Those that miscarry–especially their first child–are told:
- “It was probably just not meant to be.” (my sister said this, who lost 2 children in the second trimester, gave one up for adoption, and I now know had an abortion of another, so this pisses me off even more.)
- “This happens all the time, there’s no reason to believe you won’t go on to have a healthy baby.” (the midwife who saw me at my follow up and was supposed to be comforting)
- “Don’t worry, you’ll get pregnant again soon.” (my little brother, who bless his heart doesn’t understand what kind of stab that is, especially if you’re not physically ready to try again even though emotionally you want to)
- “You are young, you can always have another.” (just about everyone)
- “At least you know you can get pregnant.” (my mother-in-law, but it doesn’t bother me much because she gets it, she’s had two miscarriages, and this was after she was very consoling)
- “God has a reason, and even if you don’t know what it is, trust Him.” (literally everyone. You know it deep down, but you don’t necessarily want to hear it blurted out in your face, like you shouldn’t be sad over it because God has a purpose in it. God knows we’re sad! He knows life can make us sad sometimes, and He doesn’t try to make us stifle those emotions.)
- “It was just a miscarriage.” or “At least it was early.” (this is the attitude my mother gives me, not in actual words but I can tell that’s what she’s thinking by how she handles the topic.)
And here’s my thought:
For those that haven’t had a miscarriage or loss of child, (and I say this with love), please don’t give us your “thoughts” on the matter. It’s not comforting in this situation for you to talk endlessly at us or ask lots of questions. Just be there. And please don’t think it’s weird if we’re still bringing it up a few weeks or months later. And please don’t vanish from our lives and not ever bring up the subject, that’s really tough on us.
I know you’re all probably trying to help, but just because we all may know there’s a purpose in it or that it wasn’t our fault or even (for those that are blessed) that we can have another doesn’t mean we we didn’t love THIS child. It doesn’t mean it isn’t real, it isn’t painful, or that this wasn’t a life changing experience for us. Just because we know this is all part of God’s will for our lives doesn’t mean we don’t need comforting — and saying something about how it’s God’s will, even if you know we’re a Christian, isn’t really ‘comforting.’ Pointing that out isn’t going to make us want to dart across the room and open our Bible — just as our relationship with God is intimate, so is our time spent grieving in His presence and learning from Him about this. We’re already there, and if we’re not, don’t rush us — God sure isn’t.
Maybe say something else, something simple like “I’m so sorry for your loss.” That makes us feel like someone cares. And if you don’t know how to comfort us, just hug, or be there, or even just ask us how we’re doing. And for the love of Pete, please don’t look at us weird if we talk about our baby like it was real — it WAS real. HE was real. If you do nothing else, just nod along when we talk about our baby — all we want is for him to be validated, just as other children are. For his life to have been real and meaningful. For him to count.
And there we go.