Any woman who has had a miscarriage has sometimes felt alone in her grief. People are either uncomfortable and remain silent or say the wrong words at the wrong time. Here are seven statements you should avoid saying to the woman who has miscarried.
You’re young yet. You can have another baby. This may be true. Remember, though, that the woman was anticipating the birth of this child. That joy has been stolen from her and can not be easily replaced. Some women have difficulty becoming pregnant and some have had previous miscarriages. As a result, these women may suffer additional emotional pain from this type of comment.
At the stage you were at, it was just a blob of tissue. Amazingly, some medical professionals say this when the bereaved mother asks what gender the baby may have been. As any woman who has become pregnant can tell you, from the moment she realized she was pregnant she was looking forward to cuddling a newborn human baby, not a tumor or a salamander. That blob of tissue, if it had not been miscarried, would have developed into a baby.
I knew you shouldn’t have (fill in the blank). Nothing like telling the woman who has miscarried that she did something to end her own baby’s life. Babies are born to women who smoke, drink, or have too much coffee as well as to women who do all the things considered healthy for the growing fetus. Both groups of women also miscarry. Why should your words confirm the self-condemnation and uncertainty the woman is already feeling?
The baby must have had something wrong with it. This statement is related to the previous one. The woman who has miscarried may wonder if she or the father had a defective gene that caused the baby to die. They may wonder if they will ever have healthy children born to them.
Maybe the baby would have been deformed and this spared it a horrible existence. Parents are generally willing to sacrifice anything for their child. The bond between mother or father and newborn is so intense that parents have slept overnight in the Newborn Intensive Care Unit just to be near their baby. Mothers of preemies long for the first time they can hold their little one, even if the baby is surrounded by IVs and life support equipment. A horrible existence? Not if the child was loved.
Maybe God is punishing you for something you did. The woman who has miscarried may already have doubts about God’s love for her. God does not use miscarriage as a punishment. Every person has violated God’s commandments at some time in their lives. If miscarriage is God’s punishment, the world’s population would be steadily declining.
You need to focus on your husband and surviving children and forget about what’s done. While this may slowly happen for the woman who has miscarried, she must be allowed time to grieve. She was, for the duration of her short pregnancy, not just a woman, but a woman with child. She had hopes and expectations, joy and dreams. The emotional pain of miscarriage is not something that can be swept away by redirecting the focus to something or someone else. She can not take an aspirin and make the grief disappear. She may always have a special place in her heart for that baby she never knew.
Several years ago, I was the woman who had miscarried. Friends and relatives tried to offer these words as means to assuage my pain. I have known other women who have miscarried. Over time I have come to understand that sometimes the best words you can say are none at all.