What you should and should not say to someone who miscarried

Unfortunately, I have been in the position to receive many condolences. In the past year, I have lost my papa, my husband’s grandfather and our first-born child. Only until now, do I realize I have been guilty of ‘what not to say’ to those grieving. So let’s just say I have been inspired by my own past stupidity.

I have days where every little single comment can make me cry and I have days where I can smile and laugh at some of these comments. Today is one of those good days as I recall the ‘comforting’ phrases I have received over the last two months.

What NOT to say someone who has miscarried:

God has a plan/it happened for a reason: The number one comfort phrase used for any tragedy. Just for the sake of not sounding like everyone else, avoid this. Our church leaders and religious grandparents have this one covered. Yes, we know deep down there is some higher calling to our loss but we don’t want to hear that 100 times.

At least it was early: Yes, phew! So glad it was early. I am ready to hop into the saddle and start making a fresh batch of children! A common misconception is that because it was an early loss, it wasn’t that hard. Do you know what the body goes through during and after a miscarriage? I labored for 12 hours and delivered my stillborn son at 18 weeks. I bled for 8 weeks and 4 days after that fact. But yes, SO glad it happened early. (Not to mention the emotional, spiritual and mental pain.)

It was a bad egg/it wasn’t going to be healthy: Do you also hunt down Dalmatian puppies and skin them for fur coats? The Cruella DeVille of all terrible comfort phrases. I polled my friends with children that have downs syndrome, autism and cystic fibrosis asking them if they knew their child’s health outcome would they terminate the pregnancy? Crazy, all of them said no, in fact ‘hell no.’

At least you know you can get pregnant: I’ll let LC respond to this one.

What to say to someone who has miscarried:

I am thinking of you/sending you love. The one size fits all of comfort phrases. Easy and simple, can’t go wrong and timeless. Goes well with a heart and kissy face emoticon.

I wish could take away the pain. What I love about this phrase is that you understand and acknowledge I am in pain. Physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. Thank you for realizing this, this means more than you know.

Do you want some more wine and ice cream? Yes, please. Feed me, provide me my favorite wine, give me hugs, send me a card, go to a movie with me. Cry with me. Make me laugh. Tell me about the latest celebrity breakup. Just be my friend!

I don’t know what to say. Good, that makes two of us. And now we can sit here and just shrug until one of us laughs at the awkward silence.

If you are like me, you are a fixer. You want to fix your friend or loved one when they are in pain or need help. However, when someone is grieving, there are no amounts of words that will heal someone. Words and actions will only comfort the griever, not heal them. So think before you speak and give that friend a squeeze.

Can you think of any other comments you don’t or do like to hear during your time of grief?

 

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One thought on “What you should and should not say to someone who miscarried

  1. The EcoFeminist says:

    I wrote a post yesterday about the bullshit “let me know if I can do anything” comments that really means “I’m not going to lift a finger unless you create a task for me”. I lost my own father in 2008 and heard the same BS and very, very few people actually got off their asses and did something. I know that I sure as hell, in this physical and emotional pain, am not up to thinking up tasks for people to do…if they want to help they can get specific and do something without instructing me to think of it for them. My massage therapist sent me a gift card so I can order things without leaving the house if I want to stay away from people – loved that. Most others including family members? Not a goddamn thing besides that “let me know” comment that they *think* sounds helpful and is really just plain lazy. “Let me know if I can do anything” is about as useful as the “Prayers” comments that go out when a mass shooting occurs. Fuck that shit.

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