What to Say to Someone Who Has Miscarried?

 

Words can be powerful and have a deep impact. Think carefully about what to say to someone who has miscarried.

How Does the Word “Miscarriage” Make You Feel?

Many of us feel uncomfortable with the word “miscarriage”. Think about how reading that word just now made you feel and react.

    • Did your stomach sink?
    • Did you feel yourself shrinking back?
    • Did you feel emotional or numb?
    • Or perhaps you felt just blank?

And that’s just from the outside.

“Miscarriage” is Difficult for an Outsider to Understand

For the couple who are going through a miscarriage, the pain and emotions they are going through can be very difficult to understand by others. Only others who have been through that pain and those emotions themselves can really understand.

What You Say To or Do For Someone Who Has Miscarried Depends on Your Relationship With Them

For example, giving someone a hug when you are not so close with them, can be completely overstepping the boundary. A grieving mother needs space and may only want to let those in who are closest to her. Choose your words carefully. Even though the intention is there to say something you think is appropriate, your words may not be received as you intended. Choosing silence and avoiding the subject can be hurtful. Even if you feel awkward, it is always nice to show some form of sympathy.

What to Say To Someone or Do For Someone Who Has Miscarried

If You Are Close With Them
  • I am so sorry that you lost your baby.
  • How are you feeling – if you need to talk, I am always here for you
  • Can I help you buy cooking dinner for you?
  • Can I look after your kids for you so you can rest? (If they already have children).
  • It’s ok not to feel ok, take your time to rest. I can help look after things for you.
  • I’m so sorry, I don’t know what to say that will help you. I am here for you if you need anything.
  • How do you plan to commemorate your baby?
  • Did you have a name for your baby?
  • Buy some cake and visit saying “I thought you might appreciate this”
  • Send or give them flowers.
  • Send or give them a trinket like a small angel.
  • Send or give them a book of poems.
  • Send or give them a book about angels.

If You Are Not So Close But You Care And Would Like to Show You Care

  • I am so sorry to hear about your loss.
  • Good to see you again. How are you? I was so sorry to hear about your loss.

It is good to show some compassion. It can be particularly hard for a woman to go straight back to normality again after a miscarriage. Remember, that she has also been through a physical and emotional upheaval. A miscarriage is a sudden loss. One day there is a life growing and their due date, gender, name etc are all being thought about. The next day there is grief for a lost life.

Things to Avoid Saying to Someone Who Has Miscarried

Words can be extremely harmful. A woman who has miscarried never forgets the more distressing things people said to her during her miscarriage. From the doctors and hospital staff through to friends and neighbours.

  • Will you try for another baby? – they are trying to process their grief so it’s probably not the first thing they are thinking about right now.
  • At least it was only early on – a miscarriage at any stage is a huge loss.
  • At least you already have a child – very hurtful. They have just lost a baby that they were so excited about, a brother or sister for their child.
  • Anything that starts with “at least” should be avoided.
  • You’ll be fine again soon – how do you know that? How do you know the depths of their grief?
  • Why didn’t you tell me? (definitely do not make it about you) – many people do not want to talk and share or shout it from the rooftops. They need time and space to process their loss and grieve.

This classic can be extremely upsetting for couples who are having fertility problems:

  • When are you planning on having children?

It is often the natural question on the tip of every tongue to ask a married couple who do not yet have children. Being able to stay “we’re having infertility problems” is not the easiest thing for any couple to talk about to anyone.

The Words Used Towards a Miscarrying Woman Can Effect Her Healing Process

The treatment and sympathy for miscarrying women and couples who have lost can completely vary from hospital to hospital.

Being treated with a lack of sympathy can be very distressing:

Matter of fact doctors who don’t deal with emotions, talking about doing the procedure like it is not a human being that has been lost. Hospitals where the patient is just a number and is straight in and straight out with a leaflet pressed into their hand.

It Makes A Difference When Hospitals Show Sympathy:

When a doctor or nurse say that they are so sorry about your loss. A show of consideration to keep a miscarrying woman separate from women who are going into the labour ward or have a newborn in their arms.

Healing After Miscarriage

I am here to help mothers who have miscarried. To support you and help you to heal. I have many helpful materials here on my website to help you. My private group on Facebook is called “Healing After Miscarriage”. It is a safe place for you, to help you on your healing journey.

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