Friday, July 12, 2013

The Top 10 Things NOT to Say to Someone Who Had a Miscarriage

Since I just experienced my 7th miscarriage about a week and a half ago, I consider myself somewhat of an expert at this. Never would I have dreamed that Brent and I would face such heartbreaking trials, but going through them has definitely changed me, and I think they have made me stronger as well. My hope and prayer is that I can help someone else in some way by sharing my own experiences. 

So, here we go. Here are some actual comments that were made to me at some point during our journey. If you are the one who said it, or you have ever said something similar to me or someone else, don't feel bad. I am okay, I promise. Just keep it in mind if you are ever in the same situation with someone again, whether they have had one miscarriage or ten, that you are treading on tender ground when you speak to them on this issue.  

1. Well, you can always try to have another baby!  
       While this is true in most cases, it really is a stab in an already wounded heart. When a woman
       miscarries a baby, she yearns for THAT baby. Yes, most women who have a miscarriage are 
       able to move on after a few weeks or months of grieving. However, there is a lot of "secret" 
       emotional baggage that comes along with a miscarriage, not only for the woman who obviously
       goes through both physical and emotional turmoil, but for her husband, too. It can even extend 
       out to other family members to some extent. The general public never hears about or understands
       the roller coaster ride of emotions that a miscarriage can bring. No matter how many
       miscarriages a woman experiences, and whether she has another baby or not, she never forgets
       each and every lost baby. 

2. You could always JUST adopt!
    This is also true, but take the JUST part out of it. If you or anyone you know has ever gone  
      through the adoption process, you know it's not as easy as it sounds. It requires a lot of time,
      money, commitment, and paperwork, not to mention the potential for additional heartbreak if
      an adoption fails. While I believe that adoption is a wonderful choice, and it is now on our radar, 
      it is certainly not the easy way out. Adoption may be right for one family and not another. Each 
      family must make that decision for themselves.

3. At least you have one child (or more) already!
    I think this is the one that bothers me the most. Yes, I am so thankful to God for my sweet little
      boy. He is a miracle and a gift. I love him more than words can express. However, having him 
      does not take away all the pain of having miscarriages. I don't care if a woman has ten children. 
      If she miscarries one, her heart is going to ache for THAT child that she lost. 

4. You are not alone. It happens all the time.
    Again, this is also true. However, when a woman is experiencing a miscarriage, she often
      feels like she is alone, even if she has the love and support of her family and friends. In my case,
      I have found the most comfort from others who have gone through trials of their own, varying
      from miscarriage, to infertility, to cancer.

 5. You'll feel better if you talk about it.
     I am pretty open about my experience. I don't mind talking about it. My hope is that my story  
       can help someone else. I have found comfort in talking to my husband, mom, mother-in-law, 
       and a few friends. However, some women may prefer to keep their feelings private. I think  
       it should be the decision of the woman who has experienced it, and not someone else. Don't push
       the issue. If a woman wants to talk about it, she will.

6. Not talking about it will help you forget about it.
    This goes in the exact opposite direction as #5, and it is completely false. Whether a woman 
      decides to talk about it or not, and whether or not she has other children (biologically or adopted)
      she will never forget a miscarriage, and if she has had more than one, she will remember each
      of them. Yes, the pain gets more bearable as time goes on, and it doesn't sting quite as much, but 
      I guarantee she thinks about it, sometimes more than others.

7. Why do you keep trying?
    This applies mainly to women who have had multiple miscarriages. When people have said this 
      to me, it has usually come along with a comment similar to the one in #3 above. In my case, I had
      4 miscarriages before I found out what was happening (two before having my son, and two after).
      I have a genetic issue called Robertsonian translocation.  I am fortunate in this aspect, because 
      many women who have  suffered multiple miscarriages never know why. In the past, I have   
      chosen to keep trying because my genetic counselor and my doctor both agree that it is safe to
      continue trying. My chances of having another healthy, full-term baby are very good, but my    
      chance of miscarriage is also much higher than that of most women. Basically, in my opinion, 
      it's no one's business but the couple who is trying to conceive unless it's life threatening.

8. Are you trying/going to try again?
    This is no one's business but the couple and maybe her doctor. If a woman wants you to know, 
      then she will tell you. A woman may not even know what she wants to do, especially right
      after a miscarriage when hormones and emotions are still all over the place.  In my opinion
      this question is never appropriate, whether a woman has had a miscarriage or not. Yes, I have  
      discussed this issue with a few people, but only because I chose to (they didn't ask), and only    
      because I trusted them. It's not something I talk about freely with just anyone.
 9. Does it make you jealous to see other women who are pregnant?
     In my case, this has never been true. Yes, my heart aches sometimes, especially if someone is 
       pregnant with a baby or has a baby that would have been about the same age as mine, but I have
       never been jealous. I would never wish for anyone to have to go through the pain and loss that I 
       have endured, and I always rejoice with others when they have beautiful, healthy babies. They 
       are all sweet blessings from God. I have several friends who have multiple children, and I am
       truly happy for them. 

10. You work with kids all the time anyway. I'm sure that helps.
      Okay, so this is one I hear because I am a teacher. It doesn't apply to everyone. While I do work 
         with children, and I do love it, it will never replace the ache I have in my heart
         for the babies that I have lost. It would be like saying to a chef, "Well, you cooked lots of food 
         today for others, so I guess you aren't hungry!". 

Honestly, the best thing you can do for someone who has suffered a miscarriage
is to pray for them and ask them if there is anything they need.
Some women want to be around others, and some don't. 
Some women want to talk about it, and some don't. 
Take her lead in all circumstances,
and most of all, 
be her friend.
I hope you have found this helpful!



  1. Salena--As always, your post is so inspiring. You have a gift of words! I know that the Lord is smiling down on you today and everyday, as you work through heartbreaks with unshakeable faith and a strong testimony. I completely agree that you can never fully understand a situation until you're in it, and even then, the experience is never exactly the same. Love you!

  2. Much love and prayers for you and Brent, Salena. I'm praying this blesses others.