Wednesday, April 16, 2014

What Not to Say When a Friend has a Miscarriage

I've had some pretty insensitive things said to me when I've opened up about my miscarriages to friends, family, and church acquaintances. Here they are, with explanations attached! Hopefully this can help you connect to a friend who is or has gone through a miscarriage.

Don't worry, I'm sure you're be pregnant again soon!  

This actually causes me a lot of anxiety. I am suddenly hit with the realization that I will have other babies to worry about, other babies that might die. This statement actually caused me to panic. Also, I'm grieving for this child. If your grandmother died, I wouldn't try to make you feel better by telling you not to worry, you'll have another grandmother one day, would I? 

Are you sure you were pregnant? 

Yes. I'm very sure. You go to the emergency room when you are having a miscarriage, or to a birthing center if you are beyond the first trimester to, well, have a stillbirth. The doctor checks your blood levels as well, when you are admitted. Usually you have already had a doctors appointment verifying your pregnancy at some point before the miscarriage. Honestly, I don't understand this question when people ask it.  

Wow. That's my worst fear ever. 

Great. I'm living your worst fear. That totally helps me deal with this in a rational manner. Please excuse me while I go sob uncontrollably into a pillow.
Did you drink when you were pregnant? 

Why don't you find something more productive to ask, like helping me grieve? If you are not my doctor, you do not need to know what I did/did not put into my mouth during my pregnancy.

Aww, don't worry, it wasn't even alive yet!  

I understand that everyone has a different idea for when life starts, but besides that, this statement just drives me nuts. It makes me feel silly and stupid for grieving, like my sorrow and sadness are trivial and do not matter. Even if you think life starts at a different time then at conception, realize that to me this baby was a potential life, a life that was wanted, dreamed about and greatly anticipated. Now it will never be and it's perfectly reasonable to grieve over the loss.   

Did you know ______ can cause a miscarriage?

Yes I am aware that there is a mile long list of items that you are not supposed to eat when pregnant. And yes, it is none of your business trying to pinpoint what items I may have consumed, or even if they might have affected me in any negative ways. Also, asking if I exercised or rode a motorcycle also does not apply.

I know that most these questions come from individuals with good hearts that are just trying to help, or that people are just curious, but to be honest these statements mostly bewilder me! What do you think? Also, I'm not trying to point figures at anyone--I know it can be hard to think of something to say! I've never had an online friend say any of the above, but in real life I guess people can be more judgmental!


Charlotte said...

Wow. Just wow. I understand it's hard to know what to say in these cases, but come on. At least think for a few seconds before you speak! I'm sorry you had to deal with these intrusive, awkward questions.

blavender said...

It might sound weird, but what brought me comfort when I thought I was miscarrying was something my midwife said that others might find a little morbid:

She told me that if I was miscarrying there was absolutely nothing I did, or could do, to cause OR prevent it. Yes, there is a lengthy list of things you are not supposed to do while pregnant, but it's incredibly unlikely that anything I did could/would turn a viable pregnancy into one that was not viable (most of those things are a risk to the MOTHER'S health first). When miscarriages happen it's because there was a problem from the very beginning, not because I sipped some alcohol a few weeks in before I knew I was pregnant (I didn't, but you see my/her point).

It sounds odd, but I found comfort in knowing that if something did go wrong then it was probably always going to turn out that way.

My pet peeve miscarriage comfort phrase is "God needed another angel in Heaven." Ugh. 1) People do not become angels. THEO 101. 2) It implies that God is both needy and selfish.

Kaitlyn Wifey said...

I'm sorry you've had so many insensitive things said to you. I know where you are coming from and I don't think people understand how it feels until they go through it. The worst was people telling me that it was a "real pregnancy" or that the baby wasn't alive - just a blob. It's just added pain to an already horrible situation. xoxo

Belle Vierge said...

I feel as though it must be twice as hard to deal with something difficult when people around you make it worse.

I really admire you for opening up with your journey and being honest and vulnerable with your readers. I can't imagine what miscarriage is like, but I really appreciate that you're taking your time to share your story with your readers. I hope this post is a gentle reminder to people to offer love and prayers, not commentary, when someone suffers a loss.

Tori Bragg said...

I'm so sorry people are that insensitive! I just don't understand how people say can say things like that and think it's going to help. I can only imagine what you're going through, but if you ever need to talk or need anything at all, just let me know! I'm praying for you every day :)

I don't think I mentioned this to you before, but my mom's first pregnancy was a miscarriage, too. The story has only been brought up a handful of times in my life, but in the end, we always talked about how we would get to meet that baby in heaven one day. It's so awesome to know that when we die, my mom and dad will finally get to meet their first child, and my sisters and I will get to meet our older brother or sister (which is really cool for me, because I grew up the oldest child and always wondered what it would be like to have an older sibling). While it's very sad that my family never got to meet that person in this life (and a perfectly justified thing to be sad about!), it's also exciting to remember that we WILL meet them one day, and that you'll get to meet those three precious souls!! And until you do, God is taking good care of them for you :)

Carolynn said...

I totally understand. It can be super frustrating and I'm so sorry!