The physical effects of experiencing a miscarriage are distressing and upsetting. Medics can help take away the physical pain, but the emotional pain lingers, sometimes forever, even through future successful pregnancies
People going through the emotional pain of miscarriage often feel alone, as if no one in the world understands them. Tracey, Co Founder of IVFbabble suffered 5 miscarriages, along with one ectopic pregnancy. She knows all too well how hard it can be when people try and say the “right thing”.
Insensitive language, more often than not unintentional, can make things worse, leading individuals and couples to sit alone with their grief.
Knowing how to speak to someone going through this emotional turmoil is important, to avoid sending someone further into the depths of their upset.
A woman under the age of 35 has a 15% risk of experiencing a pregnancy loss. This rises to 20-35% in women aged between 35 and 45 years old, rising further to around 50% in women over the age of 45. But there is hope after a miscarriage, with around 85% of women going on to have a successful pregnancy after one miscarriage (and around 75% after experiencing two or three pregnancy losses).
Stats aside, there are certain things that we should all avoid saying to someone who’s experienced any number of miscarriages, including the following (or any connotations of the following):
- You’ll have another baby one day
- You have an angel looking after you
- It was probably for the best anyway
- At least you didn’t get to know your baby
- There must have been something wrong with your baby
- Do you think you might’ve done something you weren’t supposed to?
- I understand how you feel
- Have you ever thought of staying child-free?
- At least you have other children
It’s quite easy to see when they’re written in black and white, that none of these statements are very sensitive to someone’s feelings and emotions.
But when we’re speaking to someone, we might not always think before we speak
Having to speak sensitively can make us feel like we just don’t know what to say. Which is ok – often the person experiencing baby loss grief will just want to be heard.
So instead of saying anything that we might overthink, we can simply say something along the lines of, I’m sorry. Is there anything I can do for you? I’m here for you, for whatever you need.
Being clever or funny, or making light of the situation is a complete no-no. As is offering advice. Unsolicited advice is at best annoying, at worst, could be detrimental to someone’s physical or mental health. Unless advice is asked for, or we’re a trained medical professional, offering advice, or comparisons of what happened to someone else is best left unsaid.
Miscarriage grief is very real and long-lasting
Being there for your friend or loved one, and knowing the right things to say, will help them feel like they’re not alone. We hope we’ve helped you in knowing how to support their grief.