What not to say to someone who experienced a miscarriageWritten by Focus on the Family
What's inside this article
Far too often, well-meaning people add further hurt by saying or doing inappropriate things – or, conversely, by failing to show concern and compassion. Comforting in a healing, helpful way to someone who has experienced a miscarriage is the same as with any other kind of death.
Nobody said much. Perhaps they didn't know what to say, but I was grieving – and just wanted to know that people cared. – Lauren
[Some people] . . . said the most hurtful words but with the best intentions like, "You are young; you will have time to have [more] children" and "Maybe this is God's way of saying your baby wasn't healthy." – Emily
The doctor in the ultrasound room said to me, "You're still young and healthy and can have more children." Maybe I could, maybe I couldn't. How would he have felt if his wife had just died and someone said, "That's too bad. On the other hand, there are lots of other women out there and you'll undoubtedly get married again"? – Caroline
Don't say . . .
Pray for the grieving parent(s). Ask, "How can I pray for you right now?" Then remember to pray – and, ideally, keep up with their prayer needs on a regular basis for the first few months.
Send a personal note or card – but avoid the temptation to "preach" or find a reason for the miscarriage. If you've experienced a miscarriage, however, sharing that fact can communicate the message, "You're not alone, and I understand." A few words validating the parents' loss can be very comforting.
My next-door neighbour brought over a fruit basket, a warm and funny novel, and a note that simply said, "I'm so sorry." – Julie
I have a collection of mementos of Andrew. It's primarily filled with notes and cards that people sent – which even now, almost 10 years later, are very meaningful to me. – Caroline
Think of one or two specific things that you could do – bring a meal, watch other children for several hours, do the laundry, run errands, take care of yard work – then call and ask if you could do so. Even small gestures of practical help can be very comforting.
Right before I lost the baby, we had done a lot of spring yard work – and had a bunch of leaf bags sitting on our front porch. Our next-door neighbour came over a couple of days later and quietly hauled all of them out to the curb for us. – Caroline
Make yourself available to listen. Don't make the mistake of thinking you have to say something appropriate or profound. Most of the time, the gift of listening, your tears and/or a warm hug can help more than anything you could possibly say. Make a donation to a favourite charity in memory of the child. Or, if there is a burial, make a donation toward a headstone or other related expenses.
Send a note or flowers at the time the baby would have been born. This is something seldom thought of, but can be very comforting at a time, months later, that usually brings renewed grief.
Don't forget dads and siblings
While a miscarriage naturally impacts the mother the most, the baby's father and other children in the family (if any) should not be forgotten. They may be struggling with their own feelings of shock, confusion and loss. Simple questions like "How are you doing? Do you want to talk?" can let them know they're not forgotten. A phone call, a note, an invitation to have coffee or get ice cream will convey the message that "I know you've experienced a loss, too – and I care!"
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