It's difficult (OK, absolutely impossible) to known what to say to someone after a miscarriage, or at least, the "right" things to say (do those even exist?). The air between you and the hurting, mourning person becomes heavy and thick and, sometimes, even uncomfortable; sticking to you like the humidity was dialed up to 100. But believe it or not, there are things you should definitely say to someone who's had a miscarriage, just like there are things you definitely shouldn't say to someone who's had a miscarriage.
You don't need heavy-handed words, and you don't need to be poetic or even particularly moving, but a few carefully selected sentiments can help aid the healing process. While you clearly don't want to say anything hurtful or self-serving to someone who needs support, silence can be just as detrimental. Chances are, the woman who had a miscarriage (or multiple, even) is at a loss for words herself, and is desperately searching for an answer that doesn't exist. She is seeking comfort and understanding, and even if you can't provide either to her in a way she truly needs, you can help get her to a place where she stops searching and, instead, finds comfort within herself and a situation that will never truly leave her.
I know, because I've been that woman.
I've experienced a pregnancy loss, and was forced into a difficult situation that made my heart ache and my mind tirelessly race. I cried and I cursed and I blamed myself for an internal ache I didn't know, recognize, or fully understand. I sat across from friends and family members who were desperate to help, but unsure of what they should say or do. And while I learned so much about myself, my body, pregnancy in general, and life after loss, I also learned what things could be said to someone who's had a miscarriage that might actually be perfect.
Of course, everyone is different, but if you find yourself sitting across from someone who is hurting because of a pregnancy loss, here are seven things you could say with very little risk of getting it wrong.
"I Love You."
Let the person know that you love them, and there isn't a single thing — especially something hard or sad — that can change that. Right after a miscarriage, so many women end up feeling unloveable. Many women who experience a miscarriage feel like they're broken, or something is fundamentally wrong with them, and/or their body. Let her know that you love her, even when she feels like she shouldn't be loved. You might not be able to convince her, in that moment, that she deserves unconditional love, but you can give it to her anyway.
"I'm So Sorry This Happened To You."
There is nothing wrong with apologizing, even if you're acutely aware that saying sorry won't change the situation. Sure, it isn't your fault and obviously there is nothing you could have done to keep this pregnancy loss from happening, but letting someone know that you're aching along with them, can make them feel like they're not alone.
"It's Not Your Fault."
This one is important. Now, I can't say that you telling someone who has had a miscarriage that it isn't their fault will change their mindset, but it is so important to remind women that when they experience a pregnancy loss, it isn't because of something they did or could have done differently. It might not be helpful to say, "Sometimes these things just happen," but it is beneficial for someone to hear that they aren't the reason. So many women are consumed with guilt after a miscarriage, and spend the majority of their time over-analyzing their every move and wondering if they could have done something differently. This, in a way, is a form of self-punishment, and no woman should be made to feel like she should hate herself for having a miscarriage.
"Your Feelings, Whatever They Are, Are Valid."
Every woman is different, which means that while many women can experience the same thing, they often experience it in different ways. It isn't up to you to tell someone how they should feel after they've had a miscarriage. What you can do is remind them that whatever they're feeling is valid and acceptable, and that they can feel it in front of you. A woman is entitled to feel however it is she feels after a pregnancy loss, and she should be supported in those feelings, regardless of what they look like.
"You're Not Alone."
This is another very important one, but it needs to be done in the right way. So many women experience one or more miscarriages in their lifetime. In fact, miscarriages are more common than most people realize. Still, a miscarriage can be isolating, and the woman who has just experienced one can feel like she is the only woman in the world who knows what that specific loss feels like.
It's important that you let her know that she is not alone, whether or not you have experienced a miscarriage too and whether or not you feel comfortable sharing your story, even just letting her know that you have been where she has been — or that other women have — can be comforting. However, it is vital that you do not turn the conversation into one about you. Not without her permission, anyway. If she asks questions and wants to hear about your own experience, by all means, but let her know that you are there for her, and that even though she isn't alone, she alone has your full attention and focus.
"I'm Here To Listen."
She has the floor. To speak her mind or say what she is almost too afraid to say out loud or to just sit and not say anything at all. Let her know that you're there to listen to her, and then really listen. Don't just wait for her to stop talking so you can start, really take in everything she is saying so you can be as supportive as possible.
We always want to provide the ones we love and/or care for with the answers, but usually, they already have them, and just have to talk their way through the forest in order to see the trees.
"I Brought Food."
The bringing of food is a welcome and appropriate response to pretty much any sad event. It might seem trivial, but food is the great comforter and many women who experience a miscarriage, often don't have the energy or even the desire to cook and/or eat. When words fail you and you're not sure what to say or do, bring food. Make them their favorite meal or stop by their favorite take-out place and let them know that you're there, with dessert if necessary. Maybe she doesn't eat very much, or at all, but I guarantee you she will know that she is not going through this painful experience by herself.
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