• Fri, Dec 9 2011

Top 5 Things Not To Say To Someone Who Has Had A Miscarriage

miscarriageNews of Michelle Duggar‘s miscarriage has made its round on the interwebs, and people’s reactions have ranged from kind (“I’m so sorry for your loss”) to downright mean (“I’d say after 19 kids you have #toodamnmany”).

Duggar just happens to be a mom of 19 children, but this whole thing got me thinking about miscarriages in general, and so how few people know the appropriate thing to say after a friend or family member has suffered  one. According to experts and, more significantly, women who have experienced a miscarriage, the right thing to say is something simple along the lines of, “I’m sorry for your loss,” or “I love you and I’m here for you.” Nothing more, nothing less.

But, despite our best intentions, we often say the wrong thing, which helps no one. Here’s our roundup of the top 5 things not to say to someone who has had a miscarriage.

(Photo: Piotr Marcinski/Shutterstock)

 

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  • suzanne

    I got most of these when I had a miscarriage. I also got people who said, “It is better this way because there was something wrong with the baby.” Not the right thing to say!!

    I hope this keeps others from making these same mistakes.

  • Steph

    I love this. Also? When people are trying for baby #2 and can’t get pregnant it gets even worse. A girl I know who’s young is TTC #1 and miscarried and it was awful because it was early on and she made the mistake of telling family and one of the family members being very young posted to FB about the pregnancy which then led to her posting about the miscarriage which could have been held much closer to home and not been made nearly as painful. The things people said to her along these lines just infuriated me because I had been there. She’s the daughter of my mom’s best friend and now she is struggling to get pregnant a 2nd time, probably due to stress and all I can do is sit back and tell my mom to not say anything to her other than “I’m here and I love you” because anything more in either situation is just not helpful. I told her to pass that on to her friend as well and to have the daughter call me anytime because I have been there plus some. People often, often, try to be helpful and think they are and they really do mean well and I had to remind myself of that A LOT when TTC #2 which never did happen, but I do have my 2nd angel through adoption. Thank you for writing this!!

  • mgee

    Gah, people are idiots.

  • C_03

    The worst for me was “We make plans and God laughs” Really God is laughing at me because when I got pregnant I started planning and daydreaming about my baby. And this close relative never goes to church and isn’t religious, so how can she presume to know what God thinks is funny.
    Also a pro-life family member asked me about the miscarriage, then in the same sentence went into an abortion rant. Really???

    • Calie

      I just need to express sympathy for you cause that is horrid…

  • SLB

    I got the “it was God’s plan” before. My response: Don’t tell me it was “God’s plan.” That just makes me think you’re both assholes. But don’t worry, I’m sure it was God’s plan to have me punch you in the mouth.

  • Erin

    I was told by a (now former) friend after my second miscarriage that “maybe you’re just meant to have babies later, like when you’re 40. you should probably stop trying.” Needless to say I didn’t speak to her again.

  • Kathryn

    I have a good thing to say: Nothing!
    All these lines that you’re whinging about are little fillers. People say the first bit of pap that pops into their mind because they don’t have the bad manners to be honest and explain to you that nobody gives a damn about your clump but yourself.

    • LoveyDovey

      Wow, I hope none of your friends turn to you should it ever happen to them. That’s just cruel.

    • WMV

      You remember your own words then Kathryn, next time you’re going through something really tough. Charming..

    • SLB

      Kathryn.. Nobody cares about you.

  • Ophelia

    Sure, some of these comments (like ‘it’s in God’s plan’) are ridiculous. But from the perspective of one who has had a miscarriage and been asked to talk with a close friend who had one, it’s so difficult to know what to say. You want to say something comforting, and that gives hope. Sometimes though you can never say the right thing, or the person takes it the wrong way, when all you meant was comfort. I don’t know if what I said helped my friend, but it came from the heart, and I hope she recognized that and didn’t hold it against me.

  • Mommy of 3 angels

    It’s been a little over a year since my miscarriage and I still get the “atleast it happened early” comment. I know that people are trying to be nice, but it still hurts to be told that. It makes me feel like my baby didn’t matter bc I was only in my second month. Right after it happened my husbands friend told me I shouldn’t be sad because “crap happens” and I just had to get over it. Needless to say my husband rushed him out of the house before I could slap him. Just say “I’m sorry for your loss.” or “I love you and I’m here if you need me.” People don’t need to say anything else because there really isn’t anything else to say.

  • TheSquirrel

    I got “well, at least it wasn’t planned.” We were trying to conceive, but we kept that to ourselves ironically because of the wait until the 12th week rule. As it turned out, it happened while my husband was out of town and I needed help getting to the hospital.

  • Yvonne

    When I had a miscarriage, in between the birth of our 2 children, my husband-at-the-time said in a very clinical and concescending voice, “Well, it’s for the best. A miscarriage is nature’s way of saying there was something wrong with the baby.” Then he added, “at least we know you’re still fertile!”

    WHAT. THE. F*CK???

  • Yvonne

    One more thing. I have a friend who had a miscarriage a couple of years later. I filled a basket with magazines, chocolates and wine. A LOT of chocolate. I told her it was a “wallow basket”. Because that’s what she needed to do, feel and grieve and be pissed off. She loved it.

    • Shawna Cohen

      You sound like a great friend, Yvonne. Such a supportive gesture – shows that you really “get” it.

    • Sandra1345

      hi, you are a nice friend…thank you for your post :)

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  • Tini

    My grandmother (who is a counselor and professor of Psychology) said “Well this is better because i didn’t feel a connection with the baby.” and “This is a blessing because it is making way for a new baby”.

    I don’t care if YOU didn’t have a connection with the baby, I DID! Making way for a new baby? WTF? Blessing? She is not even religious. This is not a blessing.

    I sent her a email telling her those things were hurtful and why. She promptly apologized. I felt bad but at the same time she needed to know it was not ok. When your grieving you don’t have energy for someone else’s feelings.

  • Amber

    I know this post is way old now but I just wanted to add. I had several family member pretty much give me all of these. Same person ran the line of them. Needless to say my husband and I pretty much closed down outside communication for a while to turn to each other and process our grief.

  • Sassy

    The only one that really got me wasn’t listed (people said all these things to me but I wasn’t super offended). That was something along the lines of “did you know B6 deficiency causes miscarriage? Next time you should blah blah blah.” I got a couple of those and it made me feel guilty and angry and like they were blaming me instead of just letting me grieve. I also felt like they were speaking into a situation where they didn’t necessarily have any experience and didn’t know how it felt.