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Sunday, October 17, 2004

Advice on Miscarriage


What we wish you knew about pregnancy loss:
A letter from women to their friends and family
By: Elizabeth Soutter Schwarzer

When women experience the loss of a child, one of the first things they discover they have in common is a list of things they wish no one had ever said to them. The lists tend to be remarkably similar.
The comments are rarely malicious - just misguided attempts to soothe.

This list was compiled as a way of helping other people understand pregnancy loss. While generated by mothers for mothers, it may also apply similarly to the fathers who have endured this loss.

When trying to help a woman who has lost a baby, the best rule of thumb is a matter of manners: don't offer your personal opinion of her life, her choices, her prospects for children. No woman is looking to poll her acquaintances for their opinions on why it happened or how she should cope.

**Don't say, "It's God's Will." Even if we are members of the same congregation, unless you are a cleric and I am seeking your spiritual counseling, please don't presume to tell me what God wants for me. Besides, many terrible things are God's Will, that doesn't make them less terrible.

**Don't say, "It was for the best - there was probably something wrong with your baby." The fact that something was wrong with the baby is what is making me so sad. My poor baby never had a chance. Please don't try to comfort me by pointing that out.

**Don't say, "You can always have another one." This baby was never disposable. If had been given the choice between losing this child or stabbing my eye out with a fork, I would have said, "Where's the fork?" I would have died for this baby, just as you would die for your children.

**Don't say, "Be grateful for the children you have." If your mother died in a terrible wreck and you grieved, would that make you less grateful to have your father?

**Don't say, "Thank God you lost the baby before you really loved it." I loved my son or daughter. Whether I lost the baby after two weeks of pregnancy or just after birth, I loved him or her.

**Don't say, "Isn't it time you got over this and moved on?" It's not something I enjoy, being grief-stricken. I wish it had never happened. But it did and it's a part of me forever. The grief will ease on its own timeline, not mine - or yours.

**Don't say, "Now you have an angel watching over you." I didn't want her to be my angel. I wanted her to bury me in my old age.

**Don't say, "I understand how you feel." Unless you've lost a child, you really don't understand how I feel. And even if you have lost a child, everyone experiences grief differently.

**Don't tell me horror stories of your neighbor or cousin or mother who had it worse. The last thing I need to hear right now is that it is possible to have this happen six times, or that I could carry until two days before my due-date and labor 20 hours for a dead baby. These stories frighten and horrify me and leave me up at night weeping in despair. Even if they have a happy ending, do not share these stories with me.

**Don't pretend it didn't happen and don't change the subject when I bring it up. If I say, "Before the baby died" or "when I was pregnant" don't get scared. If I'm talking about it, it means I want to. Let me. Pretending it didn't happen will only make me feel utterly alone.

**Don't say, "It's not your fault." It may not have been my fault, but it was my responsibility and I failed. The fact that I never stood a chance of succeeding only makes me feel worse. This tiny little being depended upon me to bring him safely into the world and I couldn't do it. I was supposed to care for him for a lifetime, but I couldn't even give him a childhood. I am so angry at my body you just can't imagine.

Another great miscarriage source...

PLEASE FEEL FREE TO ADD YOUR OWN "**Don't Say's" in the comments of this post.


Blogger Chelsea said...

Another one I hate is "Don't think of it as a baby, think of it as a bunch of cells that went wrong." Guess what? To me it was a baby, just as real as if it had been born, because it was real in my heart.

12:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This was really good. I hate the "it was just some cells" comment also. That always pisses me off because the fact that it was supposed to be a baby in 9 months always seems to escape them.


2:44 PM  
Blogger Kath said...

Dont say.."I know how you must feel" when you clearly have no fucking idea (thats to those who have never experienced pregnancy-loss).

Good post. I personally didnt get alot of advise/well wishes after my miscarriage, I hid instead. I dont think I could have handled it if someone said "it just wasnt thier time".

5:06 PM  
Blogger Mrs. D. said...

posting on my own blog (heeheehee)

**Don't say "You'll be pregnant again before you know it" First.. I am not tryng to replace the baby I lost... I need to be allowed to grieve THAT baby. Second... You don't KNOW that I will get pregnant agin... ever... not even my doctor can tell me that. And even if I do get pregnant again their is a chance that I could have another miscarriage. I know you are trying to make me feel better... but you just don't KNOW... neither do I am that is the scariest part.

**Don't say "some people are just not meant to be parents" That is just mean. I was actually planning to be the best mother in the world...

5:00 AM  
Blogger Mrs. D. said...

**Don't say "your anger, bitterness, sadness, depression... etc... is getting in the way of your healing/ concieving again..." You know what if you do say that... just fuck off.

5:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don't say...anything. Except "I'm sorry", and hold me close.

10:11 AM  
Blogger Dee said...

Don't say "I'm so sorry. But I wouldn't know anything about what you're going through. My husband just looked at me and I got pregnant."

Yes, my boss (!) actually said this to me. True, she didn't know what I'm going through but come on....


2:08 PM  

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