Many people are afraid of saying the wrong thing to someone who has had a miscarriage. For those who have not been in this situation before, it’s easy to say something that can make the situation more painful. Still, it’s very important to say something and not pretend that it hasn’t happened.
To help you, here are the top things to avoid saying, and what to say instead.
What Not to Say to a Woman Who’s Had a Miscarriage
“You can always try again” – In most cases, this is true, but don’t say it. It’s inappropriate because now is the time for grieving. With the loss of a pregnancy have gone the hopes and dreams for the future. Read more »
After the loss of a pregnancy, as difficult as this is, a woman must soon face the future. The best way to do that is with support from loved ones, and with knowledge.
Here are some of the difficult questions you will have to ask after suffering a miscarriage. Instead of asking yourself, a friend, or family, make sure to ask your doctor or a health professional who will give you solid answers based on facts.
What Caused My Miscarriage?
Most often, a miscarriage is caused by a chromosomal abnormality. This is a random occurrence and is unlikely to happen again in future pregnancies.
It’s a good idea to ask this question, however, because sometimes there is another cause for miscarriage. You want the answer to this question, because some types of miscarriage may affect your chances of having children in the future. It’s best to find out exactly what happened rather than assume the worst.Read more »
For those that it affects, a miscarriage is as sad as any death. It is also one of the most difficult situations in which to grieve as there is no body to bury nor a personality to mourn, just the considerations of the person that may have been.
How can I support someone who has had a miscarriage?
While you can’t take away the pain, there are things you can do to help your loved one through this awful time.
Don’t be afraid to acknowledge what has happened
Tell them you are sorry about their miscarriage. Don’t be afraid to acknowledge what has happened. Cards are generally appreciated and are a more thoughtful way of expressing your support than a text or email.
Allow them to grieve
Don’t try and cheer them up or ignore what has happened. Allow them to cry, be sad, and be angry for however long it takes. These emotions are normal following the loss of a pregnancy.
Ask them how they are feeling and don’t be afraid to discuss their grief with them. Of course, if their behavior gives you cause for concern, you should consider the benefits of them seeing a health professional.
Care for them
Think about small acts of care you can carry out that may help them through. Perhaps offer them a home cooked meal, a plate of home-made cookies, or flowers to brighten their home.
Reassure them that the miscarriage was not their fault
It may sound obvious to us. In many cases, however, people can’t help but blame themselves for a miscarriage. They will spend hours over-analyzing their every movement, and the food and drink they consumed.
Reassure them by telling them outright that this is not their fault.
What not to say to someone who has had a miscarriage
There are a few common phrases that people tend to roll out when they know someone has had a miscarriage. In most cases, they say these things with the best of intentions.
You can expect to hear: “At least it happened now before they are born” or “You can get pregnant again and have another baby.”
Rest assured that this is in no way helpful to the person grieving. A better approach is to acknowledge their situation, tell them you are sorry and be there to listen to them.
If you know a couple dealing with the aftermath of a miscarriage, don’t be afraid to reach out to them. A few comforting words and a willingness to listen will go a long way.
Finding out that you are pregnant following a miscarriage
Finding out that you are pregnant is generally a time of elation. Finding out that you are pregnant following the loss of a previous pregnancy can bring with it a whole range of emotion.
Your worry and concern may prevent you from feeling the pure joy that this news can bring. It may be a while before you relax and feel free to enjoy being pregnant again.
First trimester of a new pregnancy following a miscarriage
If you’ve had a miscarriage, the first trimester of a new pregnancy can be an especially difficult time. It is likely to be fraught with a variety of emotions. Since 80% of miscarriages happen within the first 12 weeks, it can be a time of great uncertainty.
Fearing that you will lose this pregnancy is common and the feeling is natural. You may feel that you can’t enjoy the new pregnancy until you are past the point of the earlier loss.
A new pregnancy following a miscarriage may bring about mixed emotions
As well as stress and concern for your unborn baby, you may feel a great variety of emotions.
You may detach yourself from the pregnancy as a coping mechanism. Alternatively, you may feel guilty that you are moving on from your previous pregnancy.
Women describe this time as like being on an emotional roller coaster, sometimes happy, sometimes sad, fearful, afraid. Despite these feelings, please don’t lose hope.
Taking care of yourself when you are pregnant following a miscarriage
Take care of yourself during this pregnancy as you would during any pregnancy.
Embark upon a period of intensive self-care.
Surround yourself with loved ones who can lend their support and discuss any anxieties you have with health professionals.
Eat well, get lots of sleep, and try to remain calm.
Look after yourself and your precious cargo.
Meditation can be a good way of managing stress levels and calming your emotions.
Recognize/accept your previous loss
Recognizing and accepting your previous loss may help you move forward. If you haven’t done so already, planning a small ceremony or act of remembrance – whether it is just for you as a couple, your family, or yourself – may help you move on from your previous loss.
A small token such as writing a letter, lighting a candle, or saying a prayer can be meaningful ways to remember your child.
Why do people tend to wait until the 12-week point to announce a pregnancy?
The risk of a miscarriage drops dramatically around the end of the first trimester, which is why this is a common time for people to make their big announcement. As much as 80% of miscarriages occur within the first 12 weeks. Couples waiting until the 12-week point before announcing their good news is no coincidence.
Once this stage is reached, an announcement can be made safe in the knowledge that pregnancy has passed its most critical stage and is likely to come to term.
When should I tell family and friends about my pregnancy?
Excited about your pregnancy, you may wish to share your joy immediately with parents, close family members, and friends. If the worst happens, it is likely that you will be turning to precisely these people for support, so if you want to share this news with them right away you should feel able to go right ahead.
When you reach the 12-week stage, you can then reveal your big news more widely to wider family, friends, and the world.
When should I announce my pregnancy to my co-workers?
Your pregnancy will be visible before long. The first person you must tell above all others in your workplace is your boss.
News travels fast, so don’t make the mistake of telling anyone else first.
This is big news for your boss to hear, so don’t try and drop it into casual conversation by the water-cooler. Make an appointment with them in a private area where you can speak to them face-to-face.
It is up to you when you choose to have this conversation. You may wish to give the news at a time that works well for you, such as the end of a project. If you are struggling with your pregnancy, you may wish to tell your boss sooner rather than later, so that you can get some support and take time off as necessary with their understanding.
Once your boss knows, you may wish to tell select colleagues before making a wide announcement further down the line. If you aren’t keen on this news circulating before you are ready, it may be best to keep it between yourself and your manager until you are sure that you are ready.
You are in charge of when you announce your pregnancy. Think about your needs and you’ll come to the right decision for you.
For some parents, they are so overwhelmed and absorbed by the effects miscarriage that they don’t think to include the children.
Miscarriage affects entire families. Your partner will be feeling grief and if you have children – whether from this relationship, a previous relationship, or a partner’s previous relationship – they will know that something is wrong too.
How do children react to miscarriage?
How children react to miscarriage will vary depending on their age. No matter what their age, however, they will understand that their parents are sad. A normal reaction for a child would be to wonder if whatever is wrong is their fault.
Some children are forthcoming about their fears and anxieties. Many times, however, children will attempt to keep their emotions hidden, especially if they think that what has happened might be their fault.
Even if your child seems to be coping well with the miscarriage, note that silence on the subject doesn’t mean that it hasn’t affected them. If they are not speaking about what has happened, they may still be thinking about it and worrying about it.
I’ve seen and heard of situations in which well-meaning parents have attempted to protect their children by trying not to be sad in front of them. Some have hidden the subject matter entirely. Many of these parents have assumed that their children are okay with the miscarriage because those kids haven’t expressed sadness about it, but this is often far from the truth.
Sharing the grief of miscarriage
If you haven’t spoken with your child or children about your miscarriage, it’s imperative to do so. The fastest way for everyone to get through what has happened is to talk about it and to feel able to do so whenever they want.
As a general rule of thumb, the older the child, the less explanation they’ll need from you and about what happened and why. Above all, you need to make sure that the child understands that the loss of the baby was not their fault. You should also make sure that children understand that it’s okay to feel sad.
By sharing your grief, not hiding it, you will all get through this period together, as a family. These deep feelings of sadness and grief will not last forever, and you are likely to grow closer as a family as a result.
The taboo surrounding miscarriage means that people carry many misconceptions about the subject. Without open communication, this isn’t going to change in a hurry. That’s one reason that I encourage people to talk about miscarriage if they wish to do so.
If you know someone who has had a miscarriage, you might now discover that you have been misinformed about what miscarriage means and what the couple is going through.
Being open about miscarriage also helps to remove some of the initial shock that women encounter if and when they go through it for the first time. Here are some of the most common misconceptions about miscarriage.
1) A miscarriage is just a heavy period
A very early miscarriage could be described as feeling something like a heavy period. Women normally experience more cramping and contraction-like pain, however, and there are likely to be large clots.
No woman who has had a miscarriage or is going through one wants to hear that it’s ‘just a heavy period.’ And this kind of misinformation is unhelpful for all women.
2) Miscarriage is rare
Due to the reluctance to talk about miscarriage, it seems like something that doesn’t happen very often. According to some estimates, however, around one in four pregnancies end early as a result of miscarriage.
More open dialogue on the subject of miscarriage helps women and their families prepare for the possibility and to cope better if it happens.
3) A miscarriage does not represent the loss a real baby
It’s common for people to think that women are overreacting after a miscarriage because it was early. Losing a child at any point of the process is a loss of life, and a loss of those hopes and dreams attached to it.
Our grief isn’t related to the dimensions of the life lost. The misconception that miscarriages do not signify the loss of a real baby is particularly painful and unhelpful.
4) The mother must have done something wrong
In most cases, it’s not something that could have been prevented or avoided. From being told that they wore the wrong clothes to being told that it was God’s will, women are too frequently made to feel as though their loss was their fault. It’s unlikely, however, that stress, heavy lifting, STDs, previous abortions, or long-term birth control will cause miscarriage.
Misconceptions abound when people are afraid to talk about a subject. With more honest communication – and more listening than talking – we’ll be stronger and happier all round.
At some point after a miscarriage, women will think about if and when they might have another child. How quickly you give this option serious thought depends on your circumstances and your personality. Everyone is different, and there is no correct waiting period.
In general, having a miscarriage does not affect your chances of having a child in the future. It is normally safe to do so after your next period, which typically comes 4-6 weeks after bleeding from the miscarriage stops.
If you have had several miscarriages, your doctor will aim to establish a cause. This may be helpful in finding the most successful path through pregnancy.
While your body may be ready to try for another baby, however, the main thing is to be mentally and emotionally prepared before trying again. It’s not something to rush into. Take the time to think about all of your options for the future, and also to feel and express grief for the child you have lost.
If or when you are ready to try for another child, don’t try to do everything alone. Getting support is more important than ever.
Where to find support:
Make sure that your partner is aware that you will need extra support this time around, but don’t forget to take your partner’s feelings, needs, and concerns into account too. Keep communicating, and you will become stronger than ever as a couple.
If you’ve suffered a miscarriage, you should expect more attention from healthcare professionals, such as doctors, nurses, and midwives. If you feel the need, try to see them more often during your next pregnancy. They may suggest this themselves. A little professional reassurance can go a long way.
As well as getting you prepared for your pregnancy and childbirth, this might be a good way to meet people with similar experiences to you.
It’s likely that other women in the class will have suffered a loss
If you are not comfortable sharing in a group with other women and couples, you can take part in a private childbirth class. This might build your confidence. Your instructor may be willing and able to put you in touch with women who have miscarried if you would like to discuss your experiences.
The internet does not sleep. Support groups abound online. You can read people’s stories and connect with them through chats, message boards, and emails, 24/7/365.
If you are physically able to try to get pregnant again, take as much time as you need to decide if and when you are ready. It’s a decision for you and your partner. If you decide to try again, get prepared and make the most of your support netwo