Friday, May 4, 2012

What Not to Say

Just like births affect more than the mother, so do losses.  There has been such an outpouring of love from the friends and family that know of our loss that it's overwhelming.  However, if someone you know is dealing with a miscarriage, there are a few things that you might want to avoid saying.  Now in the spirit of things, I absolutely understand that no one says thing with malicious intent.  Everyone has love in their heart and comes from a place of good, but if you can avoid adding hurt where there's already an abundance, I'd err on the side of caution.

1. Don't say "Everything happens for a reason"  Intellectually I know this is true.  There may have been a chromosomal abnormality or in my case, an ectopic pregnancy, but to a grieving mother, who is only dealing with raw emotions, there is no reason in the world good enough that this should have happened to her.  Every time someone said this to me I wanted to throat punch them.

2.  Don't tell her, "Don't worry, you'll be pregnant again soon."  In my case I knew that "soon" meant a minimum of 3 months, which felt like an eternity.  But even still, it was difficult for me to imagine another baby when I haven't even grieved this one.  I may be alone in this one, but it made me sad to think people were trying to push this pregnancy under the rug.  It happened and another baby won't erase it.

3.  Try and offer specific help.  Everyone kept telling me, "Oh if you need anything let me know," but I didn't know what I needed.  I think I needed people just to show up.  Go grocery shopping for me.  Take Isabella out for pizza.  Bring me Chinese food and trashy TV shows.  Come and visit and just sit with me.  I never knew how to ask for it, because it seemed too much of an imposition.  So just show up and be there.  Oh, and if I take you up on your offer for help, be prepared to follow through, even if it's on a weekend.  I understand that my life just turned into a horror show and yours didn't, but try and fit me it.

4.  Listen and ask questions.  It's funny because explaining the medical aspects to people who didn't understand it actually made me feel better.  When my friends let me rage and spit angry bitterness without judgement that helped me.  It helped me to talk about it.  So if you're unsure about something, just ask.  Trust me I had no problem saying, "I don't want to talk about it," when I didn't want to.

5.  Share your story.  When people reached out with their own story of loss it made me feel less alone.  It made me feel like I was with my sweet sisters in some sort of club that no one wanted to be in and no one could get out of it.  It made me feel like I was part of something bigger and that my loss mattered and that someone out there knew exactly how I was feeling, even in my darkest moment.  Don't be silent.  There's nothing to be ashamed of.

6.  Sense the moment.  If you're out at a big party, maybe you want to pull her aside or wait to the end to bring it up so that you don't get her upset in front of a crowd.  Work might not be the best place to have this discussion.  It's tricky, but just try and be sensitive to the situation.  No one likes to cry at work.  My boss sent me a text message from right next door.  She knew it's easier to respond that way than to have to fight through the lip quiver and shaky voice in person.
post signature


Madonna said...

I'm glad you have found people to lean on during this difficult time. After my miscarriage, I didn't want to tell anyone. I was scared, emotionally broken, and I wanted to move on. I deal with death the same way. Grieve and move on. I didn't want someone to ask me how I was feeling or when we were going to try again because it was too painful.

Just know that there are others out there who have been there. I hope you get the answers you need soon to bring the closure you are looking for.

Alison@Mama Wants This said...

I'm so sorry for your loss. Truly.

JAH said...

I'm glad you're sharing your story.

lilypi said...

Thank you for being strong enough to share your personal pain with us. To lose a child, even though he was only with you for a short period of time, is a very hard loss and one that you can never forget. I hope that in time, though you cannot forget, that you will heal and find closure.

Kismet21 said...

I am very sorry you are going through this. I am glad you have some outlets like your blog and friends to help you process all of the different emotions and thoughts about this. I can imagine it is hard. I am thinking of you.

Gaspegirl said...


As a mom who had seven pregnancies and only three live births I hear you!

You have it all right in this list... it is said perfectly. Anytime you wish to share your story with me I would love to listen. Maybe I could share this link with you, a "coles notes" version of one of my miscarriages:

(((hugs))) to you.

Momma Marge

inspired by crumbs said...

I also have been there and totally agree with your list of what not to say. People don't realize how they sound when they say these things. I also want to applaude you for sharing your story, I had a hard time talking about it and that really didnt help...

Tammy said...

This is great advice, thanks for putting it out there! It's so hard to know what to say when something devastating like that happens. I hope that each day is getting a little brighter for you.

Post a Comment

Have at it...and I will respond to all comments here so check back often to stay in the conversation.