The Comments People Make

There is something about the innocence of a child. They ask questions without any restraint as they haven’t been corrupted by the constraints of social conventions yet. It’s one of the most endearing and amazing things about young children – you just never know what they are going to say.

However, in writing this post, I’m not thinking about the innocence of children. I’m thinking about adults. Presumably well socialized, smart, functioning members of society. Some of these questions and comments come from colleagues, some from friends and family, but all have been asked by people who know about our repeat pregnancy loss.

I understand that it’s hard to know what to say, but in our opinion, if you say any of these worst and least supportive lines to someone who has just had a miscarriage, you might end up with a black eye:

You can always try again.
Although true, this belittles the fact that our baby has died. And maybe we won’t try again, you have no idea.

You’re still young / You have lots of time.
This may be true, but how does this help when our baby has died. Again, belittling.

I know someone who had (insert # here) miscarriages. On number (insert # here) it worked for them. So, it’ll work for you too.
That’s just not how repeat pregnancy loss works.

Do you want to hold my baby? (And repeat this question over and over during supper while forcing your child at me).
No, no, I do not!! I do not need a living, breathing reminder of what I have lost.

It was so easy for us.
Great. Good for you. It clearly isn’t for us.

At least you know you can get pregnant.
And that helps how?

We are very stressed about the financial consequences of having twins, so it’s not a great situation.
Seriously, you are going to complain about getting 2 kid to us? When mine just died?!

You are so tough to be able to get through this.
No, I just don’t have a choice.

I understand what you are going through, a friend of mine had a miscarriage.
If you have not been there, you do not understand.

How far along were you?
As if the duration matters. I don’t think it matters if you lose a child at 5, 10, 20 or 36 weeks. Your baby has died. It is just that simple.

When did you start trying?  When did you lose each one?
We find people who ask this one and are obsessed with the details, only seem to care about the “competition” of who get pregnant first. It feels very judgemental.  And this shouldn’t be the Spanish Inquisition.

Just think, when this is all done and you finally get a child, you will be better parents for it.
Seriously?! Does this mean if you haven’t had repeat miscarriages you aren’t a good parent? I don’t think so.

…………………

On the other side, here is a list of the best and most supportive things some of our dearest friends have said to us:

My experience was just so different, that I just don’t know what to say.

“I am guessing you will want to curl up and cry, but if you do want a chance to tell the world how unfair this is – call me up.”

“Words can’t change what you are going through right now and I won’t fill this email with things that will only make me feel better for having said something.”

Wow, that just sucks. Take all the time and space you need and let us know if we can help with anything.

I hope you are physically healing, and know that the emotional and mental recovery will take longer and that’s okay.

Let me know when you are ready to talk, if you want to. I’ll be here for you whenever you need me.

My husband and I have spent a few days compiling these lists and have actually had a good laugh over what people have said to us over the last year.  In some way it has been therapeutic to think back over all our conversations and reminisce.  Anyone have any others to add?

9 Comments on “The Comments People Make

  1. Twelve weeks after our son passed away we were at a family wedding. We were seated with another couple from the Bride`s side along with my sister for dinner. The gentleman looks across the table at us and said “Do you have any children?” Innocent enough question…..I am sitting there frozen not able to answer. This is the first time I have been faced with this question after our son passed. Before I can answer he said “What, you do not want children, you do not like children. What is it??“ I start crying, look at my sister to explain as neither my husband and I can. We are too shocked at what just happened and crying.

    My ever favorite comment is “Well you can be a foster parent“

    Thank you for this post. At times my husband and I also have to giggle because the lengths that people will go to are sometimes hard to believe. We understand for the most part they are well meaning but really….. Last year the Monday after Father`s Day a co-worker asked me how are weekend was. I said not very good. She snaps at me and said `What is your problem“ It is times like that it takes all your power not to snap back and say lady are you really that NUMB. Hahahaha. But I withheld. I responded `Well, yesterday was Father`s Day and it really is not a joyous occasion around our home!!“

    Like

    • Thanks for sharing. It sure is interesting how other people respond! I’m glad your sister was there to help you out at the wedding.

      Some days it would just be great to respond truthfully! But I’m pretty sure I’d end up a social outcast if I turned my filter off for a day.

      Like

      • Hahaha. Oh my I know just what you mean. I have having a very hard time with my filter as well!

        Like

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