It’s about time someone talked about this, right? Until I had my recent miscarriage, I had not really thought about it. None of my friends, family or co-workers has ever had one. In fact, I pretty much don’t know anyone dealing with fertility issues. Perhaps if I did, I might very well be one of the people who say really stupid things to try and make them feel better.
Having dealt with the “Why aren’t you pregnant yet?”s and the hundreds of unsolicited advice, comments and ‘helpful’ tips during my year of trying to conceive, I was unbelievably thrilled to actually be able to say, ‘I am having a baby.’ Then suddenly I’m not pregnant anymore, and I don’t know when and if I’ll ever have a baby. It’s one of the worst experiences of my life.
Now the same people who had been so interested in my reproductive journey want to offer me their sympathy and support. I know they’re sad for me, that they honestly want to make me feel better. But I truly wish they’d just stop.
One person told me I could just have one of her kids because they’re ‘driving her crazy’ and another told me ‘now you’ll have more time to go out with your husband instead of being cooped up with a baby.’ My own dad just told me when he caught me crying in my room to ‘get over it already, you’ll have another one’ like he tells me when I’m upset about getting a stain on my new shirt or something. He actually thought he was being helpful (I know he loves me, he’s my dad. No doubt he means well).
I’m writing this both as a vent and as a reference to forward to people who have someone close to them go through the pain of losing an unborn baby. It’s unbelievable that so many people need help figuring these out on their own, but judging from the ginormous number of insensitive comments I got during the past two weeks, it seems that they do.
This is a list of what NOT to say:
1) It wasn’t even a baby yet.
Uh, yes it was. Every night before I went to sleep I imagined what it would look, smell and feel like in my arms. I had its future over the next 21 years mapped out in my head. It was a baby and I loved it as soon as I saw those two pink lines.
2) You’ll have another one.
It’s not a pair of ripped jeans I can just replace! I hope I can have another one, but right now I’m mourning THIS one.
3) Take one of mine (they’re such a handful, be grateful you still don’t have them, blah, blah *&%& blah)
Seriously? This is the right time to complain about having children? &*^$% you!
4) Get over it (it’s been a week, 3 months… etc)
I deserve to grieve the hopes and dreams I had for this baby. It could take a week, a month, or even until I get my rainbow, nobody has the right to tell me how long I ‘should’ be sad.
5) Now you can enjoy life with your husband (you can travel, stay out late…)
Ok, we did that. Now we want a baby. We can still do those things, but we’re not going to be glad our baby died so we can do them.
6) There are worse things in life.
I know, but this is pretty bad. Of course I’m grateful for all the blessings in my life, but I’m still very, very sad and in pain about losing my baby.
7) There must have been something wrong with it. You wouldn’t want an ‘abnormal’ baby, be glad you lost it early.
Of course everybody wants a healthy baby, but it just really, really bothers me when you say that. Just don’t say it.
8) Now you should stop exercising hard/drinking coke/being so stressed.
Are you actually implying that I did something to cause my miscarriage? DO NOT give me any advice to ‘improve’ my chances next time. Some people do drugs while bungee jumping and have healthy pregnancies for God’s sake. This was not in any way my fault (even though I have wondered and blamed myself a million times for drinking that coffee once. I don’t need anyone else confirming my worst fears).
9) Some people have 57 miscarriages and then have healthy babies.
I love success stories after miscarriage. But right now I’m terrified I could have another one. Please just share the ones about those who conceived quickly and had healthy babies after miscarrying. I don’t want any realistic scenarios (believe me, I know most of them). I need all the hope I can get.
10) You have to attend Blabla’s baby shower/ see what my 1 year old just did/ watch Nine Months with me.
Please don’t call me a jealous bitch. I’m always happy when people have beautiful, healthy babies but right now I don’t necessarily want to be around them. It’s bad enough that everywhere I go I seem to be surrounded by pregnant women and babies. Seeing and talking about other people’s babies reminds me of my loss. Please don’t pressure me right now to be okay about this for at least a couple of months.
As you will see, sometimes less really is more. There are so many short, effective things you could say to make us feel better.
They may be simple, but they’re really all we need from you:
1) I’m so sorry.
2) You have every right to be sad.
3) I’m here if you need me.
4) It’s not your fault.
5) Go ahead and cry.
6) If you want to talk about it, I’m listening.
7) You’re in my prayers.
Please try to understand that unless you have been through this before, you cannot possibly imagine what we’re going through. The best things you can do include calling often to see how we’re doing, making time if we want some company, listening quietly and considerately when we need to talk and most of all just being there when we need you.