I’ve been meaning to write this post for a long time, but life happens and time is precious so it’s taken a while. I really wanted to put some words of advice out there for people unsure of what to say (or do) when somebody experiences miscarriage. A lot of things were thrown at me in the first few weeks of the news, some of the words were wonderfully kind and some were just, well, how can I put it? Insensitive and sometimes pretty bloody awful.
I’ll start off by saying that during the first week we wanted nothing more than someone to pop in and check on us. We wanted to see friendly faces and we wanted hugs, hot mugs of tea and the understanding that life was pretty sh**. But no one came. Not one person came to see us (apart from Nanny Kim of course!). We had support, don’t get me wrong, but I can list the supporters on one hand, and that shook me to the core (and it still does.), bu a HUGE thank you to those wonderful people who were there in some way, even if via text, you lot rock.
After the first week and no visitors, we became a bit resentful and didn’t want to see anyone at that point. We were engulfed in grief and in the end it makes you quite angry, despite the tears. When things were said that weren’t quite thought out or particularly kind/helpful, it made me wonder what other people had experienced, so I turned to some fellow bloggers so I could explore some of the things myself and
others have experienced; the good, bad and ugly responses to
What NOT to say
‘You can try again’
Oh, really? I imagine this is the last thing on some body’s mind as they go through the terrors and devastation of a miscarriage. Jenna from Then There Were Three experienced this one, as did I. It’s hurtful and presumptuous. Just don’t say it.
or ‘Don’t worry, you’ll have another one…’
‘Was it was something you did?’
Jennifer from Mighty Mama Bear Blog was asked this very question, much like Charlotte from Welsh Mummy Blogs who was asked if her healthy lifestyle caused a miscarriage. No, just no. Naomi from Naomi’s World was told it was her ‘own fault for getting pregnant outside of wedlock.’ – I do despair.
‘Do you think it was your age?’
Say what?! Simone from Dog Days and Delights was asked if her age was to do with it. I mean, what can I say?! Not this.
‘Every cloud has a silver lining’
What does this even mean? I don’t have a response to most of the things that have been said to us or others, but finding a positive, it’s just not possible.
‘Time is a great healer’
Kelly from Jelly With the Belly was told ‘time is a great healer’, but as she says, it really isn’t… ‘Your brain just learns to compartmentalise it so you aren’t crippled by grief but time doesn’t HEAL anything.’
‘It wasn’t meant to be’
After her fifth miscarriage Aleena from MummyMamaMom was told, ‘At least it was early on…’ whilst Tamara from The Epileptic Blogger was told ‘It was meant to be.’ ‘It’s your body clearing out a baby that would have had a defect. It’s just nature doing it’s job.’ as experienced by Emma from Our Fairytale Adventure. Cheryl from Yorkshire Wonders was told, ‘There must have been something wrong with it anyway…’ and Becka from Mummy Est 2014 was told ‘it was just a bunch of cells’. Becka says, ‘I was pregnant and I already loved everything that baby was and would have been. Doesn’t matter how early you miscarriage-that was still your baby and you have the right to grieve.’
This one seems to be overused by too many people, Joy from Pinkoddy explains how she was told ‘at least it wasn’t a baby yet…’ and Nicola from The Mummy Monster was told the same. Zoe from With Love Zoe had similar reactions too. I’m still not sure how this flippancy can happen so often, as the saying goes, if you can’t say anything nice then don’t say anything at all.
Cheryl from Mummy of 5 Miracles was told to ‘Get over it…’, a pretty flippant remark if ever I’ve heard one. If you think it’s okay to say that let me tell you now, it’s not okay. It’s not okay at all.
‘Products of conception’
When I was on the phone to the consultant’s secretary regarding a follow up scan they described the baby and placenta as ‘product’. I bit my tongue and swallowed back tears as they spoke. Cathryn from Cardiff Mummy Says has always experienced this, as she says it wasn’t a product, it was ‘our baby’.
‘Perhaps you can’t carry boys/girls’
Telling someone they can’t carry a certain sex is basically stupid. End of.
Sally from Mother and 3 Sons was asked if she more upset by the miscarriage because they presumed she was trying for a girl.
‘You already have kids’
Telling someone to appreciate what they already have or to be less upset because they already have kids is wrong in so many ways. Our baby was going to be George and Molly’s brother or sister, and this hurt affected them too. Danielle from Someone’s Mum received the shocking response, ‘it’s selfish to have one so soon anyway…’. It’s beyond my comprehension to understand this kind of response.
Pregnancy announcements from friends around the time of a miscarriage must be heartbreaking. I can’t imagine. I think that telling the person privately first is the kinder way to go, much like AreandPops did with me because she’s a super star! Clare from Wild Mama Wild Tribe had to experience a baby announcement from her then good friend within a week of having a miscarriage, commenting that ‘someone had to go first…’ I can’t imagine how hurtful this must have been.
‘At least you know you can get pregnant…’
What a consolation this is NOT. Lucy was told, ‘Don’t worry, you’ll have another one.’ But as Lucy from The Happy Weaner explains, ‘It’s not really about having another one, it’s about the one we lost.’ Hannah from Outnumbered by Boys also experienced this, it’s just so insensitive.
When someone forgets your experience or the baby you were meant to have, it can hurt like hell. Sophie from Nature Mums has experienced this and I just can’t imagine…
‘It wasn’t planned, so why are you upset?’
Becca from A Mum Doing Her Best had to deal with this comment. Even if a child isn’t planned it doesn’t mean you’ll love it any less.
What you NEED to say
‘I’m bringing you food, wine, chocolate and hugs’
I received this from a longtime friend who I haven’t seen in a while. It meant a lot! I didn’t take her up on the offer because I was utterly miserable, but I sure appreciated it.
Light a candle
Whenever I think of this I think of Rent and it makes it even more special for me. I had a message to say somebody had done this for me, and even as a non-religious person, it touched my heart. Cathryn from Cardiff Mummy Says explains, ‘Someone
texted me to say they had lit a candle for our baby. That really meant a
lot because that they acknowledged that loss. Most people didn’t
understand our grief.’
Look after yourself.
Nadia was given some lovely advice from her best friend:
‘Look after yourself. Make your health a priority. This will never leave you but it will get a little easier in time.’
This is a lovely thing to say and right on too. Resting, being a bit selfish, taking care of yourself; it’s all so important.
Nicola from ? ended up getting away for a few days when things got too much. I remember counting down the days to our Bluestone get away after our miscarriage. Being away helped us to reflect and heal together as a family.
A hug means the world. Simple.
Some of my favourite responses to the news were, ‘Yes it’s f***ing sh**!’ It made me feel less alone in my anger and it felt like a natural response to a really awful situation. Sometimes swearing helps to let off steam for sure.
I’ll never forget the one person who text me every single day for weeks during and after our miscarriage. I’ll never forget her kindness as she listened to my thoughts, she probably saved me more than she knows.
I guess my one piece of advice would be, go visit your best friend or
your son or daughter, go and give them a hug and take them a bag of
supplies (because trust me, shopping is not a priority during this
time!), show them you care otherwise it quite simply looks like you
Here are some more blog posts to read regarding miscarriage, but I’ll warn you, get your tissues ready, they’re heartbreaking…