As I looked at the week ahead and the dates printed on my wall calendar, I couldn’t help but realize that I would have been halfway through my pregnancy by now. 20 weeks. It dawned on me that its the middle of April and when I first got pregnant, I said to Brian, “You know, by the middle of April we will know if we will welcome a son or a daughter into the world!” You could say I had a moment there at my wall calendar this morning. No tears, but just a moment of reflection. I talk about my miscarriage quite often, especially since many people like to ask me questions such as, “Are you done having kids?” or “Are you going to try again for another?” I’m not shy about sharing my story. My miscarriage is apart of who I am now and its something I will most likely always talk about with women until well… forever. Through my conversations though, many people like to offer up their reasons why or they like to comment on miscarriage thinking that they are being helpful & saying the right thing; when in fact, what they are saying can be really hurtful. I’m writing this post so that people will know what NOT to say to someone going through a miscarriage.
Please keep in mind that what I’m sharing below was not all told to me during my miscarriage. Some, yes, others, no. Some are from things I remember reading elsewhere and others are from what women who have gone through a miscarriage have told me.
WHAT NOT TO SAY…
“This just isn’t the right time.” The right time for who? I’m pretty sure the person experiencing a miscarriage was positive it was the right time for them.
“The fun part is trying and now you can just try again!” They don’t want to try again. They already ‘had fun trying’ for X amount of months and don’t want to start at the beginning again. They want to be pregnant and right now, they want/need their loss to be acknowledged. Not to mention, they most likely aren’t thinking of another baby while going through a miscarriage.
“Be grateful for the ones you have.” First of all, this has nothing to do with being ungrateful for what a woman already has. And research shows that women who have living children grieve a miscarriage more deeply because they’ve experienced pregnancy, child-birth and life with their flesh and blood child. And now, going through a miscarriage makes them realize 1st hand what is leaving them.
“At least it happened early on.” Hmmm. I dare you. Type miscarriage in Google and click ‘images’… Look at what a baby looks like at such an ‘early’ stage of pregnancy. No matter how early it is, it still matters and it hurts both physically and emotionally. One of the things I said in my post when I told my story was, “My positive pregnancy test instantly became our 3rd child.” Think about that when justifying the date a miscarriage occurred.
“Just think, now you have a little one waiting for you in Heaven.” They don’t want a child in Heaven. They want a baby in their belly to carry and one day birth. They want the child they conceived to join their life.
“You’re young & have plenty of time.” Though it may be true, don’t forget that the person was anticipating the birth of this child.
“God only gives us what we can handle. Maybe he knew you just couldn’t handle another one right now.” If you don’t know the person on a deep & personal level, don’t bring religion into miscarriage. It can cause a lot of confusion and anger and their beliefs are most likely different than yours.
And lastly: Not saying anything at all is just as bad as the above comments. My advice is to at least check in on the person. There are so many ways to communicate now-a-days: text message, voice-mail, e-mail, face-book, the list goes on and on. Even if they don’t answer or respond, say to them: “I want you to know I’m thinking of you.” (and if you pray, “I’m praying for you.”) The many people in my life who checked in on me helped me realize that I was not alone during that time. Even though I wanted to be alone, I loved when I would get a text message, private FB message, card, e-mail, etc… Its true what they say, You really know who your true friends are when you go through a hard time.
I’m thankful for my friends and family. I’m thankful they acknowledged what was going on with me and not making light of a horrible situation. I’m thankful they lended their shoulders and ears when I needed it and just listened.
Here are 3 Simple Things you can say to someone who is having a Miscarriage:
“I’m sorry for your loss.”
“I’m here for you.”
“Is there anything I can do to help you get through this time?”
I go back and forth with the last one. The advice I want to offer up is to just ACT in any way you can without asking. Send something/anything to let them know you are there. A meal, a snack, bread or muffins, a note… Just drop it off and leave. When you leave, text or e-mail them that there is something at their door. If none of those ideas works or you are incapable of using a kitchen, send a card. Send an e-mail and write one of those things above on it.
* I’ll leave you with this: This post is not about anyone in my life. They are just my thoughts today & I wanted to share them with you. I’ve had friends in the past who have gone through a miscarriage and I wish I would have read something like this back then. I believe I would have acted differently. Sent a meal, a card, checked in more frequently… Now I know and my hope is that you will remember this post if you are ever faced with this situation with someone you know. *