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?
Yesterday was a very ironic day. All we want is to be parents to a healthy and happy child. Yesterday, I found myself at my clinic hoping that they would confirm that miscarriage 4 is “complete”. The irony of hoping and dreaming of a healthy child, changes in the blink of an eye to my thoughts being captivated with hope for this miscarriage to done and over. How did I go from dreaming of child, to yet again hoping for the hell of another miscarriage to be done?
After finding out that our baby lost its heart beat 2 weeks ago, and then waiting nearly another week for confirmation of the fetal demise (medical term for dead), we went through a long and drawn out medically induced miscarriage just over a week ago. Yesterday I had a follow up exam, and the best case scenario was that the doctors would confirm that it was a complete miscarriage. Unfortunately, I cannot even seem to miscarry correctly, and it cannot be declare a complete miscarriage at this time. Instead, they removed more remaining material from my uterus through a rather painful procedure. And now we wait to see what happens next. Hopefully my body continues to expel the remaining material on its own, as the doctors animatedly do not want me to have another D&C surgery (I am now considered high risk for complications because I’ve had two D&C surgeries for past miscarriages). But only time will tell, and if an infection develops surgery may be the only option regardless of the risks.
So, we wait, and we hope that this passes quickly and without more physical pain. And at the same time we start looking to the future and the next pregnancy and we start to open our hearts up to hope…