It’s often difficult to find the right words to comfort a friend or family member who is grieving a miscarriage. As with any situation in which someone has suffered a loss, it’s important to choose your words carefully. Following are some things you should not say to someone you love who is grieving a miscarriage.
“You’ll have another baby. You’ll see.”
While you might think you are being supportive and helping the woman grieving a miscarriage to look ahead to brighter days, this statement is not one that a woman who has lost a baby wants to hear.
“After my miscarriage, several friends and even family members told me not to worry because I would get pregnant again,” says Gillian Zane, who lost her first baby nine weeks into the pregnancy. “I knew they were trying to comfort me, but it was as if they weren’t acknowledging my loss. I had wanted that baby, and I had lost that baby. I needed to grieve the loss before I could think about getting pregnant again.”
It’s important to acknowledge that a baby, not just a pregnancy, was lost. This is often overlooked because, to others, possibly even the husband of a woman grieving a miscarriage, the baby might not have seemed quite real. But to the woman who was carrying that baby inside of her and experiencing the changes that pregnancy was causing in her body, he or she was a unique person-in-the-making who is no more.
“I know what you are going through.”
If you have not lost a baby, please do not say this to a mother grieving a miscarriage. Just as with anything else in life, unless you’ve experienced it yourself, you simply do not know how it feels.
However, if you have had a miscarriage, and a large percentage of women have, it can be reassuring to a woman grieving a miscarriage to hear your story, especially if you’ve gone on to have more children.
“I was so excited about being pregnant that I told everyone right away,” says Zane. “So when I found out I had lost the baby, I had to go back and give them the news. I couldn’t believe how many women I had thought I knew well told me for the first time that they had also had miscarriages. Some had even had several. While it didn’t make me feel better to know they had felt the same pain I was experiencing, it gave me hope that I too could get through it. And yes, that I would very well be a mother someday.”
“Please don’t cry anymore.”
People grieve in their own way and in their own time. Family and friends of a woman who is grieving a miscarriage need to allow the woman time to work through the grief and accept the loss in her own way.
“It was my husband who said this to me,” says Zane. “I will never forget it. I know that he said it only because it hurt him to see me in pain, but I needed to cry to get through it. I needed him to allow me time to grieve.”
So what should you say to a woman grieving a miscarriage?
“I’m sorry for your loss.” It might seem too simple a sentiment, but this is the best thing that you can say to a mother grieving a miscarriage. You cannot take her hurt away; the best you can do is to acknowledge the loss. A big hug and an offer to help in any way you can probably would be welcome, too.
Grieving a miscarriage is not easy, but with friends and family who are thoughtful enough to choose their words of support wisely, your loved one can start the healing process. Only after fully grieving a miscarriage can a woman be ready to try again.