Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Do's and don't's of what to say to someone who's had a miscarriage: a follow-up post

I want to start out by thanking everyone who read my last post and then through the blog, facebook, or phone opened up to me about their stories. I can't tell you how many people told me that they had gone through a miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, infertility, or similar thing. It taught me that many more people than we realize are going through hard things like this but we are sure that we are alone in our experiences because a lot of people don't talk about it.

I know that everyone's experiences are different, but I want to tell you how much comfort and support I felt after posting that last blog. Hearing other people's struggles, journeys, and stories helped me feel so much strength, knowing that other's were dealing with or had dealt with and gotten through hard situations. I think we can all learn from each other's experiences, whether for future issues we will personally deal with, or for a loved one or acquaintance who goes through something similar and we want to be able to help and support them and empathize with them.

A few people have asked me what kinds of things would have been comforting and helpful for me while I was going through it, such as what to say. It made me remember a time several years ago when a good friend called me up to tell me she'd had a miscarriage and I could tell she was really struggling with it and longing for some comforting words and understanding from me, and I remember feeling at such a loss to know what to say. I'm sure everyone's different, but now that I've gone through it myself, here are a few things that personally would have been helpful (or not) when this was happening. If you have more/different ideas, I'd love for you to post them in a comment.


DON'T try to downplay the situation in any way.
"Good thing you weren't farther along."
"At least you know you can get pregnant and can have future babies."
"Is this the first time you've had a miscarriage? Oh, well my aunt had 4 miscarriages."

DON'T try to offer theories or ask for possible explanations as to why this happened.
"Do you think it's because you were on fertility drugs?"
"Why do you think this happened?"
"Everything happens for a reason."

DO acknowledge that this must be hard/scary/painful, and allow them to "be real" with you.
"I'm so sorry! What a tragic loss!"
"How awful; it sucks that this happened!"
"It seems like you are being super brave and going through this with such grace, but it's ok if you're not. You're allowed to be a mess if you want."

DO offer support and a desire to empathize and be a listening ear.
"I've never dealt with that, but I want to understand what you're going through if you're up to talking about it."
"I know you might want to be alone right now, but as soon as you don't want to be alone, I'll be here."

You can also help by bringing over dinner or offering to help out with something. Just be sensitive to the situation. There were some points when I didn't want to leave the house or couldn't, due to the physical process, so having someone be willing to go to the store for me would've been awesome. Yet other times I was wishing to not be alone and wanted a distraction, so when a friend got me out of the house to take me to a movie, it was such a welcome and appreciated thing.

As I mentioned in my last post, it's also important to be mindful of the husband; they go through their own healing process, but allowing them the chance to talk about it and what they're dealing with is helpful too.

This article is pretty good too, if you want some more insights as to what you can say or do:

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