- Fertility & Reproductive Systems
What Not to Say When a Woman Loses a Baby to Miscarriage
Watch What You Say
Two lines on the test just as we hoped. A little life is growing inside. How do we refrain from shouting to the world that a precious little soul has been entrusted to us? We wait the standard 12 weeks (eternity) to tell. Now all know and are sharing our feelings of euphoria. The following week a visit to the doctor. We wait with anticipation to hear the heartbeat. After much prodding and poking, a suggestion from the doctor for an immediate ultrasound. Panic creeps in. I never anticipated this. In all of the excitement I never considered this is how the pregnancy would end. The ultrasound finds a small, lifeless baby. The doctor says it must be removed. A simple procedure, painless. Painless. The word floats in my mind. This has been anything but painless. I go in for the procedure with child and leave without a child. I ask work for a grieving day, but was denied. It's not standard to be granted a day for losing my baby in this manner. Everyone needs to be told. I feel shame and embarrassment. I'm expected to act as if it didn't happen. Loneliness and loss. No one knows what to say to me and avoid me for weeks. Weeks of loneliness and guilt plague me. What did I do wrong? Did I cause this? Why?
What NOT to say to a woman after a miscarriage:
-"It was probably something you ate, or the way you moved if you were exercising, or the position you slept in", etc. I felt (and sometimes still feel) guilty enough without any added accusations. A mother to be who is caring for herself during pregnancy is not to blame in any way for a miscarriage. As hard as they are to accept they do happen for various reasons known and unknown. Nothing the mother did caused it. Pointing a finger does nothing but tear the mother down.
-"It's probably for the best." This implies that the baby was probably defective therefore better off dead. A child that is "less than perfect" is not automatically unwanted or unloveable or not deserving of life. Being told it was for the best was the worst thing for me to hear.
-"You can just try again." True, but please don't belittle the value of the lost soul by encouraging me to "replace" it.
What you can say is a simple "I'm sorry, I'm here if you want to talk.". Be a good listener without judging or condemning any feelings shared. A friend is what is needed more than anything in this time of loss and grief.
© 2013 HeatherH104