October marks Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness month. Over the course of this month, I’ll feature a series of posts dedicated to this month. It’s a bittersweet month for me. Sweet because it’s my birthday month, bitter because I’m reminded of my lost babies (not that I ever forget them).
In continuing Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness posts, I’m going to talk about what NOT to say when a woman just had a miscarriage. When a woman loses a pregnancy, that within itself is very traumatic.A woman doesn’t just mourn the loss of the pregnancy; she also mourns the loss of a future child. She mourns lost preschool days. She mourns lost playdates. She mourns lost snuggles, hugs, tantrums (yes, even the bad). She mourns everything associated with that child and that pregnancy.
Furthermore, one woman’s grief is different from another’s. A woman who lost a baby at six weeks pregnancy might react different from a woman who lost hers at 15 weeks. A woman who had a stillbirth might react differently from a woman who had an early miscarriage. Every woman responds differently to grief.
In long, here’s what not to say:
- I know how you feel because I went through something similar. No, you haven’t. There is NOTHING similar to a miscarriage.
- Anything age-related;
- Maybe your age tells you it’s time to stop. Says who?
- You’re still young; you have plenty of time. Are you psychic?
- Pray about it. Not every woman is religious or has a belief system she subscribes to. On the flip side, there are some women who prayed to get pregnant, just to lose the pregnancies. Even though your heart is in the right place, it is better to err on the side of caution.
- Everything happens for a reason. What reason?
Finally, the very last one I hate:
5. You can have another. And you know this…how?
In short, here is what you should say:
- I’m sorry for your loss.
That’s it. No more, no less. Those six words will honestly do wonders and lets the woman know that you care.
The next post in the Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness series will be on how to cope with sudden pregnancy and infant loss, be it yours or another person’s.