby. It is a little human being that was conceived by you and your husband.
I was so scared that anything will go wrong with my pregnancy because I was 37 when I fell pregnant.
Being over 35 and over weight is not ideal and can cause complications that you don’t normally experience when pregnant.
A good friend of mine found out that she was going to become a granny last year. She was so ecstatic about the news.
Five months into the pregnancy her daughter had pre-eclampsia which developed into HELLP syndrome.
As a result she lost the baby and she almost died herself.
When my friend told me what happened I was so sad for them. I couldn’t find the right words to express to her how sorry I was for their loss. I didn’t speak to her daughter about what she went through because I know she was hurting. I just spoke to her Mom (my friend) and gave her my sincere condolences and offered my help if she needs anything even if it was just a shoulder to cry on.
Some people has no filter or tact and can say the rudest things without even realizing it.
Like you said, it’s better to rather say nothing instead of saying something stupid that will hurt that person.
Especially when it comes to something as precious as a baby. It’s not an object that this person lost. It’s a human being.
Even when people’s pets pass away, I just offer my condolences and mention how sorry I am for their loss and leave it at that.
Because no words can really console that person at the time. But it will mean a lot to them to know that you are thinking of them and acknowledge the sadness and loss that they are experiencing.
@loupie, I completely agree with you, what feels like common sense to me of what should or should not be said, for others this task seems a bit difficult. I would guess that most people who say these four things are not parents themselves perhaps and therefore do not understand. Whether you are four weeks pregnant or 40 weeks pregnant, a loss is a loss. I have a friend who has in total had 5 miscarriages AND NOT ONCE have I ever felt the need to say one of those 4 things. Each time my heart broke her. The good news is that they have finally found what the issue is and she is now on medication so they next time they try all should go well.
@lynne, no one should ever have to go through this, the shock, the excitement and then the devastation. all with in 30 minutes. The fact that you can blog and share your heartache all the while bringing moms from all walks of life together is truly inspirational. xx
Well said @tamara737 ♥
Some people are just clueless and inconsiderate.
Consideration and empathy with another person’s situation or circumstances is unfortunately not something you can teach a person, neither is common sense.
I think once you experience loss or heartache yourself, it helps you to feel empathy for another human being.
I got some of these, an hour or so after my d and c i got a luckily it was just at embryo stage. That was n not comforting to me at all. I already thought of it as my baby. And thought about names and the future. To me it was still devastating. Some people acting like it wasnt a big deal and that i should have bene over it after a week. I’m sorry to all the women here who have also gone through it. ❤️
I am so sorry for your loss @km2212 🙁 That must have been so painful for you. I’m still struggling after 2 months when I get some of those types of comments!
I am so sorry for your loss as well. It is one of the most painful things to go through. This topic doesnt get talked about enough i think. Everyone thinks that i am over it by now. They dont know that is still get very sad sometimes. And also last week would have been my due date. One minute am fine then the next it hits me. Its nice that we have this platform to speak to each other about this.
@ron03 I know its weeks later but I only now read your comment. I am shocked. Dumbstruck. I admire you for moving beyond the situation and still having a relationship with this woman. I don’t think I would have been able to move around this. In fact I know I would always harbor resentment.
My son had severe colic as a baby. Turns out it was never colic but an undiagnosed neck and back injury. So he never ever stopped screaming as he was in agony for the first year of life. This resulted in us postponeing his baptism. My husband’s grandmother then made the comment that God gave us a gift and he will take it away if we dont baptise the child.
My son is now 3 and I still resent her for pronouncing death over my baby. I still feel she is malicious for saying my baby will be taken away and that he will die. Where on earth does these evil woman come from? Because to me not showing compassion is evil. Not acknowledging that life is wrong.
Angel babies deserve to be remembered and loved.
@anrivisser I would like to believe that whatever happens happen for a reason, albeit good or bad. But there definitely should be a line to be drawn with regard to people voicing their opinions at times like that.
It is strange enough that the people close to us are the ones that have the nastiest of statements. These statements end up like a stain on our memory that can never be removed.
I don’t believe in holding grudges against anybody, life is far too short.
One thing everybody should always remember there is a vast difference between forgiving and forgetting, one may forgive but don’t ever forget your lesson learned.
I am sorry about your loss, Lynne. I have had two miscarriages and a suspected third miscarriage, and I was heartbroken. One of the worst comments was being told, “Aren’t you blessed? You have a little angel in heaven.” I didn’t want a little angel in heaven. I wanted to hold my baby in my arms.
A doctor said that my baby was just tissue – he meant well, but that was my baby, not just a mass of cells. I also found that just the medical terminology used was upsetting. I had two D and Cs and the hospital used the term “product of conception” to refer to my baby. The medical aid rep kept on referring to my “blighted ovum.” I understand these are medical terms, but medical terms are created by people, and I believe they need to be changed to reflect sensitivity to the great sense of loss that one feels when one loses a part of oneself along with all the accompanying hopes and dreams.
I can emphathise with this – having miscarried myself- doctors , Gynaes and nurses seem so removed and cold when explaining to you that the life you once carried and the hopes you had are no more. I understand that it’s their jobs and they go through this everyday but in my opinion that should make their more empathic and caring and less detached.
Shoo, Lynne. You made me want to cry with this post. I feel for you and your loss.
It’s true that people can say the most inane things sometimes in an attempt to make you feel better.
I had two miscarriages before I had my gorgeous son. The first one was 7 weeks in, when the gynae discovered my baby didn’t have a heartbeat. Interestingly, I got over this one quite quickly and easily because I did a brilliant session with a friend who is a white Sangoma and she helped me come to terms with it.
The second miscarriage was only 3 weeks in. Most people wouldn’t have even known they were pregnant already but I knew I at 2 weeks and my Doctor confirmed I was pregnant. I was out seeing clients (I was a Sales Exec at the time) and I suddenly had the heaviest, most painful period. I knew I was losing my baby and I just fell apart.
Sjoe, I am only reading this a year ++ down the line! I feel for all you beautiful ladies.. I had a miscarriage 3 years ago, early stage but it BROKE me… Whilst I had a wonderful amount of support and love I also had a few things said that I wish I never had to hear. We weren’t planning another baby but still.
“You didn’t want another one so why are you upset?” Ummmm, ya that might be the case but that changed when I found out.
“You couldn’t afford another child.” – this may be true but hey, who gets to make that decision for me?
“You should lose some weight before trying again” – %&ck off
“You were lucky it was still in early pregnancy” Ummm, how is it lucky?
“It was just not meant to be.” Ummm, again, why give me something so precious and then rip it away?
These just to name a few things. But since then, I have had a rainbow baby and my first is finally a big sister. Much love to all you mommy’s and mommy’s to angels.
Jackie I am so sorry for your loss, like you mine wasn’t planned – in fact I was supposed to be sterilized. That doesn’t mean there was no loss for me, or for you either. It has now been over a year since it happened and I still get teary every time I think of it. And I still think about it nearly every day. Congrats on your rainbow baby, that is amazing.
I’m sorry you also had to experience some insensitive comments. I know a lot of people that made those types of comments were trying to make me feel better, but geez they stung. I can’t believe someone made a comment about your weight. That one has to take first prize for things not to say.
Thanks for sharing your thoughts and feelings on my blog. I really think that so many women suffer alone with their feelings.
That’s a bit harsh when people are just trying to help?
I’m so sorry for your loss. This is very insightful and I will follow these guidelines if ever I’m faced with someone that has had a miscarriage. I would think it is really hard for some people to know what to say and then they put their foot in it.
I had 3 miscarriages and the things some people have said to me really caused a lot of additional pain.
I’m so sorry for your losses Judy 🙁
I can relate to this. Having had 2 miscarriages people tend to say things that they think is encouraging or making you feel better.
I’m so sorry for your losses Thuliswa, to have to go through that twice… I just can’t imagine!
I’m terribly sorry to hear about the loss of your baby Lynne.? I wish that I could hug every mother who has gone through this. I was told for years that I would never fall pregnant due to my endometriosis. Just two months after getting married, I fell pregnant. And just after finding out, I lost my baby. Thankfully, I fell pregnant with a healthy baby boy. Then only a few short months after the birth of our son, I fell pregnant again. This time through the pill… Although it was the last thing that I expected, my husband and I were excited… My family kept on telling me “you won’t be able to do it. Your son is too young. Why don’t you go for an abortion and just focus on your baby”. I was furious. Then came the hurt when we went for our 13 week scan and they told us that there was no heartbeat. I cried for weeks on end. Despite what I was feeling, I had to hear “it’s for the best, you’ll get over it” from the people who I expected to be my support system… We don’t know what the next person is going through. Age, height, weight, race – none of it matters. We are all human, and we all hurt. I just wish that people would be more considerate and mindful of their words towards others.
Nicole I am so sorry to hear of your losses, how painful to have to have to go through losing two babies. I know people are just trying to be helpful with these types of comments but it really is so insensitive and painful for a women that has just lost a baby to hear.
I’m so glad you have your healthy baby boy, I’m sure he is a great source of strength for you. My children were so much comfort for me, even though they didn’t know I had lost a baby, I could cuddle them and hold them close.
Such a sad topic indeed. I’m always lost for words when speaking to someone who had a miscarriage because it is such a painful topic but this article really helps with what not to say thanks lynne
No words could ever be able to sooth a mother that lost her baby