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Miscarriage/pregnancy loss

What NOT t to say after suffering miscarriage.

44 replies

containher · 20/01/2011 13:42

My friend has just told me that at her 12 weeks scan, the baby had died at 8 weeks. Obviously she is devestated. I don't know what sorts of things to say to comfort her, but I am sure there are plenty of things NOT to say. For those of you who have had to go through this terrible ordeal, what are some of the insensitive things well meaning people have said to you? I would hate to say something wrong to her and make her feel even more sad than she is already.

OP posts:
belgo · 20/01/2011 13:44

I think the mean thing is not to presume that you know how she is feeling, because it is very different for every women.

One thing someone said to me was that it was probably for the best because their was probably something wrong with the baby. That did not help me one bit, I was shocked that they had said it.

It sounds like you are a good friend.

Offer of practical help is a good idea eg. shopping.

MakemineaGandT · 20/01/2011 13:46

having been in that horrid position myself I heard all I can report that you should not say:

anything about it being for the best as "chances are something was wrong with the baby"

you can always try again

perhaps you can't carry boys/girls

you sound like a nice friend - just give her a hug and take her a nice box of chocs

Rosa · 20/01/2011 13:49

I would say ' I really don't know what to say but I am here for you'

Kayzr · 20/01/2011 13:50

I think the worst thing that has been said to me was "I wonder if it was a boy or a girl?" Said to me by my best friend the day I found out I was having a MC. I appreciated her coming round to keep me company as DP is away with work but it really upset me.

Decaff · 20/01/2011 13:59

Don't say "chin up". This was said to my husband and it took all his strength not to smack the person.

I think just admitting that you don't know what to say to make her feel better (there is nothing) but that you are there for her. And stay in touch. Some people are great for a couple of days then just seem to drift off.

mamarara · 20/01/2011 14:09

I agree with pp. Currently going through my second mc and some noticeably unhelpful comments have been along the lines of:

  • There must have been something wrong with it.

  • You can always try again.

  • It's for the best.

  • Isn't it just like a big period?

  • Chin up, it could be worse.

  • At least you know you can get pregnant.

Best to just give them a hug and agree that it is a really horrible thing to happen.
YeButerfleogeEffete · 20/01/2011 14:12

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

PrettyCandles · 20/01/2011 14:21

Make no statements about the miscarriage. It is her miscarriage, her feelings, that matter. Accept her statements, ask about her. If she wants to talk about the miscarriage, listen. If she wants to talk about something else, listen. AccePt tears or laughter.

You sound very kind and considerate. You cannot comfort her by your words, but your very presence and consideration will comfort her. Miscarrying is a very lonely feeling.

harassedinherpants · 20/01/2011 14:22

I've just gone through this, had my erpc on Tuesday. You sound like a great friend, just let her know you're there for her to talk to. That's really helped me. My sil has been round this morning and just chatted with me about the baby and stuff in general. What I've found difficult/weird is that the world just carried on around me, even though mine had changed irrevocably.

Please don't say:
Be grateful for the healthy children you've got.
You need to move on.
You can try again.

I also got really upset when someone referred to my baby as a foetus.

Just remember everyone reacts differently. I was very upset on the day of my scan, but then felt numb. Yesterday I was recovering from op, but today I'm really upset. Everyone's different.

nickelbabysnatcher · 20/01/2011 14:24

Just say that you are always there for her if she needs to talk, or even if she doesn't want to talk - that you'll be there to help her in any way you can, and that the kettle is always on.

MadamDeathstare · 20/01/2011 14:25

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

JiltedJohnsJulie · 20/01/2011 14:27

Some great advice on here. Agree that you sound like a good friend. Take her a box of choccies and see if you can arrange to do something nice together soon, maybe next month, like shopping, lunch or pizza and cinema. I'm sure she'll appreciate it.

ClaireDeLoon · 20/01/2011 14:28

Try to remember her due date and be kind around then - people have forgotten by then usually and will unknowingly blather on about a pregnant friend or similar and I found such things really upsetting.

You do sound nice, I wish there were more people like you.

nickelbabysnatcher · 20/01/2011 14:29

yes, Claire has a good point there.

DuelingFanjo · 20/01/2011 14:31

don't say 'at least you know you can get pregnant'

PrettyCandles · 20/01/2011 14:33

Another thng: ask her how she is in a month or so. As Claire said, people forget, but the distress may still be there. I certainly found it very comforting when a friend remembered and did this.

JiltedJohnsJulie · 20/01/2011 14:35

That's good advice Claire. My first, which ended in a medical miscarriage, was due on my Goddaughter's birthday. I found that really hard for a few years.

VivClicquot · 20/01/2011 14:37

PrettyCandles has got it spot on - listen to what she says, acknowledge that it's a truly horrible thing to have to go through and then simply be there for her.

I think what makes a situation like this particularly hard for friends and family members is that different people can get upset at different things. For example, after my missed miscarriage, I took a degree of comfort in the stats which say 1 in 4 or 5 pregnancies end in mc, so didn't really mind when people said to me, "Oh, sadly it's really common but it doesn't mean you'll not go on to have a baby" or "I know x number of people who have been through similar."

However, someone on one of the mc threads here said she HATED it when people said the same to her - I think her response was along the lines of, "So? Everyone dies but I didn't wheel that statistic out when you lost your mum / dad / whatever..."

Also, do drop her a regular line or give her a call to say you're thinking of her. My best friend lives at the other end of the country to me, but the fact she sent cards and texts just asking how I am meant an awful lot.

uggmum · 20/01/2011 15:03

A pregnant friend said to me, "you can come round and hold my baby instead".

She meant well to be honest but it really upset me.

belgo · 20/01/2011 15:37

Blush I've just noticed my typo. It should read "I think the main thing is'

Cazm2 · 20/01/2011 16:28

i agree with all of the above. i had a missed miscarriage at 11 +5 after a scan my baby had died at 8+5, someone said to me 'oh well you werent very far along were you???@ like it makes a bloody difference and yes actually after seeing my tiny baby on a scan i was!

the stats dont help me either and neither do the 'at least you can get pregnant doesnt mean a thing!!!'

i think you sound like a lovely friend and i wish i had a few more like you around when i was going through it.

banana87 · 20/01/2011 17:38

Do not, under any circumstances, say "at least you have one" or "at least you know you can get pregnant". "I'm sorry, I am here if you need me" usually will suffice.

MummyAbroad · 20/01/2011 19:07

Here is a good list of what not to say:

I think the best thing to say is "I am so sorry for your loss"

shinydiscoball · 20/01/2011 19:22

It's a very difficult time for all concerned, I suffered a missed miscarriage at 10 weeks - some friends didn't get in touch at all as they didn't know what to say :( which was more hurtful in some ways than those who put their size 9's in it.

I agree with all of the above comments, one I found hardest was the "oh, you'll be fine, so-and-so had 2 MC and now she has 28 perfectly healthy children" sort of examples, at the time I didn't give a flying fuck about anyone else, my baby had still died.

You sound lovely and caring though and you just need to let her know you're there for her. A hug and a smile go a long way. One of the nicest texts I got when it first happened read, "no fuss, no drama, just know you're in my thoughts and I'm here whenever you need me." True to her word, when I did call her she was round with flowers, cake and great big cuddle :)

kat2504 · 20/01/2011 19:31

This is all really good advice, just acknowledge the loss, say you are sorry for her and be on hand for whatever she needs from you. Sometimes that will be someone to listen to her feelings, sometimes it may be to have a good friend to cheer her up when she is starting to feel better.
The advice about remembering a few months down the line is great. I'm approaching my due date and everyone seems to have forgotten to be sensitive with baby related topics.

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