Pregnancy Loss and Infant Loss – What Not to Say
In the olden days, pregnancy loss and infant loss were a common, accepted part of everyday life.
Unfortunately I have a great deal of personal experience with pregnancy loss. I lost my first two pregnancies. I was shocked. I thought this was something that only happened to older people and that it was very very rare. Thankfully I was able to have healthy children after that, but I also had two more losses, including a stillbirth in my fifth month.
I have a policy about talking about my losses. I post about them on Facebook. I talk about them extensively with friends – those who've been there and those who haven't, those I've know forever and those I've just met once or twice. I am anti-stigma and it is my mission to break the taboo, to get women who are suffering in silence to feel comfortable having an open dialogue about something they have no reason to be ashamed of.
3. She's in a better place. (How do you know where she is? The only place I want her to be is in my arms.)
5. God doesn't give us anything we can't handle. (It sure doesn't feel that way to me.)
9. Did you lift anything heavy or work too hard or have a lot of stress? (Chances are nothing I did cause my miscarriage, and asking this question is only going to make me feel guilty. I feel guilty enough already.)
11. At least you have two healthy kids. (Would you say someone who lost a grandmother "at least you have another one?" Would you say to someone who lost a living child "at least you have two more?" I didn't think so.)
12. You're young, you have plenty of opportunity to have more. (Again, this doesn't negate the fact that I lost a child. Maybe one day I will feel strong enough to try again, but right now I am mourning.)
I realize that people usually say these things because they mean well. But remember, your friend has just suffered a terrible loss. She is extremely sensitive, and even the best intended words can end up sounding hurtful. You have to remember that, no matter how short the pregnancy was or how many children your friend already has, this baby was real to her. This was her child. And her child died. No cliche is going to make that pain go away.