How to support a loved one who has suffered a miscarriage

12th Oct 17 | Lifestyle

Suffering a miscarriage is a terrible thing to happen to any woman and her partner, but the way friends respond can make a huge difference – if they say the right thing.

Stressed young woman

Suffering a miscarriage is a terrible thing to happen to any woman and her partner, but the way friends respond can make a huge difference – if they say the right thing.

According to new research from parenting site ChannelMum.com, three quarters of women who’ve had a miscarriage have been devastated when their friends have tried to comfort them with phrases that have made it so much worse including, ‘It wasn’t a real baby’ and ‘It’s nature’s way’.

Even though around one in five pregnancies ends in miscarriage, 76% of 1,821 women polled said there wasn’t enough support for families going through the heartbreak. Half of them wanted to talk to others about their miscarriage but felt unable to and 65% felt they were not given enough time to grieve by family, friends and work colleagues.

Siobhan Freegard, founder of ChannelMum.com, says: “The majority of women suffer at least one miscarriage and many have several, so why is it still so hard to talk about openly?

“It’s worth remembering words are powerful, so choose yours carefully. The wrong phrase, particularly one which belittles the loss or apportions blame, can be devastating. But a few well-chosen and thoughtful words can set a mum on the road to recovery.”

Here are 10 phrases you should never, ever say to a woman who’s had a miscarriage – with our thoughts on how each one will make her feel – and some things you can say instead.

1. “It’s nature’s way”

She’ll think:  Why are you saying this? It’s of no comfort at all. I’d been growing a little person in my womb and now they’ve gone.

Do say: “I’m sorry for your loss.”

2. “What did you do to make it happen?”

She’ll think: Why are you accusing me? I’ve been making myself sick with guilt, asking myself that very question ever since the miscarriage happened (even though I also know it could have happened even if I’d stayed in bed from the moment I got pregnant).
Do say: “It wasn’t your fault.”

3. “Don’t worry. You can try again soon”

She’ll think: Seriously? I’ve just lost a child, making another one is the last thing on my mind right now. I wanted this one!
Do say: “Be kind to yourself.”

 

It's not always easy, but it is necessary 💕 picture by Blossom Bloom Design 🌸

A post shared by Tommy's (@tommys_thebabycharity) on Jul 21, 2017 at 4:14am PDT

4. “In my day, we just treated it like a heavy period and got on with it”

She’ll think: Why am I being made to feel like I should just be able to deal with it and move on? It is not ‘just a heavy period’ when you have to sign a form at the hospital to allow the foetus’s remains to be cremated.
Do say: “Even though it was early, it was still your baby.”

5. “It wasn’t a ‘proper baby'”

She’ll think: Erm, what? True it wasn’t a ‘viable’ baby in the sense that it would survive outside the womb, but it was well on its way to becoming a fully functioning little human person, it had a brain, a face and limbs. How dare you say that!
Do say: “It WAS a baby and it was loved.”

6. “Everything happens for a reason”

She’ll think: What an unhelpful platitude. I’m suffering from enough grief at the moment, without the added guilt from the implication I might have unwittingly caused the miscarriage somehow. And does it also mean I wasn’t meant to have a baby now?!
Do say: “I’m here if you want to talk about it.”

7. “It wasn’t your time”

She’ll think: Just when exactly IS my time?
(And if she’d been trying for years, had undergone IVF and had finally, finally managed to get pregnant, she’ll feel even more pain when she hears that phrase.)
Do say: “Your baby will always be with you in your heart.”

 

STILL LOVED – its #babylossawarenessweek and if there's one thing I've learnt through my time of blogging is that if you have a friend who has experienced a miscarriage or babyloss you need to break the silence. Don't lose your words – read my post with @fivelittledoves on how to be there and what to say to a friend who has been through this – link in bio. . . . . . . . #babyloss #miscarriage #babylossawareness #babylossawarenessweek #infantloss #pregnancyloss #stillbirth #thismamaloves #miscarriageawareness #stillborn #childloss #lionessmama #breakthesilence #lifeafterloss #perfectandproud #rainbowbaby #connectingmoms #pregnancy #captureyourgrief #pinklinker #babylosssupport #pregnancyandinfantlossawareness #1in4 #waveoflight #stillbornstillloved #mummybloggeruk #coolmumclub #ukparentbloggers #mummyshot #support

A post shared by Talya Stone (@motherhoodrealdeal) on Oct 12, 2017 at 1:00am PDT

8. “At least you know you can get pregnant”

She’ll think: That’s cold comfort. You might as well be telling me, ‘You can try again soon’.
(And she’ll probably feel even worse if she’d had IVF or is over 40 and feels like this might have been her one shot at having a baby.)
Do say: “It’s s**t. It will be s**t for a long time but at some point, it won’t be quite as s**t.”

9. “You’ll be fine!”

She’ll think: I know you’re trying to be helpful but it really isn’t fine at all and it won’t be for ages.
Do say: “It’s OK to cry.”

10. “Get over it”

She’ll think: Losing a baby in the womb is bereavement and it’s not something I can magically click my fingers and feel better about.
Do say: “It’s OK to be angry.”



© Press Association 2017

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